One of the most decorated soldiers in US history has died.
Hackworth lied about his age to enlist in the Army when he was 15 years old. He fought in Korea, did four Tours of Duty in Vietnam and was twice awarded the Distinguished Service Cross along with ten Silver Stars, eight Bronze Stars and eight Purple Hearts. He was recommended three times for the Congressional Medal of Honor, the latest of which is still under review.
Hackworth drew the ire of the Pentagon when he began to publicly criticize and oppose the Vietnam War. He later became an advocate for soldiers and veterans who unfailingly championed the cause of the common grunt while openly condemning the civilian leadership and the high ranking brass who Hackworth derisively referred to as “perfumed princes.”
Recently, he has become a critic of GWB and the invasion or Iraq:
Hackworth’s criticism wasn’t political. He was driven solely by a sincere concern for the welfare of the common soldier and who couldn’t stand to see them disrespected or see their lives wasted. He was a soldier’s soldier who didn’t stop being a hero once he left the battlefield.
I’ve heard his name before, but unfortunately, never connected with it until now. Any man that serves as he did, and reports it to the “unhearing” who ends up chastising him, has gone far beyond his military service, and has become more human than most I know.
As I recall him, the man was a pain in the ass with the personality of a buzzsaw, but sometimes that’s what we need to keep us in line. He was the nagging conscience too many people come to Washington without. He will be missed, both by the soldiers he championed and the American people. And maybe when some of those politicians and bureaucrats, against all odds, step through the Pearly Gates, they will understand that it was made possible because they listened to the better angels of their nature who, in turn, listened to Col Hackworth.