NO. 17903 • 31 October 1927 – 20 August 1999
Died in San Antonio, TX
Interred in Ft. Sam Houston National Cemetery, San Antonio, TX
TO HAVE KNOWN FALKNER HEARD, JR., is to have been acquainted with a legend. Many people have been privileged to share with him the heritage of his forbearers, the contributions of his life, and the legacy of his posterity- Falkner spent a life in, with, and about, the Army.
Falkner was born in San Antonio, TX, to COL and Mrs. Falkner Heard, pillars of Army and San Antonio life. His uncles, MG Jack Heard and BG Townsend Heard, were legendary Army officers. His family contributed much of the Army's history of the past century in the southwest. Falkner would regale listeners with the story of his grandfather reporting for duty and being informed by the adjutant that he was joining a hard drinking, hard playing outfit where most of the officers had been court-martialed. Queried as to whether he had ever been court-martialed, Falkner's grandfather replied, "Yes, and for murder!" Falkner told the story even better over the years.
There was little doubt Falkner would attend USMA. After a try with the Class of '49, he graduated with the Class of '50. Falkner lived on the edge. He was disciplined and smart enough to have graduated with ease, but his challenges of the system were his fun, and he lived them to the hilt. Who could ever forget the ball of yarn unrolled from under his arm by the frantic efforts of an upperclassman to remove this affront to discipline, and ending up with a small ball of yarn at his feet on the pavement.
It would be an exaggeration to call Falkner academically distinguished, but he applied his creative talents to cheerleading. He distinguished himself on the cadet skeet team and, later, on the U.S. Constabulatory skeet team.
It was a source of wonder just how Falkner, who always wore glasses, was such a crack shot. He must have had some form of built-in human radar, because he seldom missed a living, or artificial, bird on the skeet range or the ranch at Boerne.
After graduation, Falkner spent two years with the 70th Armored Field Artillery Battalion in Fussen and Nuremberg, Germany. After serving as an aide-de-camp to MG Raleigh B. Hendrix, he attended the Artillery Battery Course at Ft. Sill. He left the Army in December 1954 for one year and returned in December 1955 as a member of the staff and faculty at Ft. Bliss. During 1959-60, he served as a battery commander in the 19th Field Artillery Battalion in Korea and, during 1960-63, served on the staff of Headquarters, U.S. Forces Japan. Following CGSC in 1964, he served as a staff officer in the 35th Artillery and on the Army Staff in the Pentagon during 1965-67. Service as an operations officer with G-3, Army, in Viet Nam was followed by command of the 2d Battalion, 77th Field Artillery in Viet Nam. During 1968-70, he was an instructor in the Department and Tactics and Combined Arms at the Field Artillery School. During 1970-73, he was on the NATO staff and, during 1973-77, he served at Ft. Sam Houston as an inspector in the office of the Fifth Army Inspector General.
Returning to active duty following his one-year civilian sojourn, he married Jean Wheeler, joining another distinguished Army family with that of the Heards. He claimed his marriage to Jean was the smartest thing he ever did. Their union was blessed with three children - Falkner III, Victoria, and Richard - and all three graduated from Texas A&M. Falkner and Jean were blessed with eight grandchildren. Falkner III, nicknamed "Tres," currently commands the 76th MP Battalion and is the Provost Marshal at Ft. Bliss, TX. Falkner's sister Amy and two nephews also survive him.
Falkner's service was marked by dedicated professional competence, as he always applied himself to the task at hand. He constantly sought any way or means to make life better for those he served and led. Originality and wit always accompanied his accomplishments.
His best friend and neighbor, Charlie Cheever, stated, "to know Falkner was to be acquainted with mischief." Life was never a dull moment in Falkner's company, but there is an important caveat in that, although he was the personification of mischief, he was never mean, cruel nor tawdry. No one ever was embarrassed by his plots and schemes, and all were amused by his deviltry.
Falkner was epicurean in his tastes. He was a connoisseur of food, art, music, antiques, travel, and architecture. There were few museums he had not visited, and the many treasures he and Jean collected were the envy of many.
Following his retirement for physical disability, he never complained, no matter how discomforting his ailments. His therapy was to travel, and the peregrinations of Falkner and Jean Heard were legendary - Europe, Egypt, Australia, New Zealand, Eastern Europe, Belize, and several cruises, to include rounding Cape Horn.
Falkner Heard had one particularly significant and admirable trait - his loyalty to his legion of friends. Years would pass between meetings with him, but when reunions occurred, it was as if the absence had been only a matter of days, or even hours. He never missed a chance to originate a new plot to raise hell about something, or somewhere, involving everyone in sight.
Falkner will remain in the eyes of his family and friends as the personification of the following excerpt from Wordsworth's description of The Happy Warrior,
"Who is the happy Warrior? Who is he
That every Man in Arms should wish to be?
It is the generous Spirit who, when brought
Among the tasks of real life, hath wrought
Upon the plan that pleased his boyish thought:
Whose high endeavors are an inward light
That makes the path before him always bright:
Who, with a natural instinct to discern
What knowledge can perform, is diligent to learn
Abides by this resolve, and stops not there
But makes his moral being his prime care
Who doomed to go in company with Pain,
And Fear and Bloodshed, miserable train
Turns his necessity to glorious gain...
... And while the mortal mist is gathering
Draws his breath in confidence of Heaven's Applause
This is the Happy Warrior, this is He
That every man in arms should wish to be."
Rest in peace, blithe spirit. You live in the love of family and friends, secure in pleasant memories, and are the legacy of accomplishment in all that you attempted and concluded in life.