Basil L Plumley, WV War Hero

Basil L Plumley was born January 1, 1920. He was a career soldier and airborne combat infantryman in the US Army, reaching the rank of Command Sgt Major. He is most well known for his actions during the Battle of la Drang in Vietnam. He was portrayed by Sam Elliott in the movie “We Were Soldiers” adapted from the book “We Were Soldiers Once… and Young” by Lt Gen Hal Moore and Joseph L Galloway about the Battle of la Drang.

Plumley was born in Shady Spring, West Virginia, the second son and fifth child of coal miner Clay H. Plumley and Georgia B. Morton, both of whom were natives of West Virginia.

After two years of high-school, he worked as a chauffeur/driver before enlisting in the US Army on March 31, 1942. In 1948/49, Plumley married Deurice Dillon, who died on May 28, 2012, after 63 years of marriage.

Name:Basil L Plumley
Race:White
Marital status:Single, without dependents (Single)
Rank:Private
Birth Year:1920
Nativity State or Country:West Virginia
Citizenship:Citizen
Residence:Raleigh, West Virginia
Education:2 years of high school
Civil Occupation:Semiskilled chauffeurs and drivers, bus, taxi, truck, and tractor
Enlistment Date:31 Mar 1942
Enlistment Place:Huntington, West Virginia
Service Number:35425274
Branch:Branch Immaterial – Warrant Officers, USA
Component:Selectees (Enlisted Men)
Source:Civil Life
Height:70
Weight:154
Civil Life Record For Basil L Plumley
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CLIPPED FROM: The Raleigh Register
Beckley, West Virginia / 02 Aug 1942, Sun • Page 4
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Although I LOVED watching Sam Elliott’s portrayal of Plumley, I have to say that I am gobsmacked by the ribbons the real man wore on his chest. I will do my best below to note the majority of them and try to not screw up their actual names.

Awards and decorations:

Combat Infantry Badge

Master Parachutist badge (United States) with five Combat Jump Stars

Glider Badge

Vietnam Master Parachutist Badge

Silver Star with one oak leaf cluster

Legion of Merit

Bronze Star Medal with one bronze oak leaf cluster

Purple Heart with three oak leaf clusters

Army Air Medal with eight Oak Leaf Clusters

Air Medal with bronze award numeral 7

Army Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters

Army Presidential Unit Citation with oak leaf cluster (Republic of Korea and Republic of Vietnam)

Army Good Conduct Medal (8 awards)

American Campaign Medal

European–African–Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with Arrowhead device, one silver and one bronze service stars

World War II Victory Medal

Army of Occupation Medal with “Germany” clasp

National Defense Service Medal with service star

Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal

Vietnam Service Medal with silver and three bronze service stars, eight campaign stars

Korea Defense Service Medal with one Arrowhead Device and three campaign stars

Republic of Korea War Service Medal, Order of Saint Maurice

United Nations Service Medal for Korea

Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Gold Star (Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation with Palm three Awards)

Vietnam Armed Forces Honor Medal, Second Class

Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation

Vietnam Civil Actions Medal Unit Citation

Vietnam Campaign Medal

Combat Infantryman Badge (third award)

French Croix de Guerre 82nd Airborne

Belgian Croix de Guerre 82nd Airborne

Dutch Order of the Orange 82nd Airborne

Doughboy Award 1999

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Name:Basil L Plumley
Date Eligible to Return from Overseas :1 Jul 1969
Date Recommended Award Received :29 Mar 1969
Date Award Forwarded :2 Apr 1969
Service/Country:U.S. Army
Command/Staff:II Corps
Recommended Award:Air Medal (Achievement)
Approved Award:Air Medal (Achievement)
Clusters:Eight Clusters
Location Award Presented:Award Presented in Republic of Vietnam [South Vietnam] (RVN)
Posthumous:Award presented while Living
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BURIAL: Fort Benning Post Cemetery
Fort Benning, Muscogee County, Georgia, USA
PLOT SECTION H SITE 672C

Newspaper Clippings And Misc Data On Basil L Plumley:

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CLIPPED FROM: The Raleigh Register
Beckley, West Virginia / 14 Mar 1943, Sun • Page 6
Name:Basil L Plumley
Race:White, includes Mexican (White)
Rank:Enlisted Man
Admission Age:24
Birth Date:abt 1920
Admission Date:Sep 1944
Discharge Date:Nov 1944
Military Branch:Field Artillery, General or Unspecified
Diagnosis:FirstLocation: Hand, generally; CausativeAgent: Bullet, Rifle
Type of Injury:Casualty, battle
Medical Treatment:Removal of foreign bodies from others
Injured in Line of Duty:In line of duty
Type of Discharge:Duty
Length of Service:2 Year(s), 6 Month(s)
Service Number:35425274
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CLIPPED FROM: Beckley Post-Herald
Beckley, West Virginia / 31 May 1950, Wed • Page 5
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CLIPPED FROM: The Raleigh Register
Beckley, West Virginia / 21 Jan 1951, Sun • Page 12
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CLIPPED FROM: Star Tribune
Minneapolis, Minnesota / 24 Oct 1965, Sun • Page 21
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CLIPPED FROM: Star Tribune
Minneapolis, Minnesota / 24 Oct 1965, Sun • Page 23
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CLIPPED FROM: The Chico Enterprise-Record
Chico, California / 16 Nov 1965, Tue • Page 12
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CLIPPED FROM: The Chico Enterprise-Record
Chico, California / 16 Nov 1965, Tue • Page 12
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CLIPPED FROM: The Danville News
Danville, Pennsylvania / 18 Nov 1965, Thu • Page 1
galloway 1.4 -
Galloway 1.5 -
galloway 1.6 -
Galloway 1.7 -
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CLIPPED FROM: The Raleigh Register
Beckley, West Virginia / 19 Nov 1965, Fri • Page 1
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CLIPPED FROM: The Town Talk
Alexandria, Louisiana / 26 Jan 1966, Wed • Page 14
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CLIPPED FROM: Beckley Post-Herald The Raleigh Register
Beckley, West Virginia / 17 Jul 1966, Sun • Page 17
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CLIPPED FROM: The Atlanta Constitution
Atlanta, Georgia / 13 Jun 1999, Sun • Page 18
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CLIPPED FROM: St. Joseph News-Press
St. Joseph, Missouri / 01 Mar 2002, Fri • Page 28
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CLIPPED FROM: The Wichita Eagle
Wichita, Kansas / 05 Jul 2003, Sat • Page 9
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CLIPPED FROM: The Bradenton Herald
Bradenton, Florida / 24 Oct 2003, Fri • Page 35
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CLIPPED FROM: Journal and Courier
Lafayette, Indiana / 28 Apr 2005, Thu • Page 24
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CLIPPED FROM: Centre Daily Times
State College, Pennsylvania / 22 Oct 2005, Sat • Page 6
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CLIPPED FROM: The Atlanta Constitution
Atlanta, Georgia / 20 Mar 2009, Fri • Page B5
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CLIPPED FROM: The Miami Herald
Miami, Florida / 25 Mar 2009, Wed • Page 17
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CLIPPED FROM: Ledger-Enquirer
Columbus, Georgia / 28 May 2010, Fri • Page A5
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CLIPPED FROM: Ledger-Enquirer
Columbus, Georgia / 11 Oct 2012, Thu • Page A1
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CLIPPED FROM: Ledger-Enquirer
Columbus, Georgia / 11 Oct 2012, Thu • Page A1
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CLIPPED FROM: Ledger-Enquirer
Columbus, Georgia / 17 Oct 2012, Wed • Page A1
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CLIPPED FROM: Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era
Lancaster, Pennsylvania / 11 Oct 2012, Thu • Page 16
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CLIPPED FROM: Ledger-Enquirer
Columbus, Georgia / 13 Oct 2012, Sat • Page A1

One comment

  1. Outstanding articles about a dedicated human from WV and gave it his all. Thank you for your service from a hillbilly from WV. RIP

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