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R.I.P. HACK

A real-life hero died yesterday...

Col. David H. Hackworth, the United States Army's legendary, highly decorated guerrilla fighter and lifelong champion of the doughboy and dogface, ground-pounder and grunt, died Wednesday in Mexico. He was 74 years old...Col. Hackworth spent more than half a century on the country's hottest battlefields, first as a soldier, then as a writer, war correspondent and sharp-eyed critic of the Military-Industrial Complex and ticket-punching generals he dismissed as "Perfumed Princes..."General Moore, the co-author of We Were Soldiers Once and Young, called him the Patton of Vietnam, and Gen. Creighton Abrams, the last American commander in that disastrous war, described him as the best battalion commander I ever saw in the United States Army.Col. Hackworths battlefield exploits put him on the line of American military heroes squarely next to Sgt. Alvin York and Audie Murphy. The novelist Ward Just, who knew him for forty years, described him as the genuine article, a soldiers soldier, a connoisseur of combat. At 14, as World War II was sputtering out, he lied about his age to join the Merchant Marine, and at 15 he enlisted in the U.S. Army. Over the next 26 years he spent fully seven in combat. He was put in for the Medal of Honor three times; the last application is currently under review at the Pentagon. He was twice awarded the Armys second highest honor for valor, the Distinguished Service Cross, along with 10 Silver Stars and eight Bronze Stars. When asked about his many awards, he always said he was proudest of his eight Purple Hearts and his Combat Infantrymans Badge.A reputation won on the battlefield made it impossible to dismiss him when he went on the attack later as a critic of careerism and incompetence in the military high command.
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