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is honored on Panel 44W, Line 55 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

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    MIAMI - 23 September 2005 -

    This is the remarkable story of how a soldier that I never met, Major General Keith Lincoln Ware, very likely saved my life and those of 200 of my buddies during the Vietnam War.

    In 1967, as the war raged, I enlisted in the US Army an infantryman because I believed, and still do, all male citizens have the duty to serve their nation in wartime.

    I had been accepted at Cambridge University to do a PhD in history, and could have avoided military service, but that, I felt, was dishonorable - a view not shared by Bill Clinton or George W. Bush.

    Regular readers of my columns may be surprised to learn I supported the Vietnam War when I have been so vocal at opposing the Iraq War.

    At the time, back in the 1960s, we truly believed that advancing communism would engulf all of Southeast Asia unless America intervened in South Vietnam. The US campaign in Vietnam was a genuine strategic attempt to blunt a perceived Soviet-Chinese threat to Americas security.
    Vietnam turned out to be a disaster based on faulty information, but our hearts were in the right place. Iraq, by contrast, is a colonial war, based on a farrago of lies, that was launched to grab oil and strengthen Israel. We knew Iraq was wrong from day one.

    I was based at Ft. Dix, New Jersey, and headed to officers school, when President Lyndon Johnson announced the US would seek a negotiated settlement instead of military victory in Vietnam. Incensed at this no-win policy, I organized a protest by 200 fellow officer candidates. We renounced our future commissions.

    Punishment came swiftly. All of us were transferred to units or positions with extremely heavy casualties. A sergeant confided, ' boy, they sending you all off to Nam to be killed for sure.'

    As ringleader, I received special attention: transfer to the Pioneers of the Combat Engineers at bleak Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri.

    The thankless job of this unit in Vietnam was to rappel down ropes from helicopters under fire into thick jungle, clear mines and booby traps, blast landing zones with high explosives, kill all enemy there, and set up perimeter defenses so the infantry could land.

    Unit casualties were over 60%.

    ' Do one full tour of duty ', a vet told me, ' and your chance of survival is zip.'

    We were shipping out to Nam in six days. Since all the men in my unit were functionally illiterate hillbillies from the Ozarks, I was made company clerk. As a native New Yorker, I felt on a different planet in deepest Missouri.

    Desperate that my Ft. Dix friends were being sent to their deaths, I got onto the Army's internal phone system and called the Pentagon in Washington.

    ' This is Private Margolis calling from Ft. Leonard Wood. I'd like to speak with the Army Chief of Staff, please.'
    He was unavailable, but somehow the Deputy Chief of Staff, Major General Keith L. Ware took a call from a mere private.

    Only in America.

    I didn't know it at the time, but I had reached probably the finest officer in the US Army.

    Ware had received the Congressional Medal of Honor for storming a fortified German hilltop position at Sigolsheim, Alsace, in 1944, killing or capturing a score of enemy soldiers and knocking out four machine guns. Ware, a native of Denver, Colorado, was then a Lt. Col. in the 15th Infantry Regiment of the 3rd Division.

    Ware was close friends with another famed war hero in his unit, Audie Murphy. This legendary fighter saved Ware's life during a violent engagement in France and went on, after the war, to become a movie star. Both friends were awarded the Silver Star for bravery.

    ' General ', I told Ware, ' we are all patriots. We enlisted to fight for our country. We just want this war won. I was responsible for our protest. Punish, me but please save my friends.'

    Ware listened patiently, then replied, ' Son, leave it to me.'

    Two mornings later I was summoned to breakfast with the Lt. General commanding Ft. Leonard Woods 40,000 soldiers.

    ' Private Margolis, you have some powerful friends in Washington ', he said. ' Gen. Ware called me and said, ' those boys have been screwed - now fix it ! '

    He told me all my buddies were being transferred back to regular units. I was ordered to report to Massachusetts, where I ended up teaching courses on strategy and military history to majors, colonels and generals, and running command briefings at the Pentagon.

    I never got to thank General Ware as soon after, he went to Vietnam to command the 1st Infantry Division, the famed Big Red One.

    During the 1968 Tet Offensive, Ware organized and brilliantly led the successful defense of Saigon, crushing the Viet Cong elite units. Always modest, he credited the South Vietnamese Army with his victory.

    The fight for Saigon was one of the most difficult combat missions a general could face a swirling, confused, chaotic series of violent engagements in a dense urban area. Ware pulled it off with consummate skill.

    On 13 September 1968, General Ware was leading his 1st Division in battle along the Cambodian border near An Loc when his helicopter was shot down, killing all aboard. He was the highest ranking American officer killed in the Vietnam War.

    On this 37th anniversary of his death in combat, I salute the memory of this gallant soldier and great American hero.


    R E M E M B R A N C E

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  • I'm proud of our Vietnam Veterans

    Posted on 11/23/17 - by Dennis Wriston
    Major General Keith Lincoln Ware, Served with the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Infantry Division, United States Army Vietnam.


  • Medal of Honor (WWII)

    Posted on 9/13/17 - by A Grateful Vietnam Veteran
    Keith Lincoln Ware
    Date of birth: November 23, 1915
    Date of death: September 13, 1968
    Burial location: Arlington, Virginia
    Place of Birth: Colorado, Denver
    Home of record: Glendale California
    Status: KIA

    Drafted in 1941, following an O.C.S. commission Keith Ware earned the Medal of Honor and rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel In World War II. Continuing in service after the war, he was one of the few draftees in history to rise to General Officer rank. As a Major General in command of the 1st Infantry Division in Vietnam, General Ware was lost in action in Cambodia after his helicopter was shot down on September 13, 1968. He was the first U.S. Army General Officer to die in that war and the ONLY Medal of Honor Recipient since World War I to be killed in action in a war subsequent to that in which they received their award.

    Medal of Honor

    Awarded for actions during the World War II

    The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Lieutenant Colonel Keith Lincoln Ware (ASN: 0-33181), United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action above and beyond the call of duty while serving with 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3d Infantry Division. Commanding the 1st Battalion attacking a strongly held enemy position on a hill near Sigolsheim, France, on 26 December 1944, Lieutenant Colonel Ware found that one of his assault companies had been stopped and forced to dig in by a concentration of enemy artillery, mortar, and machinegun fire. The company had suffered casualties in attempting to take the hill. Realizing that his men must be inspired to new courage, Lieutenant Colonel Ware went forward 150 yards beyond the most forward elements of his command, and for two hours reconnoitered the enemy positions, deliberately drawing fire upon himself which caused the enemy to disclose his dispositions. Returning to his company, he armed himself with an automatic rifle and boldly advanced upon the enemy, followed by two officers, nine enlisted men, and a tank. Approaching an enemy machinegun, Lieutenant Colonel Ware shot two German riflemen and fired tracers into the emplacement, indicating its position to his tank, which promptly knocked the gun out of action. Lieutenant Colonel Ware turned his attention to a second machinegun, killing two of its supporting riflemen and forcing the others to surrender. The tank destroyed the gun. Having expended the ammunition for the automatic rifle, Lieutenant Colonel Ware took up an M-1 rifle, killed a German rifleman, and fired upon a third machinegun 50 yards away. His tank silenced the gun. Upon his approach to a fourth machinegun, its supporting riflemen surrendered and his tank disposed of the gun. During this action Lieutenant Colonel Ware's small assault group was fully engaged in attacking enemy positions that were not receiving his direct and personal attention. Five of his party of 11 were casualties and Lieutenant Colonel Ware was wounded but refused medical attention until this important hill position was cleared of the enemy and securely occupied by his command.

    General Orders: War Department, General Orders No. 47, June 18, 1945

    Action Date: 26-Dec-44

    Service: Army

    Rank: Lieutenant Colonel

    Battalion: 1st Battalion

    Regiment: 15th Infantry Regiment

    Division: 3d Infantry Division
  • Distinguished Service Cross

    Posted on 9/13/17 - by A Grateful Vietnam Veteran
    Distinguished Service Cross

    Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

    The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918 (amended by act of July 25, 1963), takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross (Posthumously) to Major General Keith Lincoln Ware (ASN: 0-33181), United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam, while serving with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Infantry Division. Major General Ware distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 12 and 13 September 1968 as the Commanding General of the 1st Infantry Division during an operation in the vicinity of Loc Ninh. Elements of the division became heavily engaged with a reinforced North Vietnamese regiment. Although he knew the enemy was utilizing anti-aircraft weapons in the area, General Ware repeatedly directed his helicopter commander to fly at a minimum altitude so he could more effectively direct and coordinate his infantry units' fierce fight. On numerous occasions his ship received fire from the communists' anti-aircraft emplacements, but General Ware continued his low level flights, which gave him maximum control of his troops and the best observation of the North Vietnamese deployment. He was killed when the enemy fusillade directed at his craft hit the ship, causing it to crash and burn. General Ware's personal courage and leadership inspired his beleaguered men to ultimately gain a total victory over the aggressors. Major General Ware's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty, at the cost of his life, were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

    General Orders: Headquarters, U.S. Army, Vietnam, General Orders No. 4958 (October 25, 1968)

    Action Date: September 12 & 13, 1968

    Service: Army

    Rank: Major General

    Company: Headquarters and Headquarters Company

    Division: 1st Infantry Division
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The Wall of Faces

Brought to you by the organization that built The Wall, the Vietnam Veterans Virtual Memorial Wall is dedicated to honoring, remembering and sharing the legacies of all those who died in the Vietnam War. Here you can go beyond the names on The Wall to see the faces, share the stories and read the remembrances posted by friends, neighbors, classmates and family members.

All of these photos will be showcased in The Education Center at The Wall on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. To learn more about the effort to collect these photos and ensure their faces will never be forgotten, visit