Fred K. Mahaffey

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Fred K. Mahaffey
General Fred K. Mahaffey.jpg
General Fred K. Mahaffey
Born (1934-01-04)January 4, 1934
Clovis, New Mexico
Died October 13, 1986(1986-10-13) (aged 52)
Walter Reed Army Medical Center
Place of burial Arlington National Cemetery
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1955-1986
Rank General
Commands held Readiness Command
3rd Infantry Division
Battles/wars Vietnam War
Awards Silver Star (3)
Distinguished Flying Cross (2)
Bronze Star (4)
Legion of Merit (4)

Fred Keith Mahaffey was a United States Army four-star general who served as Commander in Chief, United States Readiness Command (USCINCRED) from 1985 to 1986. Considered a rising star in the Army, his career was cut short by cancer.

Military career[edit]

Mahaffey was born on January 4, 1934 in Clovis, New Mexico. He graduated from the University of Denver in 1955 and was commissioned upon graduation. and earned as master's degree in International Affairs at George Washington University.

He commanded a battalion in the 9th Infantry Division during the Vietnam War. In 1975 he assumed command the 2nd Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division. He was succeeded in command of the 2nd Brigade by a fellow future four-star general, then-Colonel Colin Powell. He also commanded the 3rd Infantry Division from 1981 to 1983.

Mahaffey's other assignments included Division Operations Officer for the 101st Airborne Division, Assistant Commandant of the United States Army Infantry School; Deputy Commanding General of the Combined Arms Combat Development Activity; and Deputy Chief of Staff for operations for the Army.

Mahaffey was promoted to four star rank in 1985 at the age of 51, making him one of the youngest four-star generals ever.

Death and burial[edit]

Diagnosed with cancer while on active duty, he died at Walter Reed Army Medical Center on October 13, 1986 at the age of 52. Mahaffey was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. He was survived by his wife, the former Jane Garrett, and four daughters; Lorrie, Selene, Julie, and Melissa. A memorial to him can be found engraved in stone in Carlsbad Beach in Carlsbad, NM, where Mahaffey lived and the hometown of his widow Jane Mahaffey.


On May 16, 1989, the headquarters building of the 3rd Infantry Division was dedicated in his honor. He was posthumously inducted into the Ranger Hall of Fame. Mahaffey was also inducted posthumously into the University of Denver Athletic Hall of Fame.[1]

The old Fort Campbell High School building, which is now Mahaffey Middle School, is named for him.

Awards and decorations[edit]

His awards and decorations included the Army Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star with two oak leaf clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, Bronze Star with three oak leaf clusters, and the Legion of Merit with three oak leaf clusters.

See also[edit]


  1. ^