Skip to comments.Colonel David Hackworth; A Misguided Warrior
Posted on 03/22/2005 4:43:57 PM PST by SwinneySwitch
'ARMY REGULATIONS WERE WRONG'
David Hackworth, a retired Army Colonel, has made a career out of badmouthing Americas military brass. According to Hackworth the generals and admirals are a bunch of bums. He routinely refers to them as "Perfumed Princes" in his syndicated news columns.
I first met Hackworth during my third and final tour in Vietnam in 1970-71. Hackworth was a LTC (soon to be promoted to Col.) commanding the 44th Special Tactical Zone (STC) in IV Corps. I was a Major commanding a 70 man ranger unit assigned as advisors to the ARVN 42nd Ranger Group in the "Seven Mountains" area of Chau Doc province.
Hackworth had a reputation as a "gung-ho" but reckless leader looking for personal glory. At an advisors meeting in Can Tho Hackworth, in an obvious effort to impress me with his importance, told me my ranger outfit would soon come under his command.
"Not if I can help it," was my reply. It never happened and that was the last time I saw Hackworth until I saw him at a book signing at Ft Sam a couple of years ago.
No one is questioning Hackworths hero status. He has a chestful of medals including eight Purple Hearts and nine Silver Stars. Hackworth isnt at all modest about his medals and calls himself "Americas most decorated living soldier."
The US Army doesnt agree with Hackworth. The following Army memo states, "It has been a long-standing and unwritten policy of the Army that no single soldier or veteran is ever named officially as the most decorated person in a conflict or in a particular period of time."
Hackworth may have many medals (as do countless other veterans and retirees) but they dont include the Medal of Honor, Americas highest award for valor, or the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC), the Armys second highest award for valor. With more than 200 living Medal of Honor winners as well as a significant number of DSC winners, Hackworths claim as the "most decorated" is bunk.
Hackworth retired in September 1971 under a cloud and immigrated to Australia where he became an anti-war activist. He lived in Australia for the next 18 years in near obscurity.
In 1989 he published "About Face," an 875-page autobiography that became a best seller. Hackworth was the glorified warrior and the generals were the bad guys.
Shedding his peace creep image Hackworth was once again the most decorated soldier.
Only this time his weapon of choice was a pen.
In 1990 Hackworths book caught the attention of Newsweek editor Maynard Parker who hired him as a special Gulf War correspondent. After almost 20 years of self imposed isolation from the real world the 60-year-old Hackworth was once again Col David Hackworth the ultimate warrior and military expert.
Following the Gulf War Hackworth (now known as "Hack") continued to write, mostly about the military brass, who he claimed were a bunch of incompetent bums who were leading US troops into certain defeat. If only the generals would listen to Hack...
In his second book "Hazardous Duty" that he co-wrote with Tom Matthews, and subtitled "Americas Most Decorated Living Soldier Reports from the Front and Tells It the Way It Is," Hackworth roams the battlefields from Bosnia to Iraq. He is the perfect veteran warrior who immediately sees all the military blunders that are foisted on the troops by the bumbling generals.
The troops are the best trained and equipped soldiers in the world; the problem is those damn "Perfumed Princess" generals. Hackworth seems to overlook the fact that those damn generals are the ones who trained and equipped the US Military that has no equal on todays battlefields.
In 1971 Hackworth was interviewed by ABC where he demonized the generals and denounced the Vietnam War. The Army launched an investigation into his conduct. In an August 1971 report by the Army Inspector General the following charges were made:
Hackworth sanctioned the operation of a brothel in the compound he commanded.
Hackworth gambled with enlisted men.
Hackworth smoked marijuana with subordinates.
Hackworth lived in the compound with a woman who was not his wife.
Hackworth broke currency regulations by exchanging U.S. dollars for military payment certificates on the black market.
The report concluded: "Col Hackworth lacked the character, integrity and moral attributes required of an officer and gentleman, acted without honor in dealing with his subordinates and superiors alike, and was derelict in the performance of his duties as Senior Advisor of Advisory Team 50."
General Creighton Abrams, MACV Commander, and Lt Gen. William J. McCaffrey his deputy, decided to court-martial Hackworth. Hackworth retained Joseph Califano, a hot-shot Washington lawyer to defend him. In September 1971 the Secretary of the Army stopped the investigation and allowed Hackworth to retire. Gen. McCaffrey, now retired, said, "Gen Abrams and I were astonished and chagrined when the secretary let him go."
In his book "Hazardous Duty", Hackworth admits to the charges against him, but dismisses them by saying, "It was the regulations that were wrong " Apparently he doesnt believe in order and discipline in the military. The Army was wrong and he was right. It was all the fault of those damn "Perfumed Princes" again. He calls his conduct "Hackworth - Honorable."
Well, there you have it. Old Hack the sour-grapes retired colonel continues to demonize Americas military brass with his poison pen columns.
Its unfortunate that Hackworth, a decorated combat veteran, has sided with the liberal media and their cohorts in congress in attacking Americas military leaders. His incessant bad-mouthing of the generals and know-it-all attitude may play well in the media circuit, but it hasnt helped in our war against terrorism. Its time to put "Hack" through basic training again.
(Editor's note: Major Jim Miles is retired US Army Special Forces.)
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It's about time somebody slammed Hackworth, the man is a disgrace
I read "About Face" and the one thing I took away from it was how badly run the Vietnam war was, and Hack thought the US could easily have won that war.
However, the fact he just up and left his wife, and took up with another woman (I can't remember if he met the woman and then went to Australia or vice versa) said more to me about Hack than anything else.
"About Face" is pretty good in regards to Vietnam, however, other than that, I tend to dismiss anything else Hack has to say.
I'm gonna email the link to Hackworth
Ouch! I can understand why he wouldn't want to promote these activities.
We've seen a lot of retired military "experts" over the last few years. They come crawling out of the woodwork whenever there is a military action. Some are trying to sell something, some have an axe to grind, some are playing politics, and some are doing all 3. This kind of thing has a long history in this country. Freedom of speech is a wonderful thing!
It's about time somebody printed the truth about this opening to a derriere. I almost lose my stomach everytime I see him.
Hackworth is the most brilliant, heroic strategic military man to ever walk the earth.
Just ask him. He'll tell you so.
PS: I'm grateful that Hannity, after two months into Iraq liberation, finally, finally saw the light and stopped putting the Schmackworth on the air like some kind of expert.
In fact, the last time Hack was on TV he was bragging how the US was about to lose the Iraq war, and that Saddam Hussein's armies was about to kick our butts because we didn't follow HIS expert advice.
I happen to agree with Hack on a lot of things, disagree on others. But who's painting with the broadest brush here, Hackworth or Miles? Does Hack call Stormin' Norman a perfumed prince? Tommy Franks?
he'd be about 75 now wouldn't he?
why do people still call him "colonel"....he hasn't been in the service for 35 yrs and he left the military under suspicion, IMO..
He fought and bled for his country.
I'll never be one to prevent him from speaking his mind. He's earned that much.
A true hero never brags and braggarts are never a true hero.
Two observations about Hackworth (I read his book).
1. In his book he admits running his batallion from his bedroom, taking a bath with his girlfriend. Now, morality aside, I was astonished that he would be so cavalier about his command responsibilities. His men are out fighting and dying, and he doesn't have the decency at least to be present in the COC.
2. After the Gulf War (in which I served), General Normal Schwartzkopf denounced the former military officers who were acting as news media experts and explaining on national TV what the obvious strategy was for the Gulf War attacks. Schwartzkopf was furious that his plans would have been revealed publicly, and therefore to the enemy.
Hackworth was clearly the one he was refering to, as he explained in detail what the plan of attack was.
Nice going Hack, its called treason.
they make me nauseous
and he's definitely a "hack"
We all saw what happened. At that point I wrote Hack off as a professional crank and have never had any reason to change my opinion.
Hack is a traitor, plain and simple. Can't believe FOX had him on the payroll.
Good to see that SOF magazine dropped him in favor of Col. Oliver North.
David Hackworth, a retired Army Colonel, has made a career out of badmouthing Americas military brass. According to Hackworth the generals and admirals are a bunch of bums
When someone blames everyone else all of the time like this guy...you have to wonder what HE is all about or NOT about.
"...but they dont include the Medal of Honor, Americas highest award for valor, or the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC)..."
Miles probably had a fact wrong here... homeofheroes.com
Hackworth left the Army under a cloud...he's just whining.
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