EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSFLAGS FLY HALF-STAFF
from Eyewitness News Online
Tomblin Orders State Flags Lowered In Memory Of Raleigh County Native
Reported by: Bethany Simmons
Web Producer: Bethany Simmons
Reported: Oct. 15, 2012 4:01 PM EDT
Updated: Oct. 15, 2012 4:28 PM EDT
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
Flags at state facilities are being lowered in honor of a West Virginia native whose exploits as an Army infantryman were portrayed in a book and the movie, "We Were Soldiers."
Basil L. Plumley, a native of Raleigh County, fought in World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam and was awarded a medal for making five parachute jumps into combat.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin issued the proclamation Monday that all state flags displayed at state facilities be lowered to half-staff from dawn until dusk Tuesday – the same day Command Sgt. Maj. Basil Plumley will be laid to rest.
"Command Sgt. Maj. Basil Plumley's commitment and hard work helped him become a highly respected and influential soldier," Tomblin said. "And his distinguished life further reinforces West Virginia's strong tradition of military service. Joanne and I extend our heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and all who knew him."
Plumley enlisted in the Army as a private on March 31, 1942, and continued his career until he retired as a command sergeant major in 1974. He fought in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Throughout his military career, Plumley received many awards and decorations including the Master Combat Parachutist Badge for making five parachute jumps into combat, the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Air Medal, Army Presidential Unit Citation, Army Commendation Medal and American Defense Service Medal.
Praised by Gen. Hal Moore as an outstanding non-commissioned officer and leader in the book, “We Were Soldiers Once...And Young,” Plumley was known affectionately by his soldiers as "Old Iron Jaw." He was portrayed by actor Sam Elliott in the film “We Were Soldiers.”
Plumley died last Wednesday in hospice care in west Georgia at the age of 92.
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