No one understood war better than Basil Plumley, but he was about to find peace. His Size 12 combat boots were stained with mud and blood from the three great wars of the 20th century and now he was being laid to rest among thousands of other warriors.
Plumley died last week. He didn't die on a battlefield. He was 92, and he died surrounded by a family that knew him as a hero who doted on grandchildren and great-grandchildren and seldom talked about the service that earned him membership in a fraternity more exclusive than the Medal of Honor.
Like many of the hundreds who were there Tuesday, Joe Galloway knew him as a command sergeant major. The legendary war correspondent met Plumley in the Ia Drang Valley of Vietnam -- a place neither thought they would survive.
"He was the very essence of a command sergeant major. They stand at the right hand of God and sometimes they speak with more authority than God," Galloway said, before eulogizing his longtime friend.
the article notes that Eliott became a family friend and attended the funeral. He about says it all:
Elliott said playing Plumley was a great responsibility. "I've played many historic figures, but Sgt. Plumley wasn't just a great man. He was there."
As an actor, he often seems larger than life. But in Plumley, Elliott found a person that was truly larger than life.
"That's the difference," he said. "I pretend to be, but Sgt. Plumley was real. He lived it."
Blackfive has more
~Susan Katz Keating has the ultimate tribute to CSM Basil Plumley, who recently passed away. My favorite couple of paragraphs:
Hansen said he was intrigued, some years back, when he came across a mention of "first sergeant" Plumley in a historical book about World War II.CSM Plumley was a legend in the Army. It is said that Sam Elliot actually "underplayed" him in "We Were Soldiers Once." Three awards of the CIB, 5 combat jumps in two wars. A gruff and demanding NCO who set and enforced high standards. That's why he won. RIP CSM.
"We all thought he was hatched a sergeant major, and here he was in black and white, a first sergeant. The passage wasn't very clear, just mentioned (Plumley) and something about a German tank," Hansen said. "He was a man of few words and a humble man; a lot of people don't realize that about him. He didn't brag, he just told you like it was. I asked him, 'What's the story about you and a German tank and he just grunted and said, 'Obviously I won.' And that was all there was to it."
wikipedia article HERE.