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  #1  
Old 05-05-2012, 11:48 AM
Donnerwetter Donnerwetter is offline
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War Veterans who served in multiple wars, decades apart

Recently, I stumbled upon this news story from 2009:

70-Year-Old Reservist, Surgeon Returns To Iraq

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/s...ryId=106214966

So there is a 70 years old man, a Colonel, who actually serves in a theater of war. This leads to an interesting question: Are there cases of soldiers who served in one conflict as a young man and than returned to military service a very long time later (maybe never even leaving the service)?

For instance, German field marshal Paul von Hindenburg (1847 - 1934) served as a young lieutenant in the Austro-Prussian War in 1866 and was the German chief of staff during WW I, well into his 70s, finally retiring from military service in 1919.

I'm almost certain that there weren't veterans from the American Civil War who served in WW I.

Many of the senior officers in WW II had served in WW I. There must have been a number of soldiers from WW I who also served in the Korean War (at least Colonel Potter from MASH did...).

Could there have been soldiers who served in WW I who also served in Vietnam?

There was a significant number of WW II veterans who went on to fight in the Vietnam War. There are the names of soldiers on the Vietnam Wall Memorial who were in their 60s when they were killed in action.

It would also be interesting to know when the last veteran from WW II retired from service.
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  #2  
Old 05-05-2012, 12:07 PM
The Other Waldo Pepper The Other Waldo Pepper is online now
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As a starting point, we had this thread not too long ago.
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  #3  
Old 05-05-2012, 12:17 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is online now
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Winfield Scott served in the War of 1812, the Mexican War, and the American Civil War. He served from 1808 to 1861 and was a general for forty-seven years.

Last edited by Little Nemo; 05-05-2012 at 12:21 PM..
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  #4  
Old 05-05-2012, 12:20 PM
hajario hajario is offline
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There were a few Vietnam vets who served in Gulf War I and Gulf War II.
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  #5  
Old 05-05-2012, 12:30 PM
Donnerwetter Donnerwetter is offline
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Originally Posted by hajario View Post
There were a few Vietnam vets who served in Gulf War I and Gulf War II.
Interestingly, the last soldier who was drafted into the military during the Vietnam War era retired less than a year ago:

http://abcnews.go.com/US/draftee-mil...0#.T6VjEUi_qtI

He wasn't sent to Vietnam, though.
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  #6  
Old 05-05-2012, 12:34 PM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is online now
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I read Norman Schwarzkopf's biography a few years ago. His original assignment after West Point was 101st Airborne and he was a paratrooper. He did 2 tours in Viet Nam. He was sent as a consultant to Granada to help the Admiral organize that war. Then the Gulf War. Three wars in his career.

He credits the screw ups and confusion in Granada as a learning experience for his command in the Gulf War. The Navy was in charge in Granada and an Admiral was trying to organize and deploy ground troops & Air support. Schwarzkopf was there representing the Army and "eventually" was able to assist in the plans for ground forces. The command structure between the three military branches was pretty shaky in Granada and there was a lot of confusion.

Last edited by aceplace57; 05-05-2012 at 12:38 PM..
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  #7  
Old 05-05-2012, 01:14 PM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is online now
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George Patton was with General John J Pershing in the Pancho Villa Expedition, then in France in WWI and finally WWII. His experiences commanding tanks in WWI influenced his WWII command.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pancho_Villa_Expedition
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_...on#World_War_I

Interesting bit of history.
Quote:
Conducting the United States' first motorized vehicle attack on May 14, 1916, then-Lieutenant Patton with ten soldiers of the 6th Infantry Regiment and two civilian guides, employed three Dodge Brothers Model 30 touring cars, to engage the opposing forces. Although the expedition was ostensibly "foraging" to obtain corn (maize) for the horses in the remaining force, Patton used it to hunt outlaws at their rancheros. A search for Julio Cárdenas, at a ranch in San Miguelito, Sonora, Mexico (with the troops dismounting from the cars and fighting on foot) discovered three initially-mounted Villista fighters, trying to escape. These were later determined to be a Villista private, captain, and the leader "General" Julio Cárdenas, commander of Villa's personal bodyguard. All of the Villista men where killed in the ensuing firefight. All were shot at by Patton at some point, who first knocked down a horse under a rider at close range with a pistol shot, causing that rider to be killed shortly after by fire from several men, including Patton.

Last edited by aceplace57; 05-05-2012 at 01:17 PM..
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  #8  
Old 05-05-2012, 01:20 PM
Donnerwetter Donnerwetter is offline
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Prussian field marshal Karl Eberhard Herwarth von Bittenfeld (1796 - 1884) also had an interesting career: He joined the Prussian army in 1811 and fought in the wars against Napoleon.

55 years later, he was a general and commanded an Army in the Austro-Prussian War (1866). He was promoted to field marshal during the Franco-Prussian War (1870/71).

So Paul von Hindenburg (see my first post) in 1866 served as a young officer in a battle under a general who himself joined an Army that still used muzzleloaders which could fire two, maybe three shots a minute.

Von Hindenburg then decades later went on to be chief of staff in WW I, with machine guns, trench warfare, poison gas, aerial combat, aerial bombings and wireless telegraphy.
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  #9  
Old 05-05-2012, 03:17 PM
Giles Giles is online now
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It's a civilian position, but it's the position in charge of the Royal Navy: the same person was First Lord of the Admiralty in 1914 at the start of World War I, and in 1939 at the start of World War II. He also worked as a war correspondent in 1895 during the Cuban War of Independence, and was a prisoner of war in 1899 during the Second Boer War. (At those times he was a military officer, but he wasn't serving with his regiment.) Of course, he continued to play an important role -- still as a civilian -- in the conduct of World War II until the end in 1945. I'll leave it as a simple exercise to identify the man who was so actively involved in various wars over a 50-year period, and was in charge of one of the world's largest navies at two times, separated by 25 years.
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  #10  
Old 05-05-2012, 03:40 PM
Fish Cheer Fish Cheer is offline
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Originally Posted by Giles View Post
It's a civilian position, but it's the position in charge of the Royal Navy: the same person was First Lord of the Admiralty in 1914 at the start of World War I, and in 1939 at the start of World War II. He also worked as a war correspondent in 1895 during the Cuban War of Independence, and was a prisoner of war in 1899 during the Second Boer War. (At those times he was a military officer, but he wasn't serving with his regiment.) Of course, he continued to play an important role -- still as a civilian -- in the conduct of World War II until the end in 1945. I'll leave it as a simple exercise to identify the man who was so actively involved in various wars over a 50-year period, and was in charge of one of the world's largest navies at two times, separated by 25 years.
He also received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953.
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  #11  
Old 05-05-2012, 03:43 PM
SeldomSeen SeldomSeen is online now
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A number of high-ranking officers (and no doubt enlisted men as well) of the Spanish-American war had served in the U.S Civil War. Thirty-five years after the fact, feelings between North & South still ran high; Teddy Roosevelt and others were hopeful that bringing old fighters together in another war might finally bring about some amount of reconciliation.

Gen. Rufus Shafter, who led the Cuban campaign was a Civil War vet who had gone on to fight in the Indian wars in the western territories. "Fighting Joe" Wheeler had been a Confederate cavalry general, then a long-serving U.S. Congressman from Alabama, became Major-general of volunteers in the Cuban theater during the Spanish-American conflict. He was, incidentally, commanding officer of Roosevelt and the Rough Riders unit.

Gen "Black Jack" Pershing started out in the Indian wars, then served as regimental quatermaster for the 10th cavalry "buffalo soldiers" in the Cuban campaign and, of course, went on to become leader of the American Expeditionary Forces in WW1.

Last edited by SeldomSeen; 05-05-2012 at 03:46 PM..
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  #12  
Old 05-05-2012, 04:16 PM
Alessan Alessan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Giles View Post
It's a civilian position, but it's the position in charge of the Royal Navy: the same person was First Lord of the Admiralty in 1914 at the start of World War I, and in 1939 at the start of World War II. He also worked as a war correspondent in 1895 during the Cuban War of Independence, and was a prisoner of war in 1899 during the Second Boer War. (At those times he was a military officer, but he wasn't serving with his regiment.) Of course, he continued to play an important role -- still as a civilian -- in the conduct of World War II until the end in 1945. I'll leave it as a simple exercise to identify the man who was so actively involved in various wars over a 50-year period, and was in charge of one of the world's largest navies at two times, separated by 25 years.
Don't forget that he also commanded a battalion on the Western Front in WW1.
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  #13  
Old 05-05-2012, 05:04 PM
Frodo Frodo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Giles View Post
It's a civilian position, but it's the position in charge of the Royal Navy: the same person was First Lord of the Admiralty in 1914 at the start of World War I, and in 1939 at the start of World War II. He also worked as a war correspondent in 1895 during the Cuban War of Independence, and was a prisoner of war in 1899 during the Second Boer War. (At those times he was a military officer, but he wasn't serving with his regiment.) Of course, he continued to play an important role -- still as a civilian -- in the conduct of World War II until the end in 1945. I'll leave it as a simple exercise to identify the man who was so actively involved in various wars over a 50-year period, and was in charge of one of the world's largest navies at two times, separated by 25 years.
That's very unrealistic, I think the author of those history books must have put himself as a character in those positions.
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  #14  
Old 05-05-2012, 05:12 PM
Derleth Derleth is offline
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Originally Posted by Frodo View Post
That's very unrealistic, I think the author of those history books must have put himself as a character in those positions.
Yes, especially with all those cutting bon mots he gave the character.

Of course, when you're talking about WWII a little self-insertion is the least of the problems.
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  #15  
Old 05-05-2012, 05:33 PM
Frodo Frodo is offline
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Originally Posted by Derleth View Post
Yes, especially with all those cutting bon mots he gave the character.

Of course, when you're talking about WWII a little self-insertion is the least of the problems.


I was thinking of that exact thread when I wrote that.
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  #16  
Old 05-05-2012, 07:15 PM
Namkcalb Namkcalb is offline
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Originally Posted by Alessan View Post
Don't forget that he also commanded a battalion on the Western Front in WW1.
I think you are thinking of Jack C. not the other one.

wait... he would have been 13 at the time... scratch that

Last edited by Namkcalb; 05-05-2012 at 07:16 PM..
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  #17  
Old 05-05-2012, 07:44 PM
Loach Loach is offline
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We had several Vietnam vets reenlist into our guard unit after 911. Deployed with a few of them. They were pushing 60.
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  #18  
Old 05-05-2012, 11:36 PM
missred missred is online now
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The boy who grew up across the street from my family enlisted in the USArmy right out of high school and made it a career. While in the regular army, he served in Grenada and Desert Storm. After retirement, he went to the Army Reserves and has been deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan. Yikes!

There were quite a few WWII vets who served in the Korean Conflict and a number of Korea vets who served in Vietnam (I had uncles for each of these). It also tends to be difficult for medical personnel to completely retire. One of my aunts went into the reserves after serving two hitches active army and was only able to fully retire when she could no longer pass the physical. She served in Vietnam and Desert Storm.

To answer the OP, yes and ever more likely in the US, given our all volunteer military.
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  #19  
Old 05-05-2012, 11:38 PM
AK84 AK84 is offline
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Ariel Sharon fought in 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973 and was defense minister in 1982 in Lebanon.

Pervez Muharraf fought against India in 1965 and 1971. Was a Brigade commander in Siachen and was commander in chief in the current war.
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  #20  
Old 05-06-2012, 03:16 AM
Raguleader Raguleader is offline
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A young cavalry officer by the name of Douglas MacArthur served in Mexico during the Vera Cruz Incident in 1914, then later fought in France in WWI with the 42nd Infantry Division, also known as the "Rainbow Division", a formation made up of National Guardsmen from numerous states.

He would later be in command of American and Philippine forces at the outbreak of WWII (several years after he retired, actually; he was recalled to active duty in the summer of 1941). A decade later, he was in command of United Nations forces during the outbreak of the Korean War. He ended up being relieved of his command in April of 1951 and retired shortly after, having served for 53 years.

Also off the top of my head, Major General Alfred Flowers, who I had the pleasure of meeting a few years back while I was in tech school, served from 1965 to 2012, serving for 47 years.
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  #21  
Old 05-06-2012, 05:19 AM
Donnerwetter Donnerwetter is offline
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Lauri Törni (aka Larry Allan Thorne) not only fought in multiple wars, he also wore the uniforms of three different countries:

Thorne enlisted in the Finnish Army in the 30s and became a Captain. At one time, he went to Germany and became a Untersturmführer (lieutenant) in the Waffen-SS.

After WW II, he emigrated to the United States, enlisted in the US Army and eventually became a major in the Special Forces. He was killed in action in Vietnam on 18. Oct. 1965.

Thorne fought in the Winter War between the Soviet Union and Finland in 1939/40 and in the Continuation War between the Soviet Union and Finland from 1941 to 1944. While in the US Army, he, somewhat ironically, again was stationed in Germany and lead a rescue mission in the Zagros Mountains in northern Iran. Thorne then served multiple tours in Vietnam where he died in 1965.

His remains where not found until 1999, he is now interred at Arlington National Cemetery.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lauri_T%C3%B6rni
http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/larry-thorne.htm
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  #22  
Old 05-06-2012, 02:21 PM
SeldomSeen SeldomSeen is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donnerwetter View Post
Lauri Törni (aka Larry Allan Thorne) not only fought in multiple wars, he also wore the uniforms of three different countries:
Interesting story. Oddly enough I'd never heard of Thorne before. A damned impressive career.
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  #23  
Old 05-06-2012, 09:05 PM
panamajack panamajack is offline
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George Bush was discharged from the Navy in 1945, and then served as Commander-in-Chief during the Gulf war, which makes a gap of more than 45 years between wars.
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  #24  
Old 05-06-2012, 09:23 PM
Airman Doors, USAF Airman Doors, USAF is online now
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Several people in my unit served for Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, the first Gulf War, Bosnia, and post-9/11. Two of them topped out at the maximum enlisted time of 42 years (mandatory retirement at age 60).
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  #25  
Old 05-06-2012, 11:11 PM
Shakester Shakester is offline
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My grandfather, born in 1898, served in combat in both world wars. Lied about his age both times, and was accepted both times. He wasn't the only one, there were quite a few who did the same, former Gallipoli/Western Front ANZACs signing up for WW2 and fighting in both North Africa and the Pacific. My grandfather fought in all four of the theatres I just mentioned.

My mother was born in 1929, when my grandfather was in his early 30s, and I was born in 1965, when my mother was 36. My grandfather survived both world wars but died a year or so before I was born.
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  #26  
Old 05-06-2012, 11:39 PM
hajario hajario is offline
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I knew a man who flew cargo planes at the end of WWII. He reactivated for Korea and again for Viet Nam. He passed away several years ago.
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  #27  
Old 05-07-2012, 12:58 AM
cornflakes cornflakes is offline
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My uncle did the same thing. He joined the Marines when he turned eighteen and fought at Iwo Jima. He fought in Korea and was mostly stationed in Japan for Vietnam, though he apparently did make it into the country at some point.
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  #28  
Old 05-07-2012, 03:09 AM
dtilque dtilque is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
Winfield Scott served in the War of 1812, the Mexican War, and the American Civil War. He served from 1808 to 1861 and was a general for forty-seven years.
Scott was also involved in the Aroostook War and the Pig War.
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  #29  
Old 05-07-2012, 04:40 AM
AK84 AK84 is offline
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Korea does not really count, it started less than five years after the end of WWII and many soldiers were recalled WWII vets (the mid level officers would have been WWII Vets as a matter of course). Some Korean War Medal of Honour winners who had fought in WWII

Stanley T Adams; also served in Vietnam.

William E Barber: also served in Vietnam

George Andrew Davis
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  #30  
Old 05-07-2012, 04:44 AM
Slithy Tove Slithy Tove is online now
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Jackie Fisher was Admiral of the Fleet in WWI, until he was driven nuts in 1915 by Churchill over Gallipoli. He'd started as a midshipman in the Crimean War of 1854, under Lord Raglan; who'd fought in the Napoleonic Wars.

Also at the Crimean War was the mascot on the HMS Queen: Timothy the (female) turtle, who died in 2004, aged approximately 161.

I had read of a Southerner who'd ridden as one of Moseby's Raiders as a teenager, then went to France on WWI in his sixties, but I couldn't retrieve the cite.
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  #31  
Old 05-07-2012, 05:43 AM
Donnerwetter Donnerwetter is offline
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Colonel Richard Keirn, United States Air Force, was a prisoner of war in Nazi Germany from 1944 to 1945 and in North Vietnam from 1965 to 1973:

http://www.pownetwork.org/bios/k/k046.htm

He was interviewed on C-Span:

http://www.c-spanvideo.org/person/1006085

Unfortunately, the video is currently not available (or at least I am too dumb to find it). I remember how Col. Keirn compared his experiences as a POW in Germany and in North Vietnam.
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  #32  
Old 05-07-2012, 06:25 AM
Alessan Alessan is offline
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There's also my father-in law - recruited to the Israeli army in 1968, he served as a regular officer and as a reservist in every subsequent Israeli military action, and, as a Lieutenant Colonel, still does regular reserve duty at the age of 61. That's 43 years. He's always threatening to retire, but I don't think he ever will.
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