Meadows, Richard (Dick), MAJ

 Photo In Uniform   Service Details
19 kb
View Time Line
Last Rank
Last Service Branch
Special Forces
Last Primary MOS
11B-Light Infantry Officer
Last MOS Group
Infantry (Officer)
Primary Unit
1975-1977, 11A, Army Ranger School
Service Years
1947 - 1977
Official/Unofficial US Army Certificates
Cold War Certificate

Special Forces

Special Forces


Eight Service Stripes

Six Overseas Service Bars

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

6 kb

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by LTC Ray Oden to remember Meadows, Richard (Dick), MAJ.

If you knew or served with this Soldier and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Contact Info
Home Town
Not Specified
Last Address
Not Specified

Date of Passing
Jul 29, 1995
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Association Memberships
Special Forces AssociationN/A
  1967, Special Forces Association [Verified] - Assoc. Page
  1981, Special Operations Association (SOA-MACV), N/A (Member) [Verified]

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Richard J. Meadows
June 16, 1931 - July 29, 1995
Major Richard J. "Dick" Meadows' exploits were legendary. Joining the Army at the age of 15 in 1947, he was assigned to the 456th Field Artillery Battalion, 82nd Airborne Division. Volunteering for Korea, he subsequently deployed with the 674th Field Artillery Battalion, 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team. He returned, age 20, as the youngest master sergeant in the Korean War.
Following service in Korea, he volunteered for duty with Special Forces in 1953, and spent the rest of his career in Special Forces or Ranger units, helping to establish and develop many of the organizations and programs we know today. During his remarkable career in Special Operations, he would contribute to the creation of Army Special Forces, Military Free Fall Parachuting, the Son Tay raid, the establishment of SFOD-Delta, and the attempted rescue of hostages in Iran, to name just a few.
In 1960, he was selected as the first NCO to participate in an exchange program between the 7th Special Forces Group and the British 22nd Special Air Service Regiment. While there, he completed the SAS selection course, performed for 12 months as a Troop Commander (a position normally filled by a Captain), and participated in numerous training exercises and an actual operation in Oman against terrorists and gun-smugglers. So impressive was his performance, he became one of the first two foreigners ever to receive the British SAS wings.
During the Vietnam era, he teamed with Colonel "Bull" Simons on Operation WHITE STAR in Laos, and served with the Military Assistance Command Vietnam-Studies and Observation Group, better known as MACV-SOG, in Vietnam. During two combat tours, he led more than two dozen clandestine missions behind enemy lines into North Vietnam and Laos, calling in air strikes on the Ho Chi Minh trail, capturing North Vietnamese soldiers for interrogation, and engaging in close quarter combat during commando raids. And throughout it all he never lost a man. Because of his extraordinary combat record, he was awarded a battlefield commission directly to Captain.
Later, again teamed with "Bull" Simons, he subsequently helped organize and lead the attempt to rescue U.S. POWs from the Son Tay prison camp near Hanoi. Commanding the ground assault force, he deliberately crash-landing his helicopter-borne assault forces inside the camp compound, only to find that the flawlessly executed mission was too late to rescue the prisoners.
He retired from the Army in 1977 as the Training Officer/Deputy Commander, Jungle Phase, U.S. Army Ranger School, Camp Rudder, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. However, his career in Special Operations was far from over. As a civilian he was an advisor in the formation of the Delta Force, and his most daring exploit probably came while working as a consultant to the Iran hostage crisis of 1980. Working undercover in Iran to scout the American embassy where the hostages were being held, and arrange transportation for the rescue force within Tehran, he was stranded when the mission was aborted. Alone, and with little more than his wits and courage to draw on, he was forced to make a harrowing escape from Iran.
Continuing in later years to selflessly serve his country, he spent much of the remainder of his life working against the illegal drug trade. At a ceremony posthumously awarding him the Presidential Citizen's Medal for Distinguished Service, it was said of him that he "quite literally established standards by which we measure all special operators -- now and in the future."
His military awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver Star (w/oak leaf cluster), Legion of Merit, Bronze Star (with V device for valor), Air Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Commendation Medal, and the Army Commendation Medal (w/two oak leaf clusters). He was also the recipient of the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Master Parachutist Badge, Glider Badge, Ranger and Special Forces Tabs, and SCUBA badge.
Dick Meadows was a professional who dedicated his life to a service of God, country and home; devoted himself to his duty, his comrades and his family; and established a standard of professional excellence by which all who follow in his footsteps shall be measured. He was, and in memory will forever remain..,
Richard J. Meadows,
Special Forces Soldier!




Other Comments:
Military Figure. A career U.S. Army Ranger, Green Beret, and Studies and Observations Group (SOG) commander, Major Richard J. 'Dick' Meadows achieved legendary fame with his worldwide covert operations and military service. His record spans the globe from Asia to the Middle East and even South America. Born in Covington Virginia, Dick Meadows enlisted in the U.S. Army at 15 years old. Advancing quickly in rank, he made Master Sergeant by age 20 and was assigned to the 187th Regimental Combat Team in Korea. By the time the Vietnam War heated up, he was an experienced and well seasoned combat veteran. General William Westmoreland awarded him the first battlefield commission of the Vietnam War. Meadows led more than two dozen missions behind enemy lines, four into North Vietnam and the rest in Laos. He captured many North Vietnamese and Viet Cong soldiers and gathered valuable information for U.S. Intelligence. In 1970, he was a central figure, planner and key participant in an attempt to free American POW’s with the famous "Son Tay Raid". After retiring from the military in 1977, he was again called on to assist with the 1980 rescue attempt of U.S. hostages in Iran. Meadows infiltrated into Tehran posing as an Irish businessman. His mission was to reconnoiter the captured American Embassy (where the hostages were being held) and forward tactical information to the U.S. rescue force. When the rescue operation unexpectedly collapsed in the desert, he narrowly evaded capture and escaped out of Iran. Dick Meadows was, and still is, considered the “soldier’s soldier” in most military circles. His career garnished a multitude of decorations including the Presidential Citizens Medal awarded posthumously by President Clinton. An 8 foot bronze statue of Major Meadows now stands on the Meadows Memorial Parade Field located at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Presonal Note: When I was a 2LT in Ranger Student (March1977), MAJ Meadows was the Commander of Camp Rudder (FL Phase).  He took my platoon on the "Cadre-Led Patrol" and explained a different organization for the patrol from what we had been using and it streamlined the the effectiness of the operation. When we got back from the patrol and he finished our debriefing, he announced, as I remember: "Well guys, that's it! That was my last official act as an Army Officer--I'm retiring at Benning day after tomorrow!" The next time I heard about him (other than the legion of "war stories" from guys who had served with him in SOG, 1/10 SFG an 8th SFG (where he was instrumental n starting MFF training) "Mr." Meadows was on covert guy in Teheran during the Attempt to rescue the Prisoners in Iran (1980).
 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar

Combat Infantryman 1st Award
Master ParachutistScuba Diver
Vietnam - Jump Wings

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
456th Airborne Field Artillery Battalion , Division Artillery (DIVARTY) 82nd Infantry Division 674th Airborne Field Artillery Battalion (105mm) , 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team10th Special Forces Group (Airborne)7th Special Forces Group (Airborne)
MAAG Laos8th Special Forces GroupMACV Studies and Observations Group (MACV-SOG)Army Ranger School
Joint Contingency Task Group (JCTG) Son Tay Raiders
  1947-1951, 3844, 456th Airborne Field Artillery Battalion , Division Artillery (DIVARTY) 82nd Infantry Division
  1951-1952, 1844, 674th Airborne Field Artillery Battalion (105mm) , 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team
  1953-1957, 1745, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne)
  1957-1960, 11Z50, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne)
  1961-1961, 11Z50, MAAG Laos
  1962-1965, 11Z50, 8th Special Forces Group
  1966-1968, 1542, MACV Studies and Observations Group (MACV-SOG)
  1968-1970, 1542, Army Ranger School
  1970-1970, 1542, Joint Contingency Task Group (JCTG) Son Tay Raiders
  1971-1974, 11A, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne)
  1975-1977, 11A, Army Ranger School
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1951-1951 Korean War/First UN Counteroffensive (1951)/Battle of the Imjin River
  1968-1968 Vietnam War/Tet Counteroffensive Campaign (1968)
Copyright Inc 2003-2011