Notes from The Virtual Wall
On 11 Sep 1968 elements of the 1st Infantry Division got into a developing engagement at Loc Ninh in Binh Long Province. Two days into the three-day fight, on 13 Sep 1968, B Company, 1st Aviation Battalion, provided the command and control helicopter (UH-1H tail number 67-17552) for the Division's Commanding General, Major General Keith L. Ware. The Huey was carrying a crew of four and the CG's party of four passengers when it exploded in mid-air and crashed southeast of Loc Ninh with no survivors.
Major General Ware had been decorated with the Medal of Honor for his actions as Commander, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry, in World War II. He also received the Distinguished Service Cross and Silver Star for personal valor in combat. He was one of eleven Flag and General officers who died in Vietnam, six in combat and five in accidents.
- B Co, 1st Aviation Battalion aircrewmen:
- CW2 William Manzanares, Jr, pilot
- CPT Gerald W. Plunkett, copilot
- SP5 Jose D. Gutierrez-Velaz, crew chief
- SP4 Raymond Edward Lanter, gunner
- 1st Infantry Division Command Group:
- MGen Keith L. Ware, Commanding General (Medal of Honor, WW II; DSC; Silver Star)
- LTC Henry M. Oliver
- 1LT Steven L. Beck
- SgtMaj Joseph A. Venable
Keith Lincoln Ware began his military career as a World War II draftee. Commissioned through Officer Candidate School, he ended the war as a Lieutenant Colonel in command of an infantry battalion.
On 22 April 1945 LTG A. M. Patch, Seventh Army Commander,
presented the Medal of Honor to five 3rd Division officers and men.
Left to right, LTC Keith L. Ware, LT John J. Tominac,
TSG Russell E. Dunham, SSG Lucien Adams, and PFC Wilburn K. Ross
(Photo courtesy of the National Archives)
The President of the United States|
in the name of the Congress of the United States
takes pride in presenting the
MEDAL OF HONOR
KEITH LINCOLN WARE
for service as set forth in the following
United States Army
Commanding the 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry, attacking a strongly held enemy position on a hill near Sigolsheim, France, on 26 December 1944, found that 1 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, Lt. Col. Ware went forward 150 yards beyond the most forward elements of his command, and for 2 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 2 officers, 9 enlisted men, and a tank. Approaching an enemy machinegun, Lt. Col. Ware shot 2 German riflemen and fired tracers into the emplacement, indicating its position to his tank, which promptly knocked the gun out of action. Lt. Col. Ware turned his attention to a second machinegun, killing 2 of its supporting riflemen and forcing the others to surrender. The tank destroyed the gun. Having expended the ammunition for the automatic rifle, Lt. Col. Ware took up an Ml 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 Lt. Col. 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 Lt. Col. Ware was wounded but refused medical attention until this important hill position was cleared of the enemy and securely occupied by his command.
HQ US Army, Vietnam|
APO San Francisco
25 Oct 1968
AWARD OF THE DISTINGUISHED SERVICE CROSS
1. TC 320. The following AWARD is announced posthumously.
Keith Lincoln Ware, Major General, Infantry
Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Infantry Division
||Distinguished Service Cross|
||12 & 13 September 1968|
||Republic of Vietnam|
The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Keith Lincoln Ware, Major General, U.S. 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.
By direction of the President under the provisions of the Act of Congress, approved 9 July 1918.|
Keith Lincoln Ware is buried in
Site 258-3, Section 30,
Arlington National Cemetery.