Plumley, Basil, CSM

Deceased
 
 Photo In Uniform   Service Details
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Last Rank
Command Sergeant Major
Last Service Branch
Infantry
Last Primary MOS
00Z-Command Sergeant Major IN
Last MOS Group
Infantry (Enlisted)
Primary Unit
1965-1967, 00Z, 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment (Airmobile) 1st Cavalry Division
Service Years
1942 - 1974

Command Sergeant Major


Ten Service Stripes



Fourteen Overseas Service Bars


 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
West Virginia
West Virginia
Year of Birth
1920
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by MAJ Mark E Cooper to remember Plumley, Basil ("Old Iron Jaw"), CSM.

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
Shady Spring, Raleigh County
Last Address
Columbus, GA

Date of Passing
Oct 10, 2012
 
Location of Interment
Fort Benning Post Cemetery - Fort Benning, Georgia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

Belgian Fourragere Netherlands Orange Lanyard US Army Retired (Pre-2007) Meritorious Unit Commendation 1944-1961

French Fourragere 82nd Airbone Division 101st Airbone Division 1st Cavalry Division




 Unofficial Badges 

Air Assault Badge 11th AAD 1964 Order of the Dragon Order of Saint Maurice Order of The Spur

Cold War Veteran




 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Hero of three wars dies in Columbus
Command Sgt. Major Basil Plumley was 92
 
By: Fort Benning, GA|Vis News Release
Published: October 10, 2012
Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Basil Plumley has died at Columbus Hospice.  He was 92.  Plumley served in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
During the Vietnam War, he was sergeant major of the 1st Battalion, 7th Calvary Regiment commanded by Lt. General (then Lt. Col.) Hal Moore.  The actions of that unit in the Battle of Ia Drang in 1965 were the basis of Moore's book, "We Were Soldiers Once, and Young."  The book was made in to a movie in 2002 starring Mel Gibson.  Plumley was played by Sam Elliot.
The Battle of Ia Drang was the first major battle between the United State Army  and regulars of the People's Army of North Vietnam during the Vietnam War.      
CSM Plumley enlisted in the Army in March 1942 and retired with 32 years of service.  He worked at Martin Army Community Hospital for fifteen years after retirement. 
He was born in 1920 in Sandy Springs, West Virginia.
A news release from Fort Benning lists his awards and decorations:  Silver Star with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Bronze Star with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart with three Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Air Medal with eight Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Presidential Unit Citation, Army Good Conduct Medal, American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with arrowhead device and one silver and three bronze campaign stars (eight  campaigns), World War II Victory Medal, Army of Occupation Medal, National Defense Service Medal with one Gold Star, Korean Service Medal with one Arrowhead Device and three campaign stars, Vietnam Service Medal with eight campaign stars, Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation, Republic of Vietnam Presidential Citation, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation with Palm three Awards, United Nations Service Medal for Korea, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Republic of Vietnam Civil Actions Unit Award Honor Medal, Republic of Korea War Service Medal, Order of Saint Maurice, Combat Infantryman Badge (third award), Master Parachutist Badge with five Combat Jump Stars, French Croix de Guerre 82nd Airborne, Belgian Croix de Guerre 82nd Airborne, Dutch Order of the Orange 82nd Airborne, Doughboy Award 1999.
     Funeral arrangements have not been finalized.


CSM Basil L. Plumley
(born 1920 in West Virginia) is most famous for his actions as a Sergeant-Major of the US Army's 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, at the Battle of Ia Drang (1965). General Hal Moore praised Plumley as an outstanding NCO and leader in his book We Were Soldiers Once...And Young. The Sergeant Major was known affectionately by his soldiers as "Old Iron Jaw". Plumley is a veteran of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. He made all 4 combat jumps with the 82nd Airborne Division in WWII (Sicily, Salerno, D-Day and Market Garden) and one in Korea with the 187th Airborne Infantry Regiment. He retired as a Command Sergeant Major. After his retirement, Plumley worked for many years at a hospital in Georgia.

Plumley was one of the senior Sergeants-Major in the Army. He and Moore served together as Sergeant-Major and Commander for over two years at Fort Benning and in Vietnam.

When the Department of the Army created the rank of Command Sergeant Major, the first promotion board reviewed the eligible population of Sergeants Major in three increments with a promotion list being published at the conclusion of each increment.  CSM Plumley was on the promotion list published at the conclusion of the third increment and promoted 1968.

To this day, there are veterans of the 1/7 CAV who are convinced that God may look like CSM Plumley, but HE is not nearly as tough as the Sergeant Major on sins small or large.

He was portrayed by Sam Elliott in the film, We Were Soldiers.

   
Other Comments:
Enlisted on: 31-Mar-1942, PVT Two Years High School in Huntington, WV.
SN: RA35425274
AWARDS and MEDALS:
  • Silver Star with one Oak Leaf Cluster
  • Bronze Star with one Oak Leaf Cluster
  • Purple Heart with three Oak Leaf Clusters
  • Army Air Medal and 8 Oak Leaf Clusters
  • Army Presidential Unit Citation
  • Army Good Conduct Medal
  • American Campaign Medal
  • European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with arrowhead device and 1 silver and 3 bronze campaign stars (to signify 8 campaigns)
  • World War II Victory Medal
  • Army of Occupation Medal
  • National Defense Service Medal with one Gold Star 
  • Korean Service Medal with one Arrowhead Device and three campaign stars
  • Vietnam Service Medal with eight campaign stars
  • Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation
  • Republic of Vietnam Presidential Citation
  • Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation with Palm 3 Awards 
  • United Nations Service Medal for Korea
  • Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal
  • Republic of Vietnam Civil Actions Unit Award Honor Medal
  • Republic of Korea War Service Medal
  • Order of Saint Maurice
  • Combat Infantryman Badge (3rd Award)
  • Master Parachutist Badge with 5 Combat Jump Stars
  • French Croix de Guerre 82nd Airborne
  • Belgian Groix de Guerre 82nd Airborne
  • Dutch Order of the Orange 82nd Airborne
  • Doughboy Award 1999
   
 Photo Album   (More...


 Ribbon Bar

Combat Infantryman 3rd Award

Master Parachutist (5 Combat Jumps)
Vietnam - Jump Wings

 
 Unit Assignments
505th Infantry Regiment (Airborne)187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team11th Air Assault Division (Test)1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment (Airmobile) 1st Cavalry Division
  1943-1946, 745, 2nd Battalion, 505th Infantry Regiment (Airborne)/HHC
  1950-1953, 1745, 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team
  1963-1965, 11Z50, 11th Air Assault Division (Test)
  1965-1967, 00Z, 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment (Airmobile) 1st Cavalry Division
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1941-1945 World War II
  1943-1943 WWII - European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Sicily Campaign (1943)
  1943-1943 Sicily Campaign (1943)/Operation Husky
  1943-1943 WWII - European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Sicily Campaign (1943)
  1943-1943 WWII - European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Naples-Foggia Campaign (1943-44)
  1944-1944 Operation Overlord/D-Day Beach Landings - Operation Neptune
  1944-1944 WWII - European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Northern France Campaign (1944)
  1944-1944 Rhineland Campaign (1944-45)/Operation Market Garden
  1944-1944 D-Day Airborne Landings/First wave: Mission Albany
  1944-1945 Ardennes Alsace Campaign (1944-45)/Battle of the Bulge
  1944-1945 WWII - European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Rhineland Campaign (1944-45)
  1945-1945 WWII - European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Central Europe Campaign (1945)
  1950-1953 Korean War
  1951-1951 Korean War/First UN Counteroffensive (1951)/Operation Tomahawk
  1953-1953 Korean War/Third Korean Winter (1952-53)/Battle of Pork Chop Hill
  1961-1961 Cold War Incident - Standoff at Checkpoint Charlie (East Germany)
  1965-1965 Vietnam War/Defense Campaign (1965)/Operation Silver Bayonet I - Battle of the Ia Drang
  1968-1968 Vietnam War/Tet Counteroffensive Campaign (1968)
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