Major General Keith L. Ware
Namesake for Army Print and Broadcast Journalism Competition and Ceremony
Major General Keith L. Ware was born in Denver on November 23, 1915. His military career began on July 9, 1941 when he undertook his basic training at Camp Roberts, California following his induction into the Army under the Selective Service Act. He attended Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant of Infantry on July 18, 1942.
Assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division, he sailed on October 22, 1942 from Hampton Roads, Virginia and was part of the North African invasion force. He participated in the Algeria-French Morocco and Tunisian Campaigns. The next major operations he participated in were the invasion of Sicily, the Naples-Foggia battles of southern Italy, the landings at Anzio Beachhead and then on the San Tropez beaches of southern France in August of 1944.
On June 18, 1945 he was awarded the Medal of Honor. An excerpt from the citation states, "On December 26, 1944, while serving as battalion commander of 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry, near Sigolsheim, France, he went forward of the front line elements of his command and for two hours reconnoitered a strongly held enemy position. He then led a small patrol forward and destroyed or captured four machine-gun positions and killed numerous enemy riflemen. Half of the patrol including himself were wounded, but he refused medical attention until the position was captured by his men. As an interesting side note, Audie Murphy received his Medal of Honor for actions in January 1945 as a member of Lieutenant Colonel Ware's battalion. Later, he served as one of Ware's company commanders.
After serving six months in the occupation forces of Germany, Ware returned to attend the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth and then was assigned to the Military District of Washington. This is where he met his future wife Joyce, and they were married five months later on May 3, 1947.
Ware was then assigned to West Point to teach Military Psychology and Leadership, then attended the Armed Forces Staff College and was assigned to serve in Korea from March 1955 until June of 1957. It was then off to the National War College, back to Washington D.C. to serve as a Congressional Liaison and then a tour in Europe. During his next assignment as Assistant Division Commander of the 2d Armored Division ("Hell on Wheels") at Fort Hood, Texas, he was promoted to Brigadier General. His next tour of duty was as Deputy Chief and Chief of Information for the Department of the Army from September 1964 through November 1967. During that tour, he was promoted to Major General on July 1, 1966.
Originally due for assignment to Germany, Ware appealed to the Secretary of the Army and was reassigned to Vietnam where he initially served in major command assignments until taking over as commander of the 1st Infantry Division ("Big Red One"). Six months after assuming command, while moving forward to get "first hand" observations of the offensive operation in progress, he was killed when his helicopter was shot down on September 13, 1968. His funeral was held and he was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. President Johnson, whom Ware had known from his legislative liaison days, attended.
His wife, who resides in Colorado, said that "he loved his country dearly and was a man of very high morals, very dedicated and a wonderful human being."
The Army continues to recognize Major General Ware and his accomplishments to this day. The Army's annual Awards for Journalism are named after him as are the Parade Ground and an Elementary School at Fort Riley, Kansas (traditional home of the "Big Red One"); a range facility at Fort Benning, Georgia (home of the Infantry"); a Simulation Center at Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois; and, of course, an etching on panel 44W of the Vietnam War Memorial. His Medal of Honor is currently on display at the National Infantry Museum at Fort Benning.