Day By Day

Monday, May 30, 2005

Farewell to a Hero -- Colonel David Hackworth

A flag flew Saturday in Arlington National Cemetary near where Colonel David H. Hackworth will be buried. Tomorrow, the US military will lay to rest the veteran of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam -- among its most decorated and controversial heroes. (Globe Photo / Chris Maddaloni)

They're burying a hero tomorrow at Arlington -- Col. David Hackworth. The Boston Globe has a nice piece on him. Excerpts:

WASHINGTON -- His courage under fire was the stuff of Hollywood, such as once ordering his helicopter pilot to land in the middle of a firefight so he could rescue his wounded men.

As an orphan shining shoes at a military base in Santa Monica, Calif., he lied about his age to join up in the waning days of World War II. That started a career that led him to Korea, where he survived a gunshot to the head, and a whopping four tours of duty in Vietnam, where his daring and swagger became the inspiration for Robert Duvall's Colonel Kilgore character in the movie ''Apocalypse Now."

Tomorrow, the US military will lay to rest Colonel David H. Hackworth -- among its most decorated heroes of all time -- at Arlington National Cemetery.

The top brass is not expected to attend.

Hackworth's most enduring foe was not the communists he fought. He earned a a chestful of medals, including two Distinguished Service Medals, 10 Silver Stars, eight Bronze Stars, and eight Purple Hearts. His adversary became the US military bureaucracy, which he railed against for 30 years on grounds that it failed to put the troops first. He also opposed military action in Bosnia, Kosovo, and especially Iraq.

But while Hackworth was an unyielding critic to generals, admirals, and defense secretaries, he was a father figure to thousands of grunts. Some held memorial services for him in between hunting for Iraqi insurgents, his family said....

Read it here.

Goodbye Hack. We're gonna miss ya.

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