Skip to comments.Command Sgt. Maj. Basil Plumley, character in movie "We Were Soldiers," dies at age 92
Posted on 10/10/2012 1:17:58 PM PDT by Gamecock
Command Sgt. Maj. Basil L. Plumley, who served in the Battle of Ia Drang in Vietnam, died today at Columbus Hospice. He was 92.
Plumley of Columbus was also a veteran of World War II and the Korean War during a career that spanned 32 years. After retiring from the Army in 1974, he was employed at Martin Army Community Hospital at Fort Benning for another 15 years.
In Vietnam, he served as the sergeant major of 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment which was commanded by Lt. Gen. Hal Moore. Moore was a lieutenant colonel in the 1965 battle that led to a book co-authored by Moore titled, "We Were Soldiers Once, and Young."
The book became a movie, starring Mel Gibson as Moore. Plumley's role was played by Sam Elliott.
“All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.”
Sgt. Maj. Basil Plumley. An American Hero in my book.
From the movie.
Lt. Colonel Hal Moore: I wonder what was going through Custer's mind when he realized that he'd led his men into a slaughter?
Sergeant Major Basil Plumley: Sir, Custer was a pussy. You ain't.
[Moore and Plumley are looking on at the NVA headquarters]
Sergeant Major Basil Plumley: You want to know how Custer felt? Why don't you ask him?
Lt. Colonel Hal Moore: When Crazy Horse was a baby, he nursed at the breast of every woman in the tribe. The Sioux raised their children that way. Every warrior called every woman in the tribe "Mother". Every older warrior, they called him "Grandfather". Now, the point here is that they fought as a family. Take care of your men. Teach them to take care of each other. 'Cause when this starts... each other is all we're gonna have. (Moore goes aside with new radio operator)
Sergeant Major Basil Plumley: Any of you sons-of-bitches calls me "Grandpa"... I'll kill ya.
Sergeant Major Basil Plumley: Seen the new rifles too, the M-16.
Lt. Colonel Hal Moore: That's supposed to be a pretty good weapon.
Sergeant Major Basil Plumley: Ahh, lotsa plastic. Feels like a BB gun to me. Believe I'm gonna stick with my pistol.
Lt. Colonel Hal Moore: Think we're gonna get close enough to the enemy to use that?
Sergeant Major Basil Plumley: What do you think, sir?
Lt. Colonel Hal Moore: I think you oughta get yourself an M-16.
Sergeant Major Basil Plumley: Sir, if the time comes I need one, there'll be plenty lying on the ground.
[Galloway is on the ground]
Sergeant Major Basil Plumley: You can't take any pictures from down there, sonny.
[Galloway gets up and is handed a rifle]
Joseph Galloway: I'm a non-combatant.
Sergeant Major Basil Plumley: Ain't no such thing today.
A prayer, Moore and his LT.
Lt. Colonel Hal Moore: Our Father in Heaven, before we go into battle, every soldier among us will approach you each in his own way. Our enemies too, according to their own understanding, will ask for protection and for victory. And so, we bow before your infinite wisdom. We offer our prayers as best we can. I pray you watch over the young Jack Geoghegan. That I lead into battle. You use me as your instrument in this awful hell of war to watch over them. Especially if they're men like this one beside me, deserving of a future in your blessing and goodwill. Amen.
2nd Lieutenant Jack Geoghegan: Amen.
Lt. Colonel Hal Moore: Oh, yes, and one more thing, dear Lord, about our enemies, ignore their heathen prayers and help us blow those little bastards straight to Hell. Amen.
One of the best scenes in the movie when Sgt. Maj Plumley states it is a good morning to the young officer after both survived the brutal night.
Well done, Sarmjor. My regards to the boys at Fiddler’s Green.
Soldiers that knew him said that he was sugar coated in the movie, that in real life, he was tougher and meaner.
If you saw the movie, then that is a scary thought.
I never met the CSM, but I was born into an Army family. My dad was an Infantry CSM. Growing up our neighbors were all CSMs and 1SGs.
I have served in the Army for 25 years.
IMHO Sam Elliot did a phenomenal job playing an Infantry CSM.
God bless him, and may he rest in peace. What would we have done without these brave men?
Cool. The man did some and more. Could you answer a question for me? I believe in Ia Drang Valley, there was a Brit who served in the U.S. Army and he also survived. However, he died during 9/11 helping people out of one of the towers. Am I correct in this?
Rest in peace Sgt. Maj. Plumley
This movie is currently available streaming on Netflix. Great movie.
Thank you sir.
Condolences on the loss of the Sgt Maj. We have not, and will not, forget. Thank you for your service, sir.
Best line in the movie.
He was irascible, to say the least.
The flag in my front yard has been lowered to half-staff. Every army needs its officers but without NCOs it wouldn’t move. God bless you, Sgt. Major Plumley. Well done.
Or as he answered in the movie, “What are you, a f’ing weather man?”.
In the movie, when Col. Moore introduces the sergeant to his officers, I was stunned at the recital of the jumps and battles he had taken part in. It almost defies belief. There can’t be anyone else who can claim that resume. What a man!
RIP, Sgt. Plumley. God bless all veterans.
I think you'd be pretty hard pressed to find one Master Sergeant or Colonel who would agree with you on that.
Absolute unpredictability combined with good intentions!
Now that is some scary, hair-brained, sometimes uproarious, s__t!
My favorite joke:
What are the 5 most dangerous things you can hear in the Army?
The Private who says “This is the way we did it in basic.”
The Sergeant who says “Trust me Sir.”
The Lieutenant who says “Based on my experience.”
The Captain who says “I have a great idea!”
The Warrant who says “Hey! Watch what happens when I do this!”
None of those are jokes!
In ‘Nam I worked for a CWO3 and I swear that man had the best job in the Army. He was a veteran of WWII, Korea, and two tours in Vietnam. He had worked his way up to E-8, then got his warrant and had made it almost to the top there. Great guy - treated me like I was family.
Well, you have a point.
I worked for a guy who was a SFC (E-7). He went to PA school, became a "Doc" and made it to CW3. Then in 1991 they commisioned the PAs and he became a Captain overnight. He retired as a Major back in 1998ish. He was hired back as a GS12 and retired from the Civil Service in 2011. Passed away two months later.
He never lost his crusty "Chief's" attitude, but he had a heart of pure gold.
RIP Charlie. When I was a young Captain you taught me a lot.
My country lost a soldier today, a good man, an honorable man. He had seen much horrors but never lost his humanity. He lived a long life, was loved and was loved. He had earned the honor and esteem of his friends and countryman. I don’t believe a man can do much better than that. I grieve for his loss and his family’s sorrow but I feel joy for him, his values and how he lived his life. Go with your head held high, Command Sergeant Major, to the Mansions of the Lord.