Author Topic: R.I.P.  (Read 4877 times)

Offline Fred Lohr (D Troop 68-69)

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R.I.P.
« on: November 20, 2011, 01:43:51 PM »
Richard Joseph "Dick" Burtnett Jr.
 
Richard (Dick) Joseph Burtnett Jr., a long-time resident of Destin, Fla., a Navy veteran, retired Army officer, and in his post military career was a manager involved in numerous hazardous waste clean-up projects, died Aug. 17, 2011, at the home of his son, Steve Burtnett, after traveling there to be surrounded by family while in hospice care. The cause: non-lymphoma cancer. He was 79.

Burt, as he was also known, began his military career in the Navy as an Aviation Electronic Technician enlisting in 1948 at the age of 16. He served with VA-923 the "Roughriders" in San Diego and completed one combat deployment during the Korean War with the Roughriders aboard CV-31 USS Bon Homme Richard. While stationed in San Diego he met his future wife, Eloise Dorothy Sandvig, of Enderlin, N.D. After discharge from the Navy in 1952, he and Eloise returned to North Dakota so he could pursue his college education at the University of North Dakota (UND).

Dick graduated from UND in 1957 with a BA in physical education and was an Army ROTC Distinguished Military Graduate, receiving a Regular Army commission as a second lieutenant in the Infantry. After an initial assignment as an Infantry Officer at Fort Knox, Ky., he transferred to Fort Rucker to undergo training as a helicopter and airplane pilot. Besides assignments in Arizona, Germany, Korea and Georgia, he served two tours of combat duty as a helicopter pilot during the Vietnam War. His first tour was from 1966 to 1967 with the 1st Air Cavalry Division as an Aero Scout platoon leader in the 1st of the 9th Cavalry. His second tour in Vietnam was from 1969 to 1970, where he served as the commander of the 173rd Assault Helicopter Company (AHC) the "Robin Hoods," Lai Khe, RVN. He took especially great pride in his service with the "Robin Hoods" and before his death was able to visit the UH-1H Huey helicopter proudly wearing "Robin Hood" nose art that served and fought in Vietnam with the 173rd AHC and has been immortalized in the Smithsonian Museum of American History Vietnam War display. His combat decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross (one Oak Leaf Cluster), Bronze Star (three Oak Leaf Clusters and Valor Device), and the Air Medal (10 Oak Leaf Clusters).

After retirement from the Army, Dick embarked on a successful civilian career that took him from Anderson, S.C., where he was employed by Michelin Tire to Oak Ridge, Tenn., where he was employed with numerous companies involved in the environmental clean-up industry working on projects from Maui to projects remediating nuclear waste in Oak Ridge. In 1999, he retired from professional life and fulfilled a lifelong dream to live in Destin, Fla. His love of the Destin area began in the early 60s, when as a young aviator stationed at Fort Rucker he would fly to the Destin area. Dick was very active in his support of American Legion Post 296 located in Destin and pursuing his lifelong passion for fishing. The highlight of his fishing career was twice winning the Senior Division of the Destin Cobia Tournament fishing with Capt. Wayne.

Richard was born in Baltimore in 1932. He is survived by two sons, Richard (Rick) Joseph Burtnett III of Clarkston, Mich., and John Steven Burtnett of Cleveland, Tenn.; and nine grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his beloved daughter, Abby Jo Burtnett, who died in 2001; and his loving and devoted wife of 57 years, Eloise Dorothy Sandvig, who passed away earlier this year.

Dick will always be remembered for his courage, strength, and wit which he displayed all the way to his last days and for his love of family which was sometimes hard for him to express but was always present. Dick and his loving wife will be laid to rest on Dec. 16 at 9 a.m. at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va., with full military honors.
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Fred Lohr

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Offline Fred Lohr (D Troop 68-69)

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Re: R.I.P.
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2012, 12:48:30 AM »
Basil Plumley, veteran of 3 wars, featured in 'We Were Soldiers' movie, dies in Georgia
Published October 10, 2012

COLUMBUS, Ga. –  Basil L. Plumley, a renowned career soldier whose exploits as an Army infantryman were portrayed in a book and the movie "We Were Soldiers," has died at 92 — an age his friends are amazed that he lived to see.

Plumley fought in World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam and was awarded a medal for making five parachute jumps into combat. The retired command sergeant major died Wednesday.

Friends said Plumley, who died in hospice care in west Georgia, never told war stories and was known to hang up on people who called to interview him. Still, he was near-legendary in the Army and gained more widespread fame through a 1992 Vietnam War book that was the basis for the 2002 movie starring Mel Gibson. Actor Sam Elliott played Plumley in the film.

Plumley didn't need a Hollywood portrayal to be revered among soldiers, said Greg Camp, a retired Army colonel and former chief of staff at neighboring Fort Benning who befriended Plumley in his later years.

"He's iconic in military circles," Camp said. "Among people who have been in the military, he's beyond what a movie star would be. ... His legend permeates three generations of soldiers."

Debbie Kimble, Plumley's daughter, said her father died from cancer after spending about nine days at Columbus Hospice. Although the illness seemed to strike suddenly, Kimble said Plumley's health had been declining since his wife of 63 years, Deurice Plumley, died last May on Memorial Day.

A native of Shady Spring, W.Va., Plumley enlisted in the Army in 1942 and ended up serving 32 years in uniform. In World War II, he fought in the Allied invasion of Italy at Salerno and the D-Day invasion at Normandy. He later fought with the 187th Airborne Infantry Regiment in Korea. In Vietnam, Plumley served as sergeant major — the highest enlisted rank — in the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment.

"That puts him in the rarest of clubs," said journalist Joseph L. Galloway, who met Plumley while covering the Vietnam War for United Press International and remained lifelong friends with him. "To be combat infantry in those three wars, in the battles he participated in, and to have survived — that is miraculous."

It was during Vietnam in November 1965 that Plumley served in the Battle of la Drang, the first major engagement between the U.S. Army and North Vietnamese forces. That battle was the basis for the book "We Were Soldiers Once ... And Young," written nearly three decades later by Galloway and retired Lt. Gen. Hal G. Moore, who had been Plumley's battalion commander in Vietnam.

In the 2002 film version, Mel Gibson played Moore and Elliott played Plumley. Galloway said several of Elliott's gruff one-liners in the movie were things Plumley actually said, such as the scene in which a soldier tells the sergeant major good morning and is told: "Who made you the (expletive) weather man?"

"Sam Elliott underplayed him. He was actually tougher than that," Galloway said. "He was gruff, monosyllabic, an absolute terror when it came to enforcing standards of training."

That's not to say he was mean or inhuman, Galloway said. "This was a man above all else who had a very big, warm heart that he concealed very well."

Plumley retired with the rank command sergeant major in 1974 at Fort Benning, his last duty station. He then took a civilian job doing administrative work for the next 15 years at Martin Army Community Hospital.

Camp said Plumley remained strong until just a few weeks before his death. He helped open the Army's National Infantry Museum at Fort Benning in 2009. Camp, who now works for the museum's fundraising foundation, said Plumley helped him get Elliott to come narrate a ceremony dedicating the parade ground outside the museum. When Camp mentioned the actor's name, Plumley handed him Elliott's cellphone number.

After Plumley became ill, Galloway mentioned his worsening condition on Facebook. Fans of the retired sergeant major responded with a flood of cards and letters. The day before he died in hospice, Camp said, Plumley received about 160 pieces of mail.

"He was dad to me when I was growing up," said Kimble, Plumley's daughter. "We are learning every day about him. He was an inspiration to so many. He was a great person, and will always be remembered."
« Last Edit: April 08, 2017, 07:39:32 PM by Fred Lohr (D Troop 68-69) »
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Offline Fred Lohr (D Troop 68-69)

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Re: R.I.P.
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2013, 03:51:08 PM »
Retired Col. Ben Purcell, highest ranking Army POW during Vietnam War, dies at 85
By Jim Miklaszewski and Courtney Kube
Retired Col. Benjamin Purcell, the highest ranking Army POW during the Vietnam War, died on Tuesday. He was 85.
 
Retired Col. Benjamin Purcell, the highest ranking Army POW during the Vietnam War, died on Tuesday, April 2.
After serving a combat tour in Korea, Purcell volunteered for a tour in Vietnam.

In early 1968, the helicopter he was riding in was shot down near Quang Tri City. He and the crew were captured - and at least one of the American soldiers was executed on the spot.

Purcell was taken as a prisoner of war by the Viet Cong and spent the next 1,874 days as a POW in Laos - more than 5 years. During that time he escaped twice, but both times was recaptured. He spent much of his time in captivity in solitary confinement, enduring starvation and beatings.

Purcell was released two months after the Paris Peace Accords were signed, and was finally reunited with his family in late March, 1973.
The first words Purcell spoke publicly following his release were reportedly, "Man's most precious possession, second only to life, is freedom."
Purcell and his wife, Anne, later wrote a book together about how they endured those long years apart, called "Love and Duty."
After leaving the service in 1980, Purcell ran a Christmas tree farm, because, as Stars & Stripes reported in 2004, after spending so much time in the Army he wanted to be his own boss.

Purcell's funeral is scheduled for Saturday, in Clarkesville, Ga.
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Offline Fred Lohr (D Troop 68-69)

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Re: R.I.P.
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2017, 07:32:33 PM »
Retired Lt. Gen. Harold G. "Hal" Moore, the American hero known for saving most of his men in the first major battle between the U.S. and North Vietnamese armies, has died. He was 94.

Joseph Galloway, who with Moore co-authored the book "We Were Soldiers Once ... and Young," confirmed Saturday to The Associated Press that Moore died late Friday in his sleep at his home in Auburn, Alabama.

Galloway said Moore, his friend of 51 years, died two days shy of his 95th birthday.

"There's something missing on this earth now. We've lost a great warrior, a great soldier, a great human being and my best friend. They don't make them like him anymore," Galloway said.

Moore was best known for his actions at the 1965 Battle of Ia Drang, where he was a lieutenant colonel in command of the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment. His actions were later reflected in the movie "We Were Soldiers" in which actor Mel Gibson portrayed Moore. The book tells what happened to virtually every trooper involved in the 34-day campaign and the climactic four-day battle in which 234 Americans died at landing zones X-Ray and Albany in November 1965.

Galloway, a former war correspondent for United Press International, said Moore was "without question, one of the finest commanders I ever saw in action."

"Those of us who survived Landing Zone X-Ray survived because of his brilliance of command. I think every one of us thought we were going to die at that place except Hal Moore. He was certain we were going to win that fight and he was right," Galloway recalled.

Galloway and Moore wrote a second book, "We Are Soldiers Still," which he said grew out of a journey back to the battlefields of Vietnam 25 years later. "We went back and walked those old battlefields. At the end of the day, Hal Moore and Col. Nguyen Huu An, the North Vietnamese commander, stood in a circle in the clearing and prayed for the souls of every man who died on both sides."

He said the two shared an "instant brotherhood that grew out of combat."

"When we were discussing the book contract with a lawyer/agent, he asked to see the contract between me and Hal Moore, and Hal Moore said 'I don't think you understand. This isn't just a matter of money. We have trusted each other with our lives in battle and we have no contract before that.' I absolutely agreed."

On a Facebook page managed by Moore's family, relatives said he died on the birthday of his wife, Julia, who died in 2004 after 55 years of marriage.

"Mom called Dad home on her day," the statement said. "After having a stroke last week, Dad was more lethargic and had difficulty speaking, but he had always fought his way back."

Before serving in Vietnam, Moore graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point and then commanded a battalion in the newly formed air mobile 11th Air Assault Division at Fort Benning.

Born in Bardstown, Kentucky, he served in the U.S. military for 32 years.

Galloway said the family has tentatively scheduled a religious service Friday in Auburn and a memorial service at the National Infantry Museum at Fort Benning Army Base in Columbus, Georgia.
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Fred Lohr

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