Historical records matching LtCol Keith L. Ware, Medal of Honor
About LtCol Keith L. Ware, Medal of Honor
The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Lieutenant Colonel Keith Lincoln Ware (ASN: 0-33181), United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action above and beyond the call of duty while serving with 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3d Infantry Division. Commanding the 1st Battalion attacking a strongly held enemy position on a hill near Sigolsheim, France, on 26 December 1944, Lieutenant Colonel Ware found that one 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, Lieutenant Colonel Ware went forward 150 yards beyond the most forward elements of his command, and for two 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 two officers, nine enlisted men, and a tank. Approaching an enemy machinegun, Lieutenant Colonel Ware shot two German riflemen and fired tracers into the emplacement, indicating its position to his tank, which promptly knocked the gun out of action. Lieutenant Colonel Ware turned his attention to a second machinegun, killing two of its supporting riflemen and forcing the others to surrender. The tank destroyed the gun. Having expended the ammunition for the automatic rifle, Lieutenant Colonel 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 Lieutenant Colonel 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 Lieutenant Colonel Ware was wounded but refused medical attention until this important hill position was cleared of the enemy and securely occupied by his command.
General Orders: War Department, General Orders No. 47, June 18, 1945
Action Date: 26-Dec-44
Rank: Lieutenant Colonel
Battalion: 1st Battalion
Regiment: 15th Infantry Regiment
Division: 3d Infantry Division
Ask 10 people on Fort Hood who Keith L. Ware was and 90 percent, if not all, cannot answer the question unless they are in public affairs. Ask the same 10 percent who Audie Murphy was and chances are they can all answer.
Ware and Murphy served together in World War II and had great respect for each other. They were also friends who few could equal in combat. While one would become a celebrity, the other would go on to a distinguished military career and be immortalized by the Army for three decades of dedication to his country.
They way they fought and died were similar and, today they rest in peace a short distance apart in Arlington National Cemetery.
Murphy's legend lives on in books, movies and by word-of-mouth. He even has a worldwide fan club, a foundation and an Internet homepage. The Army continues to recognize him through the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club, where only non-commissioned officers that display his leadership qualities are eligible for induction.
Ware's name is synonymous with Army journalistic excellence. The annual Keith L. Ware competition recognizes outstanding Army journalists in honor of the former Army Chief of Public Affairs. His name also graces the distinguished visitor quarters at Fort Hood, Keith Ware Hall.
Ware, the first Officers' Candidate School graduate to reach the rank of general and the highest-ranking officer killed during the Vietnam War, was an unassuming hero who went where the action was.
That is how he got to know Murphy up close and personal on October 2, 1944.
Murphy saved Ware's life that day by single-handedly rescuing a 15th Infantry Regiment patrol near the Cleuire Rock Quarry in France - thereby earning his first Silver Star, according to copyrighted information recently received from Terry Murphy, son of the most decorated combat soldier of World War II.
Lieutenant Colonel Ware, 1st Battalion executive officer, had joined a small patrol probing German lines where he and the others were helplessly pinned down by an enemy machine gun with rifle support.
Staff Sergeant Murphy, who was not part of the patrol, had recognized the danger and secretly followed behind about 25 yards. "I figured those gentlemen were going to run into trouble; so I tagged along ... to watch the stampede" he told newspaper columnist and friend David McClure years later.
As the German machine gunner was about to finish off Ware and the patrol, Murphy stepped into the open just eight yards from the enemy. Murphy's famous luck was with him as the enemy gun barrel caught some brush as it swung around.
Murphy finished off all eight ambushers with two grenades and his carbine in less than 30 seconds. That earned Murphy his first Silver Star, but a modest Murphy failed to even mention the incident in his autobiography "To Hell and Back."
Just three days later, Murphy would be credited with inflicting 50 enemy casualties in a single engagement and earn a second Silver Star.
A day before that action, according to author Harold B. Simpson in "Audie Murphy - American Soldier," Murphy took Ware along on one of his dangerous sniper hunts. Ware was witness to Murphy outdueling a sniper and capturing a prized high-powered rifle and scope that Life Magazine photographed and published.
Ware never forgot the sharpshooting boyish Texan who saved his life. In 1964, as a brigadier general, he said "Audie Murphy was without a doubt the finest soldier I have ever known in my entire military career."
And Ware knew what courage was. When one of his assault companies was stopped and forced to dig in on December 26, 1944, Ware personally went to get them moving.
Ware exposed himself to heavy German artillery, machine gun and mortar fire for two hours scouting a fortified hill 150 yards beyond friendly lines.
He then went back to the American line, armed himself with an automatic rifle and led a small group in attacking the stronghold. He took out four German machine gun positions and an undetermined number of enemy casualties.
Murphy went on to become the most decorated American combat soldier of World War II, have a long movie career and a somewhat noted songwriter.
Ware went on to receive the Medal of Honor for his December 26 exploit in World War II and then to fight one of the greatest battles of the Vietnam War.
Ware was known for keeping his cool under fire and instilling confidence in those around him.