NO. 17772 • 26 Jun 1928 - 12 Nov 1998
Died in Hobe Sound, FL
Interned in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA
David Sutton Meredith III was born and grew up deep in east Texas. He had his first taste of life as a soldier in high school, attending Kemper Military School in Boonville, MO. He earned his diploma and left with a love of military life that never waned for the rest of his days. He was a soldier's soldier.
Dave entered the Academy in 1946 to face the joys of Beast Barracks but took plebe year in stride, breezing through with a minimum of demerits - four years of military high school prepared him well for the rigorous discipline and the other pleasures of the 4th estate. Dave assumed a laid-back attitude regarding academics and neither excelled nor struggled. One course, however, fired his enthusiasm - Military History. Always an avid student of the American Civil War, he devoured everything he could find written on his favorite subject.
After graduation, Dave was commissioned Infantry and joined the 82d Airborne at Ft. Bragg. There he met and married, on 10 Feb 1951, the love of his life, a local belle, Anne Byrd MacArthur. Dave found himself Korea-bound in early 1952 for a tour with the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team. There he earned his first Combat Infantryman Badge, as well as a Bronze Star. Anne Byrd joined Dave in Japan, and they had a wonderful time traveling and learning about Japanese culture, which fascinated them.
For the next few years, Dave had a number of stateside airborne assignments, serving in the 504th Airborne Infantry Regiment and with Headquarters, XVIIIth Airborne Corps, before being assigned as a Reserve Officer Training Corps instructor at Dayton University. After ROTC, he attended Command and General Staff College.
Next came one of his toughest assignments, the Naval Intelligence School in Washington, DC, where he was given the formidable task of mastering German. Not a linguist by nature, his classmates could detect the toll taken on his usually sunny disposition by his intense study of German. Dave finally mastered the language well enough to give lectures in German on counter-insurgency, teaching at the NATO school at Oberammergau, the familys favorite assignment. Next, Dave became an exchange officer with a German unit, learning the art of mountain warfare in the cold, clear air of the German mountains.
After Germany, Dave earned an MBA from the University of Alabama, in preparation for a stay in the Pentagon. There, he prepared material used by his bosses to testify before Congressional committees to justify financing the development of new weapons systems for the Army and earned a Commendation Medal.
In 1968, Dave was posted to Viet Nam, initially as a brigade executive officer, later as a battalion commander in the 27th Regiment, 25th Infantry Division. Dave caught a round in his right leg, which shattered several bones and came to rest in his thigh, where it remained for the rest of his life. He was hit while defending Fire Support Base Mahon, constructed by Dave's battalion, at Cu Chi. The firebase had come under mounting pressure from a large enemy force for several days, culminating in a massive night assault that penetrated the base defenses. Although Dave was wounded while
leading his troops in the firefight, they repelled the attackers, saving the firebase. The citation for his Silver Star stated, "With complete disregard for his own safety, Colonel Meredith exposed himself to the deadly hail ofenemy fire directed at him as he personally led the counter attack against the insurgents." His wound dictated a return to the United States with his well-deserved Silver Star, a Legion of Merit, two Air Medals, a second Combat Infantryman Badge, and a Purple Heart.
After a year in the Pentagon, Dave attended the Army War College, then returned to Germany, to the delight of the Meredith family. Dave's daughter recalls her father, ever conscious of his obligation to care for his troops, relieving the sentry at the Post gate on Christmas Eve, taking the sentrys place so the soldier could enjoy the holiday. Dave's final duty assignment was at Ft. Meade, where he served as Deputy Post Commander before retiring in 1980.
Anne Byrd and Dave chose Hobe Sound, FL, for their retirement home, selecting a house on a canal so Dave could pursue his interest in sailing. He attended a school to learn seamanship and celestial navigation but soon found that Anne Byrd did not share his love of matters nautical. Because they liked doing things together, Dave did not find much use for the handsome sailboat that sat moored to the dock behind their house.
Ever the lover of history, Dave discovered a former coast guard facility in nearby Jupiter that had been taken over by the Navy during VvViII (to play a vital role in combating German depredation of U.S. shipping). The Navy operated a listening post that gathered naval intelligence by monitoring German radio communications. Little was known about this activity, but after some arm twisting, Dave persuaded the Navy to provide him with the material, much still classified, upon which he based his book, S
py Station Jupiter: A History ofthe US. NavalSupplementag Radio Stationjupiter, Flo?ida. When not reading or writing history, Dave served as treasurer of the Florida chapter of the "Rakkasans," veterans of his old Korean outfit, and participated in numerous Veterans of Foreign Wars aflairs. Dave, his sense of duty alive and well, never stopped contributing.
No memorial to Dave Meredith would be complete without a few words about the warm generosity that was so much a part of his character. He was generous to a fault, as was Anne Byrd, and the hospitality they lavished upon their friends had no peer. Many of us will always cherish the memory of their company and the good times they invariably provided to those fortunate enough to have been their friends.
- By his daughter Leland Livingston, and his classmate, Dick Slay