Keith L. Ware

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Keith Lincoln Ware
Keith Ware.jpg
Born (1915-11-23)November 23, 1915
Denver, Colorado, U.S.
Died September 13, 1968(1968-09-13) (aged 52)
Lộc Ninh, South Vietnam
Buried at Arlington National Cemetery
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch  United States Army
Years of service 1941–1968
Rank Major General two silver stars
Commands held 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry,
3rd Infantry Division
1st Infantry Division
Battles/wars World War II
Vietnam War 
Awards Medal of Honor
Distinguished Service Cross
Distinguished Service Medal (2)
Silver Star
Bronze Star
Purple Heart (3)

Keith Lincoln Ware (November 23, 1915 – September 13, 1968) was a United States Army major general and a Medal of Honor recipient of World War II. General Ware was killed in action while commanding an infantry division in 1968 during the Vietnam War and was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.

Early life and education[edit]

Ware was born in Denver, Colorado on November 23, 1915. He graduated from South High School and worked at a variety of jobs to help support his family.

He was drafted into the United States Army in July 1941 and sent to Officer Candidate School in 1942, emerging a platoon leader stationed at Fort Ord, California.


World War II[edit]

Major General Ware

After extensive service in the European Theater of Operations during World War II, he had risen to the rank of lieutenant colonel by December 1944, commanding 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division.

On December 26, 1944, Ware's battalion was attacking a heavily fortified German hilltop position. Finding one of his assault companies stalled and digging in under heavy fire, Ware went forward and made a close reconnaissance of the German positions, deliberately drawing their fire in order to determine their location. After two hours, he returned to the company and organized a small force of eleven men including two officers and a tank in order to renew the attack. Leading the advance, he personally assaulted four enemy machine guns, enabling the tank and the rest of his detachment to destroy the German position. Ware was wounded, and five soldiers of his group were killed before the hill was secured. In April 1945, he was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroism.

Post-World War II[edit]

Unlike most draftees, General Ware remained in the U.S. Army after demobilization, becoming a career soldier, and one of the first former draftees to reach general officer rank.[1]

Ware remained in Europe and took part in the post-war occupation of Germany. He then attended the United States Army Command and General Staff College, after which he was assigned to the Military District of Washington. During this assignment he met his future wife Joyce, and they were married in May, 1947.

Ware attended the European Staff Officers' Course at Columbia University, and then studied at George Washington University in preparation for a teaching assignment. Ware was then assigned to the United States Military Academy as an instructor in psychology and leadership, after which he attended the Armed Forces Staff College.

After a posting in South Korea from 1955 to 1957, Ware attended the National War College. He then served as an army congressional liaison and completed an assignment in Europe.

In 1963 Ware was assigned as assistant division commander of the 2nd Armored Division at Fort Hood, Texas and promoted to brigadier general.

From 1964 to 1967 Ware was the Army's deputy chief of information and then chief of information. In 1966 he was promoted to major general.


General Ware volunteered for Vietnam and arrived in South Vietnam shortly before the outbreak of the Tet Offensive in early 1968, serving as the deputy commander of II Field Force. Dispatched to Saigon immediately after the start of the Tet attacks, he assumed control of the American forces in the area, forming Task Force Ware; after several days of heavy fighting had stabilized the situation, the task force was dispersed. Following this, Ware was assigned to command the 1st Infantry Division in March 1968.


On September 12 and 13, 1968, with elements of the division closely engaged near Lộc Ninh near the Cambodian border, he made several low passes over the fighting in a helicopter in order to better command his units. However, heavy anti-aircraft fire brought the helicopter down on September 13, along with Ware, his three command staff, and the four helicopter crew. There were no survivors; General Ware became the second US Army general officer to die in the Vietnam War, after Brigadier General Alfred Judson Force Moody died of a heart attack in South Vietnam on March 19, 1967.[2] On October 25, 1968, General Ware was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.

General Ware is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.[3]


Major General Ware's name is inscribed on the Vietnam War Memorial ("The Wall") on panel 44W.[6]

Awards and decorations[edit]

Medal of Honor

Medal of Honor citation[edit]

The President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pleasure in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR to


for service as set forth in the following


Commanding the 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry, attacking a strongly held enemy position on a hill near Sigolsheim, France, on 26 December 1944, found that 1 of his assault companies had been stopped and forced to dig in by a concentration of enemy artillery, mortar, and machinegun fire. The company had suffered casualties in attempting to take the hill. Realizing that his men must be inspired to new courage, Lt. Col. Ware went forward 150 yards beyond the most forward elements of his command, and for 2 hours reconnoitered the enemy positions, deliberately drawing fire upon himself which caused the enemy to disclose his dispositions. Returning to his company, he armed himself with an automatic rifle and boldly advanced upon the enemy, followed by 2 officers, 9 enlisted men, and a tank. Approaching an enemy machinegun, Lt. Col. Ware shot 2 German riflemen and fired tracers into the emplacement, indicating its position to his tank, which promptly knocked the gun out of action. Lt. Col. Ware turned his attention to a second machinegun, killing 2 of its supporting riflemen and forcing the others to surrender. The tank destroyed the gun. Having expended the ammunition for the automatic rifle, Lt. Col. Ware took up an M-1 rifle, killed a German rifleman, and fired upon a third machinegun 50 yards away. His tank silenced the gun. Upon his approach to a fourth machinegun, its supporting riflemen surrendered and his tank disposed of the gun. During this action Lt. Col. Ware's small assault group was fully engaged in attacking enemy positions that were not receiving his direct and personal attention. Five of his party of 11 were casualties and Lt. Col. Ware was wounded but refused medical attention until this important hill position was cleared of the enemy and securely occupied by his command.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

U.S. Army general officers who died in the Vietnam War:


  1. ^ U.S. Army, MG Keith L. Ware, Public Affairs Competition, Major General Keith L. Ware Biography [1] Retrieved August 9, 2014
  2. ^ TIME Magazine obituary.
  3. ^ Arlington National Cemetery profile.
  4. ^ Ware Journalism Awards biography page
  5. ^ Ware Elementary School website.
  6. ^ The Virtual Wall.

External links[edit]