Basil L. Plumley was drafted
into the U.S. Army as a Private (Pvt) and went on
Active Duty (AD) 31 March 1942.
Pvt Plumley Army Serial Number (ASN) was 35425274
and he joined Battery B 320th Field Artillery
Battalion (Btry B 320th FA Bn), 82nd
Infantry Division (82nd Inf Div) 5 April 1942.
Plumley went through basic
training for 8 weeks at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana.
 Upon graduation was promoted
to Private First Class (Pfc) 19 June 1942 with his
Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) 345 listed as
Pfc Plumley was promoted on 25 July 1942 to
Technician 5th Grade (T5) with the same MOS.
15 August 1942 the 82nd
Inf Div was converted to the 82nd
Airborne Division (82nd Abn Div). The
320th FA Bn converted that day as well to
the 320th Glider Field Artillery Battalion (320th
Gli FA Bn).
Pfc Plumley was promoted once
again 1 April 1943 to the rank of Corporal (Cpl) and
his MOS had changed as well to 761 Scout.
The 320th Gli FA Bn set sail on
29 April 1943 to Casablanca, Morocco arriving 10 May
The 320th Gli FA Bn then moved to Kairouan, Tunisia
9 July 1943.
Operation Husky commenced 9 July 1943 with the
entire 82nd Abn Div committed minus the
320th Gli FA Bn, 325 Gli Inf and Company A (Co A) 307th
Airborne Engineer Battalion (Combat) (307th
Abn Engr Bn (C)) which stayed at Kairouan, held back
Btry B 320th Gli FA Bn arrived
by Ship 23 September 1943 landing at Paestum, Italy.
The 320th Gli FA Bn entered into combat for the
first time in WWII at 1108 hours 17 October 1943
during the Naples-Foggia campaign. The 320th Gli FA
Bn was attached to the 3rd Inf Div
Artillery (Arty) north of Volturno River in Italy.
The 320th Gli FA Bn reverted back to the 82nd
Abn Div 1 November 1944 and returned to Naples.
The 320th Gli FA Bn left
18 November 1943 sailing to Belfast,
Northern Ireland and arriving 9 December 1943.
Cpl Plumley went on furlough for 5 days starting 3
February 1944 while the Battalion was in Camp
Monrush, Cookstown, Northern Ireland.
The 320th Gli FA Bn moved to Husbands, Bosworth
England preparing for Operation Neptune (Normandy).
Cpl Plumley's MOS 761 remained the same going into
Normandy. Scouts would search out locations for
emplacements for the 105mm Guns.
While researching Plumley the
following narrative was created;
The Life and Death of 2nd
Lt Jesse Elmo Stewart, 29 May 1944 to 6 July 1944.
The short life of Second
Lt) Stewart is a perfect example of the differences
between Paratroop, Artillery and Airborne.
Using the 82nd Abn Div as the example everyone is
Airborne, but not all are Paratroop and yet not all
Paratroopers are entitled to receive the Combat
Infantry Badge (CIB).
2nd Lt Stewart was
promoted from Assistant Executive Officer to
His MOS was changed to 1512 (Airborne Infantry Unit
The difference is the Arm of Service on the Morning
Reports. All 82nd Abn Div Soldiers were Airborne,
not all were Infantry nor were all Paratroopers
Infantry either. Some of the Paratroopers were
Artillery and some were Corps of Engineers (CE) which means they
didn’t meet the criteria for the Combat Infantry
Badge (another criteria is the General Order (GO)
for the Combat Infantry Badge).
Only the Infantry would be
eligible to receive the Combat Infantry Badge. That
also means the Infantry including Infantry
Paratroopers would be given, in 1962, the Bronze Star
Medal as well.
The Paratrooper (Field Artillery and Corps of
Engineers) did not meet the
criteria for the Combat Infantry Badge which also
means they were not eligible for the 1962 Bronze
In 1944 the MOS was not part of
the Combat Infantry Badge criteria. This changed in
1961 to include the MOS along with the Arm of
Service. The third criteria was at the end of
hostilities a Soldier is not eligible to receive the CIB. Even if transferred to an Infantry Unit but
after 8 May 1945 they no longer met the criteria for the CIB.
2nd Lt Stewart’s and
Private Streicher (spelled Striker on the 507th
Prcht Inf Morning Report)
 both jumped into Normandy
with the 507th Prcht Inf on 6 June 1944.
Both of their Arm of Service and MOS were still
Field Artillery not Infantry which means they were
not eligible to receive the Combat Infantry Badge
but they were eligible to wear the Jump Wings as
they had graduated from Parachute School either back
in 1942 at Ft. Benning or in England in 1944. They
would have also worn one star with their Jump Wings
after jumping into Normandy.
You can graduate from Parachute
School and still not be in a Paratroop/Infantry
Unit. The 377th Prcht Field Artillery
Battalion (377th Prcht FA Bn) was
Paratroop but once again wasn't eligible for the
Combat Infantry Badge. Back in 1942 some of the men
from the 320th Gli FA Bn went though
Parachute School. 2nd Lt Stewart’s and
Private Streicher were the only members of the 320th
FA Bn Soldiers to Jump into Normandy.
The rest of the 320th Gli FA Bn came in
by Glider on 6 June 1944.
The advance party came in 0405 and the main body
came in 19 hours later by Glider.
2nd Lt Stewart was
wounded on 4 July 1944 while a Spotter for the 325th
Gli Inf 1st Bn.
He was hit by artillery fire in the head and died 2
2nd Lt Stewart was promoted on 8 July
1944 to 1st Lt.
Because of his death on 4 July 1944 it was later
rescinded. On 2nd Lt Jesse E. Stewart’s
Hospital Admission Card it has him in the Hospital
for 1 days and 1 day in an Aid Station before his
death yet on the Headstone it has his death as 4
July 1944 the day he was wounded not 6 July 1944 his
actual date of death.
Back to the Plumley article;
The next Morning Report in July
of 1944 shows Cpl Plumley going on furlough again
for 5 days after Normandy.
The next campaign was Market Garden for Btry B of
the 320th Gli FA Bn.
They landed 18 September 1944 and Cpl Plumley was
wounded the same day.
The Hospital Card shows the length and type of wound
from Market Garden.
Plumley was in Btry B 320th Gli
FA Bn 82nd Abn Div from 4 April 1942 to
23 June 1945 as it shows him promoted to
Sgt 6 weeks after the end of hostilities in Europe
and transferring out of Btry B.
Plumley and the 320th Gli FA Bn
were entitled to the following Campaign Battle
(The 320th Gli FA Bn, 325th
Gli Inf and Co A 307th Abn Engr Bn (C)
received credit for Sicily even though they didn’t
participate in that campaign since they were in
Below are the awards Command
Sergeant Major (CSM) Plumley are entitled.
(Awards worn by CSM Plumey in picture taken 10 May
2010 at West Point, NY Left Chest then Right Chest.
Badge - COMBAT INFANTRYMAN BADGE
(Vietnam) (It shows three, St. Louis and the Army
says two CIBs, but Plumley wasn't in
Korea during the war years, and didn't meet the
criteria for a
WWII CIB so what is the second one for?)
Row 1 - (A) The LEGION OF MERIT (Between August 1973
to December 1974) (Ft. Benning, GA)
(B) SILVER STAR
Medal W/BRONZE OAK LEAF CLUSTER (Vietnam) (The
Silver Star Medal should be in front of The Legion
Row 2 - (A) BRONZE STAR MEDAL
W/BRONZE OAK LEAF CLUSTER & LETTER “V” DEVICE (Shows
two, meets the criteria for 2 Bronze Star
Medal and that is based on the 1962 criteria for
Meritorious, not Valor and the 1966 Bronze Star
Medal for Meritorious Service.) (None for Valor)
(B) AIR MEDAL W/l SILVER & 3 BRONZE OAK LEAF
CLUSTERS (WWII & Vietnam)
Row 3 - (A) ARMY COMMENDATION MEDAL W/3 BRONZE OAK
LEAF CLUSTERS (Clusters not shown on 2010 rack)
(B) PURPLE HEART W/BRONZE OAK LEAF
CLUSTER (WWII & Vietnam )
(C) GOOD CONDUCT MEDALS (8) (Career)
Row 4 - (A) American Defense Service Medal
(1939-1941) (didn't join until 1942, doesn't meet
(B) AMERICAN THEATER RIBBON (WWII) (NARA Award
wrong, should say American Campaign Medal)
(C) EUROPEAN-AFRICAN-MIDDLE EASTERN CAMPAIGN MEDALW/l SILVER & 1 BRONZE (BATTLE STARS)
(WWII) (Shows 2 Bronze Battle Star, should only be
one or does Africa Campaign count?) (Award
of Bronze service arrowhead shown on Ribbon
but not on Awards Listing. Plumley is entitled
to both the Normandy and Holland Arrowheads, but
could only wear one on Ribbon)
(D) WORLD WAR II VICTORY MEDAL
Row 5 - (A) ARMY OCCUPATION MEDAL W/GERMANY CLASP
(B) NATIONAL DEFENSE SERVICE MEDAL W/BRONZE OAK LEAF
CLUSTER (Korea & Vietnam) (Active Duty Personal
stationed anywhere in the world) (once for
Korea and once for Vietnam)
(C) VIETNAM SERVICE MEDAL W/l SILVER & 3 BRONZE
STARS (Vietnam) (Missing Silver Battle Star on
ARMED FORCES EXPEDITIONARY MEDAL (Vietnam)
Row 6 - (A) FRENCH FOURRAGERE GUERRE W/PALM (WWII)
(Plumley isn't allowed to wear the Ribbon as this is
a Unit Award to be worn as a Lanyard)
(B) BELGIUM FOURRAGERE (WWII) (Plumley isn't allowed
to wear the Ribbon as this is a Unit Award to be
worn as a Lanyard)
(C) REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM GALLANTRY CROSS W/GOLD STAR
(Star goes on Row 6 for Soldier and Palm goes on
Right Chest as it is Unit Award)
(D) REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM CAMPAIGN MEDAL W/l 960
Badge - SENIOR PARACHUTIST BADGE (Listed wrong
Badge - REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM PARACHUTIST BADGE
Row 1 - (A) REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM GALLANTRY CROSS
(B) PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION (Plumley has two Oak
Leaf Cluster but none on Awards list. This
DISTINGUISHED UNIT BADGE became the PRESIDENTIAL
UNIT CITATION first means that the PRESIDENTIAL UNIT
CITATION was the first Oak
Leaf cluster, second unknown checking with St. Louis,
Combat Ready Infantry Cord (Blue) on Right Shoulder
Right Sleeve - OVERSEAS SERVICE BARS (8) (Career)
(Plumley didn't wear them in 2010 Picture)
Left Sleeve - SERVICE STRIPES (9) (Career) (Plumley
was Service on both sides) (9 Total as he was just
short of 30 years)
Not shown on Decorations and Awards in May of 2010
Glider Badge (with two STars) (WWII)
FRENCH FOURRAGERE GUERRE W/PALM (WWII)
NETHERLAND ORANGE LANYARD (WWII)
BELGIUM FOURRAGERE (WWII)
CSM Plumley is also entitled to the The Korea
Defense Service Medal as he served their in 1972.
CSM Plumley's family just needs to request The Korea
Defense Service Medal to receive that Award.
(in order of appearance)
AD (Active Duty)
ASN (Army Serial Number)
Btry B (Battery B)
320th FA Bn (320th
Field Artillery Battalion)
82nd Inf Div (82nd
Pfc (Private First Class)
Military Occupational Specialty
T5 (Technician 5th Grade)
82nd Abn Div (82nd
320th Gli FA Bn
(320th Glider Field Artillery Battalion)
325 Gli Inf (325th
Co A (Company A)
307th Abn Engr Bn
(C) (307th Airborne Engineer Battalion
2nd Lt (Second
CIB (Combat Infantry Badge)
CE (Corps of Engineers)
GO (General Order)
1st Lt (First
1st Bn (First
CSM (Command Sergeant Major)
What does all this mean? It
means Command Sergeant Major (CSM) Plumley had a distinguished career in the
U.S. Army. Up until the movie came out about his
time in Vietnam he wasn’t know widely outside of the
men who served with and under him.
The above records are from St.
Louis, MO NARA
and from Morning Reports which both came from the
When I spoke with him in July
of 2011 he never claimed to have jumped out of an
airplane in combat in WWII or any other wars. He
did talk briefly about that he jumped out of
helicopters but never an airplane in wartime.
CSM Plumley was in Korea, in
1972-73 never before that time period and he never
claimed to have been in Korea in the 1950's. When you look at his
overseas assignments it speaks for itself.
Look where Plumley was between 1951 through 26 February
1953, Ft. Campbell, Kentucky then he went to Germany. He returned home
three years later and then back again to Germany 2
years later for 2 ½ years.
CSM Plumley has the NATIONAL
DEFENSE SERVICE MEDAL W/BRONZE OAK LEAF CLUSTER
(once for Vietnam and once for Korea). The Korean
one was for any Soldier on Active Duty during the Korean
War. If you were in
Germany, Alaska or anywhere else in the world that
award was given out. The other one was for Vietnam
and he was in country twice
St. Louis NARA needs to correct
the CIB and Bronze Star Medal issues and they have
named some of the Awards wrong and CSM Plumley have
Awards on his Rack that St. Louis and the Army don't have on
Decorations and Awards.
There are people trying to
defend both Galloway and Wikipedia and when
confronted with the documentation they have no
answer. Wikipedia in this case is mostly
wrong with whomever has CSM Plumley's Military
Records including Awards & Decorations.
The movie We Were Soldiers Once... is a great
movie but only a movie.
Action Report for the Battle of la Drang
Galloway’s Obituary for Mr. Plumley on HistoryNet
was in error on many points including that
Plumley was entitled to one CIB, not three and
he never jumped in WWII and wasn't in Korea
Brian N. Siddall
September 8, 2015
 Interview by Author
Brian N. Siddall with Basil L. Plumley
7/20/2011 via phone number 706-682-****