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First Name: Keith

Last Name: Ware

Birthplace: Denver, CO, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: Lincoln

Date of Birth: 23 November 1915

Date of Death: 13 September 1968

Rank: Major General

Years Served: 1941-1968
Keith Lincoln Ware

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)
•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


Keith Lincoln Ware
Major General, U.S. Army
Medal of Honor Recipient
World War II

Major General Keith Lincoln Ware was a U.S. Army officer who received the U.S. military's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for his heroic actions during World War II. He was killed in action while commanding a division during the Vietnam War.

Keith Lincoln Ware was born on 23 November 1915 in Denver, CO. He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1941 and sent to Officer Candidate School in 1942, emerging as a Second Lieutenant and platoon leader stationed at Fort Ord, CA. After extensive service in the European Theater of Operations, he had risen to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel by December 1944 and was commanding the 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division.

On 26 December 1944, Ware's battalion was attacking a heavily fortified German hilltop position. Finding one of the assault companies stalled and digging in under heavy fire, Ware went forward past their position 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 brought back a small force - eleven men and a tank - in order to renew the attack; leading the advance personally, he disabled four machine-gun positions before the hill was secured. Five of the eleven men with him were casualties, and Ware himself was wounded. For his action in this engagement, he was awarded the Medal of Honor.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army, 1st Battalion, 1 5th Infantry, 3rd Infantry Division.

Place and date: Near Sigolsheim, France, 26 December 1944.

Citation: Commanding the 1st Battalion 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 M1 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.

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

Ware arrived in 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, he had stabilized the situation and the task force was dispersed. Following this, Ware was assigned to command the 1st Infantry Division in March 1968.

On 12 and 13 September of that year, with elements of the division closely engaged near Loc 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 13 September, along with Ware, his three command staff, and the four helicopter crew; there were no survivors. Ware became the fourth American general officer (and the first Army general officer) to die in combat in the Vietnam War. Ware was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for this action in October 1968.

Medals, Awards and Badges

Medal of Honor
Distinguished Service Cross
Distinguished Service Medal with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster Silver Star Medal
Bronze Star Medal
Purple Heart with 2 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
American Campaign Medal
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
World War II Victory Medal
Army of Occupation Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Vietnam Service Medal
Vietnam Campaign Medal
Combat Infantryman Badge

Distinguished Service Cross Citation

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918 (amended by act of July 25, 1963), takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross (Posthumously) to Major General Keith Lincoln Ware (ASN: 0-33181), United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam, while serving with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Infantry Division. Major General Ware distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 12 and 13 September 1968 as the Commanding General of the 1st Infantry Division during an operation in the vicinity of Loc Ninh. Elements of the division became heavily engaged with a reinforced North Vietnamese regiment. Although he knew the enemy was utilizing anti-aircraft weapons in the area, General Ware repeatedly directed his helicopter commander to fly at a minimum altitude so he could more effectively direct and coordinate his infantry units' fierce fight. On numerous occasions his ship received fire from the communists' anti-aircraft emplacements, but General Ware continued his low level flights, which gave him maximum control of his troops and the best observation of the North Vietnamese deployment. He was killed when the enemy fusillade directed at his craft hit the ship, causing it to crash and burn. General Ware's personal courage and leadership inspired his beleaguered men to ultimately gain a total victory over the aggressors. Major General Ware's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty, at the cost of his life, were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

General Orders: Headquarters, U.S. Army, Vietnam, General Orders No. 4958 (October 25, 1968)

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Keith L. Ware's name is inscribed on Panel 44W - Line 55.

Honors in Keith Lincoln Ware's Name

● The U.S. Army's annual Awards for Journalism
● Ware Elementary School in Fort Riley, KS
● Ware Hall, 1-15 IN battalion command post at Fort Benning, GA
● Ware Hall, the Kelley Hill Education Center (building 9004) at Fort Benning, GA
● Ware Hall, a lodging facility at Fort Hood, TX
● A parade field in Fort Riley, KA
● A shooting range at Fort Benning, GA

Death and Burial

Major General Keith Lincoln Ware was killed in a helicopter that was downed by enemy fire on 13 September 1968. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA, in Section 30, Lot 258-3.

Honoree ID: 1700   Created by: MHOH




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