Buckley, William Francis, LTC

Deceased
 
 Photo In Uniform   Service Details
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Last Rank
Lieutenant Colonel
Last Service Branch
Special Forces
Last Primary MOS
18A-Special Forces Officer
Last MOS Group
Special Forces (Officer)
Primary Unit
1984-1985, POW/MIA
Service Years
1947 - 1985

Special Forces


Special Forces
Lieutenant Colonel



Twelve Overseas Service Bars


 Last Photo   Personal Details 

42 kb

Home State
Massachusetts
Massachusetts
Year of Birth
1928
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by SSG Trey W. Franklin to remember Buckley, William Francis, LTC.

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
Medford
Last Address
Not Specified

Date of Passing
Jun 03, 1985
 
Location of Interment
Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

Army Military Police Infantry Shoulder Cord


 Unofficial Badges 

MP Shoulder Cord Armor Shoulder Cord Engineer Shoulder Cord


 Military Association Memberships
Chapter LIV - The LTC William F. Buckley ChapterIn the Line of Duty
  1985, Special Forces Association, 54, Chapter LIV - The LTC William F. Buckley Chapter (Executive Officer) (Boston, Massachusetts) [Verified] - Chap. Page
  1985, In the Line of Duty


 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Lieutenant Colonel William F. Buckley was born in Medford, Massachusetts on May 30, 1928. Colonel Buckley graduated from high school in 1947 and joined the United States Army.

Following two years of service as an enlisted MP he attended Officers Candidate School and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in Armor. He later attended the Engineer Officer's Course at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, the Advanced Armor Officer's Course at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and the Intelligence School at Oberammergau, Germany.
 

Colonel Buckley served with the 1st Cavalry Division as a company commander during the Korean War. After the war he completed his studies and graduated from Boston University with a degree in Political Science. He was employed as a librarian in the Concord, Winchester and Lexington public libraries. In 1960, Bill joined the 320th Special Forces Detachment which became the 11th Special Forces Group and attended both Basic Airborne and the Special Forces Officers Course. He was assigned as an A- Detachment Commander and later as a B-Detachment Commander.
 

Colonel Buckley served in Vietnam with MACV as a Senior Advisor to the ARVN. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in May 1969.

WF Buckley PHOTO




Intelligence Star, medal

 Distinguished Intelligence Cross


Exceptional Service Medallion

Buckley was employed by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) from 1955 to 1957 and again from 1965 until his untimely death. He served in many varied assignments all over the world. 
Buckley may have been working for the CIA while in Mexico in 1963, but this is unconfirmed. His CIA employment kept him in Vietnam from 1965 to 1970, and he was promoted in his military capacity to Lieutenant Colonel in May 1969. After leaving Vietnam, he served in Zaire (1970??1972), Cambodia (1972), Egypt (1972??1978), and Pakistan (1978??1979). It is believed he worked with William Casey in the secret negotiations that had taken place with the Iranians on behalf of Ronald Reagan during the 1980 presidential elections. Other sources claim that in 1980 he was put in charge to monitor the safety of the Egyptian President Anwar Al Sadat, who was killed the next year.

He was taken hostage from his last assignment in Beirut; Lebanon where he was the Political Officer/ Station Chief at the U.S. Embassy. Colonel Buckley died after 15 months in captivity of illness and torture. His body was returned to the United States on December 28, 1991 and he was buried in Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.

Among Colonel Buckley's Army awards are the Silver Star, Soldier's Medal, Bronze Star with "V", two Purple Hearts, Meritorious Service Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, and the Parachutist Badge. He also received the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry w/ Bronze Star from ARVN. Among his CIA awards are the Intelligence Star, Exceptional Service Medallion and Distinguished Intelligence Cross.

Among his civilian awards are the Freedom Foundation Award for Lexington Green Diorama, Collegium and Academy of Distinguished Alumni - Boston University. A memorial park - The William F. Buckley Memorial Park in Stoneham, Massachusetts, is dedicated to his memory.
Colonel Buckley was single and left two sisters, Maureen Moroney, Joyce Wing and a longtime close friend, Beverly Surette.

 

 

 

   
Other Comments:
Photo of words and stars on the north wall foyer of CIA HQ Bldg, immortalizing CIA oficers who lost their lives

Washington, DC, December 27, 1991:

Human remains identified as those of William F. Buckley, chief officer for CIA in Lebanon when was taken hostage in March 1984, were flown to the US this evening for funeral services. He died in captivity, apparently after torture, the next year. 
 

A spokesman for the CIA, which seldom acknowledges identity of clandestine operatives, dead or alive, said he "was the senior agency representative in Beirut" when was kidnapped by organization calling itself Islamic Holy War. The agency also issued a brief biographical profile of him, again an unusual step for CIA in dealing with members of its clandestine service, but also reflecting the agony felt in the highest ranks of the intelligence service over the loss of one of its own.
 

The CIA acknowledged his death in an agency memorial service, August 1987, nearly 2 years after Islamic Holy War boasted of having killed him. The spokesman also noted that agency honored him with a star carved in the marble memorial wall of the CIA's main building in Langley, Virginia, where officers killed on duty are commemorated. "It is star 51 of 54 stars," he said. "We are waiting for final positive identification by US authorities" at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on Saturday, a spokesman said, noting preliminary identification was made early today by Lebanon's chief pathologist, Dr. Ahmed Harati, who issued his finding after examining a skull and some bones that were found wrapped in blankets early today on a roadside near Beirut airport. It is routine practice for US military forensic specialists at Dover to conduct their own examinations of remains of US officials killed in foreign lands, spokesman said. The same was done for Lieuenant Colonel William R. Higgins, USMC, another Beirut hostage slain by Islamic militants, whose body was returned to this country this week. Unlike Buckley, who arrived in Beirut in 1983 under cover of State Department posting as political officer of US Embassy, Higgins was serving openly as chief of UN observation team in Lebanon when seized. 
 

CIA official and a Pentagon spokesman said plans were underway for joint funeral service for them at Andrews Air Force Base, just outside the capital, on Monday. Remains of Higgins will then be buried at Marine base in Quantico, Virginia. There is already gravesite and stone for Buckley at Arlington National Cemetery where many of nation's heroes are buried. Buckley, who was a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Reserve, won the Silver Star for gallantry while serving in Vietnam. A public memorial service was held with full military honors at Arlington on May 13, 1988, just short of 3 years after his presumed death. At the service, attended by more than 100 colleagues and friends, the Director of the CIA, William H. Webster, eulogized Buckley saying, "Bill's success in collecting information in situations of incredible danger was exceptional, even remarkable." Among the mourners was Buckley's longtime companion, Candace Hammond of Farmer, North Carolina, whom he left behind when he moved to Beirut. By the time of that service, some details of his previous life had become public: he had served in clandestine CIA assignments in Syria and Pakistan and that fate had become intertwined with President Reagan's impassioned efforts to gain release of other Americans held hostage in Lebanon. Well before US policy makers were certain that he was dead at age 57, the Director of CIA, William J. Casey, began efforts aimed at finding and possibly rescuing Buckley. At one point, an FBI team specializing in kidnapping cases was brought in. When the Reagan Administration accepted the fact of Buckley's death, hostage takers in Lebanon were believed to be holding 5 other Americans. In late 1985, Reagan made the release of these Americans a principal policy objective of his Administration, leading him and a handful of aides into a series of covert operations involving sale of sophisticated weapons to Iran by way of Israel and other incentives intended to ransom the captives. These operations culminated in what became known as Iran-Contra Affair in 1986. 
 

According to the biographical information distributed by fax today by CIA, Buckley was "an avid reader of politics and history" and "a collector and builder of miniature soldiers." Latter hobby enabled him to become principal artisan in the creation of a panorama at the Lexington Battlefield Tourist Center near his native Bedford, Massachusetts. The press release also said he owned an antique shop and was an amateur artist and a collector of fine art. It called him "a very private and discreet individual." The CIA awarded him an Intelligence Star, an Exceptional Service Medallion and a Distinguished Intelligence Cross, but did not say whether any of these were issued posthumously. He was a bachelor, and is survived by 2 sisters. May 30, 1928-June 3, 1985. 
 

He is buried in Section 59 of Arlington National Cemetery. 
 

On 8 March 1985 a car bomb exploded near the house of Hezbollah spiritual leader, Sheikh Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah, a disciple of Ayatollah Khomeini. Fadlallah escaped unhurt, but eighty-one people were killed in the explosion. While the CIA and President Ronald Reagan denied responsibility, many throughout the arab world believe the attack to be revenge for Buckley's killing. The bombing led to more kidnapping of Westerners and the hijacking of TWA Flight 847 a month later.  The death of Imad Mughniyeh has been confirmed. This man, along with others, was responsible for the U.S. Marine Barracks bombing in Lebanon in 1983 and the kidnapping and murder of William F. Buckley.

   
 Photo Album   (More...


 Ribbon Bar

Combat Infantryman 2nd Award

Master Parachutist
Special Forces
Vietnam - Jump Wings

 
 Unit Assignments
Armor Officers' Advanced CourseU.S. Army1st Cavalry Division (Unit of Action)Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
11th Special Forces GroupMilitary Assistance Command Vietnam MACVPOW/MIA
  1950-1950, Armor Officers' Advanced Course
  1950-1951, Combat Intelligence Course
  1951-1953, HHC, 1st Cavalry Division (Heavy Armored)
  1955-1985, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
  1960-1963, 11th Special Forces Group
  1963-1965, Military Assistance Command Vietnam MACV
  1965-1985, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
  1984-1985, POW/MIA
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1951-1951 Korean War/CCF Intervention (1950-51)
  1951-1951 Korean War/First UN Counteroffensive (1951)
  1951-1951 Korean War/UN Summer-Fall Offensive (1951)
  1951-1951 Korean War/CCF Spring Offensive (1951)
  1951-1952 Second Korean Winter (1951-52)
  1952-1953 Korean War/Third Korean Winter (1952-53)
  1959-1962 Multiple JUSMAAGV Operations 1959-1963
  1962-1965 Vietnam War/Advisory Campaign (1962-65)
  1965-1965 Vietnam War/Defense Campaign (1965)
  1965-1966 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Campaign (1965-66)
  1966-1967 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase II Campaign (1966-67)
  1967-1968 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase III Campaign (1967-68)
  1968-1968 Vietnam War/Tet Counteroffensive Campaign (1968)
  1968-1968 Vietnam War/Tet Counteroffensive Campaign (1968)
  1968-1968 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase V Campaign (1968)
  1968-1969 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase VI Campaign (1968-69)
  1969-1969 Vietnam War/Summer-Fall 1969 Campaign
  1969-1969 Vietnam War/Tet 69 Counteroffensive Campaign
  1969-1970 Vietnam War/Winter-Spring 1970 Campaign1
  1970-1970 Vietnam War/Sanctuary Counteroffensive Campaign (1970)
  1972-1972 Operation Freedom Deal
  1983-1984 Multinational Peacekeeping Forces, Beirut
 Colleges Attended 
Boston University
  1954-1957, Boston University
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