Boyd T. Bashore

NO. 17712  •  7 June 1925 - 17 May 2001

Died in Falls Church,VA
Interred in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA

Boyd Truman Bashore truly was a man for all seasons a soldier, student, author, family man, jovial companion. He enjoyed tennis, golf, handball, skiing, scuba diving, and especially boating. His soldiers and contemporaries from the 2d Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, where he'd commanded their renowned 2d Battalion "Wolfhounds" in Viet Nam, admired LTC Bashore as a "bon vivant, host extraordinaire, tactician, and theoretician," and respected his leadership as he distinguished himself in battle and by his penetrating analysis of those actions.

Born in Washington, DC, the son of a career Army officer, Boyd had happy reminiscences of Maine, Hawaii, and Kentucky. Graduating in 1943 from Manlius High School in Syracuse, NY, he enlisted in the Army, attended Officer Candidate School, and became a member of the 42d "Rainbow' Division. While at Amherst Prep School, he won a presidential appointment to the Academy.

Called "BT” or "Tiger," he soon made himself known. Roommate Ken Moll notes, "Boyd had been a paratrooper second lieutenant before becoming a plebe. He loved to get up on a table and yell 'Geronimo!, then jump off and do that shoulder roll thing. The rest of us cadets were in awe of him."

Ken was startled when Plebe Boyd left the Academy without permission. "He had a problem with a girl in New England and felt it necessary to visit her. As soon as BT got to his destination, he sent a telegram to the Commandant saying he had not deserted ... In a few days, Boyd came back ready to face the music. He walked the area in all types of weather for six months but never complained."

Two months before graduation, BT met Vassar student Judy Campbell of Billings, MT. Judy soon learned of his Plebe year troubles and adds, "That girl's father did not want his daughter to wait four years and marry into the military. Her loss was certainly our gain."

After his initial assignment to the 505th and 508th Regimental Combat Team, they married in September 1951. Boyd and Judy trekked to Ft. Benning and then to Mainz, Germany, where he commanded a company in the 42d Armored Infantry Battalion. Two sons, Brian and Steve, were born there. Boyd and Judy enjoyed many good times in the popular Wiesbaden Air Force Club, singing along as classmate Matt Henrikson played the piano for the group. BT`s roommate, Bolo Brunson, sometimes visited from Belgium.

Returning to Ft. Benning, Boyd commanded a tank company and attended the Advanced Course. Daughter Betsy arrived. Paul Braim recollected, "Boyd has a certain distinction among our group; he had written a story on airborne which was made into an RKO short subject, and also a much praised article, 'Sword of Silk,' about the father of airborne operations, German general Kurt Student."

BT foresaw international communist assaults in Southeast Asia and the need for American assistance. During 1956-58, he was aide to MG Joseph Harper, chief of MAAG Philippines. There, Judy and Boyd enjoyed the friendship of classmate Eddie Ramos, later president of the Philippines, and his wife, Ming. Sloshing through paddies and jungles with Filipino troops, BT developed a model for counter insurgency campaigns. His resultant article, "Dual Strategy for Limited War," appeared in Military Review, May 1960, and was republished in Franklin Osanka’s book, Modern Guerilla Warfare.

BT attended CGSC in 1959, and daughter Laura joined the family. He then joined the MAAG in Saigon to advise Vietnamese airborne forces and train infantry. He helped develop America’s first counter insurgency plan for the Vietnamese. Assigned to the Academy’s history department during 1960-64, BT wrote “Soldiers in Tennis Shoes.” It put a human face on the enemy in Viet Nam, as did his popular elective course, "Revolutionary Warfare." The birth of their youngest son, Charles, completed the family.

In 1964, the family went to Hawaii, where Boyd served with Headquarters, USARPAC, then joined the 25th Division in Viet Nam. Boyd entered combat in Viet Nam in 1966, earning a Legion of Merit, two Bronze Stars, and five Air Medals. Headquarters, 25th Infantry Division, was in a Cu Chi field, the same place used by Vietnamese airborne as a drop zone into which Boyd jumped as an advisor in 1961. The area contained a great network of tunnels and a VC headquarters. BT’s classmate, Andy Rutherford, recalls: "I worked very closely with Boyd in Viet Nam. As the Hau Nghia province advisor, I accompanied Boyd on all his operations in the province. I was mouth agape witnessing him direct the operation, like playing a perfect piece on the piano." Upon his return from Viet Nam, Boyd served with Headquarters, CINCPAC.

Boyd returned in 1967 as a colonel to the Army War College, then to Pentagon duty with Army Research & Development, and later with the Chief of Staff’s office. His expertise was in demand, but he found time to begin writing a comprehensive private manuscript on the Viet Nam War. Though never published, it became a treasure of facts and a strong rebuttal against leftist fictions. Boyd retired in July 1971, receiving a second Legion of Merit. The seven Bashores then boarded their classic 72 foot yacht, Wampeter, for a wonderful six week trip to the Bahamas.

BT subsequently worked as a volunteer with the Counsel on DC Affairs, Chesapeake Bay Yacht Club Association, and Southwest Waterfront Redevelopment. BT joined the office of classmate Jack Murphy, chairman of the Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee, and also worked on the Coast Guard and Maritime Subcommittee, and later with the Office of Coastal Zone Management, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration.

Around 1981, Boyd began to suffer from Binswanger’s Disease, beginning 20 years of advancing debilitation. He endured this rare illness with his trademark patience and good humor. Throughout his distinguished career and adventurous life, he was a fun loving, kind, and wonderful husband and father. Family gatherings still feel his presence. Judy sums it up: "We had it all."

- Judy with classmates