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Fred Keith Mahaffey

Date of birth: January 4, 1934
Date of death: DNB: October 13, 1986
Burial location: Arlington, Virginia
Place of Birth: New Mexico, Clovis
Home of record: Carlsbad New Mexico
Status: DNB

A highly decorated officer in the Vietnam War, Fred Mahaffey became a 4-Star General at age 51, one of the youngest men ever to achieve such high rank so early. His career was cut short when he was diagnosed with cancer, and he died while still on active duty.

AWARDS AND CITATIONS

Defense Distinguished Service Medal

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Awarded for actions during the Peace Time Awards

The Secretary of Defense of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Defense Distinguished Service Medal to General Fred Keith Mahaffey (ASN: 0-72962), United States Army, for exceptionally distinguished performance of duty contributing to national security and the defense of the United States. As Commander-in-Chief, United States Readiness Command, from June 1985 to September 1986. In this position of great trust and responsibility, General Mahaffey made lasting contributions to the defense of the United States of America. He was singularly responsible for developing and implementing force status assessment initiatives designed to provide current data on the capabilities of the force to support operations plans for world-wide contingencies. Notably, under his leadership, enduring contributions were made with respect to improved warfighting capabilities of the total force. Through his efforts, a Joint Warfare Center has been established to provide computer simulated joint combat operations training, and conduct analyses of joint operational issues, concepts, tactics, techniques and procedures. The Joint Warfare Center will serve the needs of the entire joint force through the use of state-of-the-art computer systems to provide realistic joint training and exercise simulation. The distinctive accomplishments of General Mahaffey reflect great credit upon himself, the United States Army and the Department of Defense.

Action Date: June 1985 - September 1986

Service: Army

Rank: General

Army Distinguished Service Medal

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Awarded for actions during the Peace Time Awards

(Citation Needed) - SYNOPSIS: General Fred Keith Mahaffey (ASN: 0-72962), United States Army, was awarded the Army Distinguished Service Medal for exceptionally meritorious and distinguished service in a position of great responsibility to the Government of the United States.

Service: Army

Rank: General

Army Distinguished Service Medal

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Awarded for actions during the Peace Time Awards

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Second Award of the Army Distinguished Service Medal to General Fred Keith Mahaffey (ASN: 0-72962), United States Army, for exceptionally meritorious and distinguished service in a position of great responsibility to the Government of the United States from July 1955 to September 1986. General Mahaffey's positions of leadership included platoon leader, company commander, battalion commander, brigade commander, division commander, and culminating as Commander-in-Chief, United States Readiness Command and Director, Joint Deployment Agency. In each of his assignments, General Mahaffey demonstrated the highest standards of leadership, integrity, and professionalism. Specifically in his position as Commander-in-Chief, United States Readiness Command, a joint service position, General Mahaffey made singular and enduring contributions to the defense posture of the United States of America. He had a profound and lasting influence on the improved warfighting capabilities, joint force interoperability, strategic reserve, and security of the North American continent. His unfailing perseverance and initiative resulted in significant progress in the use of modern computer support for joint training and exercise simulation through the development of the Joint Warfare Center, a centralized facility designated to provide simulated joint operational issues, concepts, tactics, techniques, and procedures. Throughout his career, General Mahaffey has not forgotten or overlooked individual members of the Armed Forces nor their families. Each individual played a key and significant role in the development of General Mahaffey's commands and the progress he made, reflecting his efforts towards strengthening the defenses of our Nation. General Mahaffey's numerous and distinctive accomplishments identified him as a distinguished military statesman of the highest caliber and culminate a career of service to the Nation, reflecting great credit on him, the United States Army, and the Department of Defense.

Action Date: July 1955 - September 1986

Service: Army

Rank: General

Silver Star

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Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918 (amended by an act of July 25, 1963), takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Lieutenant Colonel (Infantry) Fred Keith Mahaffey (ASN: 0-72962), United States Army, for gallantry in action involving close combat against an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam. Lieutenant Colonel Mahaffey distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 26 January 1969 while serving as Battalion Commander, 2d Battalion, 60th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division, on a cordon mission in Dinh Tuong Province. Disregarding his own safety, Lieutenant colonel Mahaffey repeatedly had his craft fly low over the embattled area to coordinate the linking up of his men. He then landed and personally directed the employment of his units. Despite the fact that he came under intense enemy fire four times that night, Lieutenant Colonel Mahaffey continued to courageously move through the area directing the fire of his men. His actions resulted in a striking victory over the Viet Cong. Lieutenant Colonel Mahaffey's extraordinary heroism in close combat against an armed hostile force is in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the 9th Infantry Division, and the United States Army.

General Orders: Headquarters, 9th Infantry Division, General Orders No. 2544 (March 4, 1969)

Action Date: January 26, 1969

Service: Army

Rank: Lieutenant Colonel

Company: Commanding Officer

Battalion: 2d Battalion

Regiment: 60th Infantry Regiment

Division: 9th Infantry Division

Silver Star

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Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918 (amended by an act of July 25, 1963), takes pleasure in presenting a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Second Award of the Silver Star to Lieutenant Colonel (Infantry) Fred Keith Mahaffey (ASN: 0-72962), United States Army, for gallantry in action involving close combat against an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam. Lieutenant Colonel Mahaffey distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 29 April 1969 while serving as Battalion Commander, 2d Battalion, 60th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division, on a reconnaissance in force mission in Long An Province. After one of his companies became heavily engaged with a large enemy force, Lieutenant Colonel Mahaffey flew to the area and braved intense hostile fire to circle over the hostile emplacements, pinpointing targets for artillery supporting fire. Although the enemy directed an extreme volume of anti-aircraft fire at his helicopter, he remained at low level over the area until his forces had completely encircled the hostile element. He then joined the company on the ground and repeatedly exposed himself to the enemy fusillade to direct the action of men. His valiant leadership resulted in a total rout of the hostile force. Lieutenant Colonel Mahaffey's extraordinary heroism in close combat with an armed hostile force is in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the 9th Infantry Division, and the United States Army.

General Orders: Headquarters, 9th Infantry Division, General Orders No. 5770 (May 20, 1969)

Action Date: April 29, 1969

Service: Army

Rank: Lieutenant Colonel

Company: Commanding Officer

Battalion: 2d Battalion

Regiment: 60th Infantry Regiment

Division: 9th Infantry Division

Silver Star

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Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918 (amended by an act of July 25, 1963), takes pleasure in presenting a Second Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Third Award of the Silver Star to Lieutenant Colonel (Infantry) Fred Keith Mahaffey (ASN: 0-72962), United States Army, for gallantry in action involving close combat against an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam. Lieutenant Colonel Mahaffey distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions from 12 May to 13 May 1969 while serving as Battalion Commander, 2d Battalion, 60th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division, during a reconnaissance in force mission in Long An Province. After his unit came under attack, Lieutenant Colonel Mahaffey, flying in the Command and Control helicopter, continually exposed himself to enemy fire while flying low over the area to adjust air and artillery fire against the hostile force, and direct ground troops in coordinated assaults against the enemy positions. During ensuing action, after taking control of the operation on the ground, Lieutenant Colonel Mahaffey called in gunship strikes to within 35 meters of his position, and skillfully continued to direct fire support into the area until the enemy force was totally defeated. Lieutenant Colonel Mahaffey's extraordinary heroism in close combat with an armed hostile force is in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the 9th Infantry Division, and the United States Army.

General Orders: Headquarters, 9th Infantry Division, General Orders No. 5798 (May 21, 1969)

Action Date: May 12 - 13, 1969

Service: Army

Rank: Lieutenant Colonel

Company: Commanding Officer

Battalion: 2d Battalion

Regiment: 60th Infantry Regiment

Division: 9th Infantry Division

Legion of Merit

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Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, 20 July 1942, takes pleasure in presenting the Legion of Merit to Captain (Infantry) Fred K. Mahaffey (ASN: 0-72962), United States Army, for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services to the Government of the United States from October 1962 to September 1963.

General Orders: Department of the Army, General Orders No. 7 (March 3, 1964

Action Date: October 1962 - September 1963

Service: Army

Rank: Captain

Legion of Merit

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Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

(Citation Needed) - SYNOPSIS: Lieutenant Colonel (Infantry) Fred K. Mahaffey (ASN: 0-72962), United States Army, was awarded a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Second Award of the Legion of Merit for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services to the Government of the United States.

Service: Army

Rank: Lieutenant Colonel

Legion of Merit

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Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, 20 July 1942, takes pleasure in presenting a Second Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Third Award of the Legion of Merit to Lieutenant Colonel (Infantry) Fred K. Mahaffey (ASN: 0-72962), United States Army, for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services to the Government of the United States during the period July 1968 to July 1969 while serving consecutively as Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff, 9th Infantry Division, as Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3 (Operations and Training), 9th Infantry Division and as Commanding Officer, 2d Battalion, 60th Infantry Regiment, 3d Brigade, 9th Infantry Division in the Republic of Vietnam. Demonstrating remarkable leadership abilities and rare judgment, Colonel Mahaffey came to be known as the hallmark of professional skill and competence while serving as Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3 (Operations and Training). His inherent ability to grasp and analyze problems of grave and far-reaching consequence enabled him to render flawless decisions. He provided firm and positive command and technical guidance to his staff while at the same time allowing them sufficient latitude to develop operating procedures peculiar to their particular areas of operations. As Commanding Officer, 2d Battalion, Colonel Mahaffey displayed a high level of foresight and organizational ability which proved instrumental in the unit's unprecedented level of accomplishment during a critical period of combat activity. Through his initiative, resourcefulness, adaptability to change and readiness to resort to the expedient, he has materially contributed to the United States mission in the Republic of Vietnam. Lieutenant Colonel Mahaffey's professional competence and outstanding achievements are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit and the United States Army.

Action Date: July 1968 - July 1969

Service: Army

Rank: Lieutenant Colonel

Company: Commanding Officer

Battalion: 2d Battalion

Regiment: 60th Infantry Regiment

Division: 9th Infantry Division

Legion of Merit

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Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, 20 July 1942, takes pleasure in presenting a Third Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Fourth Award of the Legion of Merit to Lieutenant Colonel (Infantry) Fred K. Mahaffey (ASN: 0-72962), United States Army, for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services to the Government of the United States during the period July 1971 to June 1973 while serving in the Office, Coordinator of Army Studies, Office of the Chief of Staff, United States Army. During the first part of his service, he managed a key portion of the Army's study program insuring the development of an integrated study effort responsive to the needs of Army decision-makers. Later, as Coordinator of Army Studies, he served as principal advisor to the Vice Chief of Staff and Assistant Vice Chief of Staff on all matters concerning the Army study program. Colonel Mahaffey conducted a comprehensive analysis of the Army Study System which served as a basis for Army Study Advisory Committee deliberations and led to substantive changes aligning The Army Study System with the Army budget cycle. These changes have facilitated the efficient management of the Army's multi-million dollar study program and provided focus on the priority needs of the Army. Of even greater significance, however, was colonel Mahaffey's successful accomplishment of a number of sensitive special projects of great importance to the Army for the Assistant Vice Chief of Staff and Vice Chief of Staff. Lieutenant Colonel Mahaffey's performance of duty reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Army.

Action Date: July 1971 - June 1973

Service: Army

Rank: Lieutenant Colonel

Distinguished Flying Cross

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Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

(Citation Needed) - SYNOPSIS: Lieutenant Colonel (Infantry) Fred K. Mahaffey (ASN: 0-72962), United States Army, was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight while serving as Battalion Commander, 2d Battalion, 60th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division, in the Republic of Vietnam.

Action Date: Vietnam War

Service: Army

Rank: Lieutenant Colonel

Company: Commanding Officer

Battalion: 2d Battalion

Regiment: 60th Infantry Regiment

Division: 9th Infantry Division

Distinguished Flying Cross

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Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 2, 1926, takes pleasure in presenting a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Second Award of the Distinguished Flying Cross to Lieutenant Colonel (Infantry) Fred K. Mahaffey (ASN: 0-72962), United States Army, for heroism while participating in aerial flight as evidenced by voluntary action above and beyond the call of duty in the Republic of Vietnam. Lieutenant Colonel Mahaffey distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous action on 6 April 1969 while serving as Commanding Officer, 2d Battalion, 60th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division, during a reconnaissance mission in Long An Province. After spotting two enemy soldiers maneuvering against friendly ground forces, Colonel Mahaffey directed his pilot in several low level passes over the area. Disregarding his own safety, he exposed himself to enemy fire to effectively engage the enemy soldiers with his M-16, then landed to recover their weapons and documents. Lieutenant Colonel Mahaffey's outstanding initiative and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the 9th Infantry Division, and the United States Army.

General Orders: Headquarters, 9th Infantry Division, General Orders No. 5103 (April 29, 1969), Amended by G.O. 5792 (May 21, 1969)

Action Date: April 6, 1969

Service: Army

Rank: Lieutenant Colonel

Company: Commanding Officer

Battalion: 2d Battalion

Regiment: 60th Infantry Regiment

Division: 9th Infantry Division