Begin New Search
Refine Last Search
Cemetery Lookup
Add Burial Records
Help with Find A Grave

Find all Plumleys in:
 • Fort Benning Post Cemetery
 • Fort Benning
 • Muscogee County
 • Georgia
 • Find A Grave

Top Contributors
Success Stories
Community Forums
Find A Grave Store

Log In
Basil L. Plumley
Birth: Jan. 1, 1920
Raleigh County
West Virginia, USA
Death: Oct. 10, 2012

Basil L. Plumley (January 1, 1920 - October 10, 2012 was born in Shady Spring, West Virginia, the second son and fifth child of coal miner Clay Plumley (b.1879) and his wife Georgia Morton Plumley (b.1895), both of West Virginian stock.

He is most famous for his actions as a Sergeant-Major of the US Army's 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, at the Battle of Ia Drang (1965). General Hal Moore praised Plumley as an outstanding NCO and leader in the book We Were Soldiers Once...And Young. The Sergeant Major was known affectionately by his soldiers as "Old Iron Jaw".

He enlisted in the US Army on 31 March 1942 as a private. His education on enlistment was 2 years of high school. His civil occupation at the time was listed as semiskilled chauffeur/driver of bus, taxi, truck or tractor. Height and weight is given as 70/154. Plumley is a veteran of World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.

Despite popular belief, Plumley was not a member of the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment during WWII and there is no evidence to suggest this is the case. He was in fact a member of the 320th Glider Field Artillery Battalion, with which he made 4 combat jumps and was awarded the medals to prove it, and confirms this himself during interviews conducted with author Phil Nordyke who has written 4 books relating to the 82nd Airborne Division in WWII. Plumley is also visible on Battalion rosters of the 320th and is mentioned in morning reports from the Battalions records.

It is believed the story of Plumley being a 4 combat jump experienced member of a Parachute Regiment in WWII was fictitiously generated by the writers of the film. He did go on to make one combat jump in Korea with the 187th Airborne Infantry Regiment.

He retired as a Command Sergeant Major on 31 December 1974. After his retirement he worked 15 more years for the Army at Martin Army hospital as a civilian and retired again in 1990.

He was portrayed by Sam Elliott in the film, "We Were Soldiers."

Family links: 
  Henry Clayton Plumley (1882 - 1952)
  Georgia V. Morton Plumley (1895 - 1962)
  Deuice Dillon Plumley (1923 - 2012)
  James H. Plumley (1911 - 1985)*
  Catherine Zula Plumley Gilkerson (1914 - 2006)*
  Minnie Marie Plumley Snead (1916 - 2006)*
  Basil L. Plumley (1920 - 2012)
  Fred Howard Plumley (1924 - 1992)*
*Calculated relationship
Fort Benning Post Cemetery
Fort Benning
Muscogee County
Georgia, USA
Created by: Dr. William McDonald
Record added: Oct 10, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 98620712
Basil L. Plumley
Added by: David C.
Basil L. Plumley
Added by: Kathy Londo Barnes
Basil L. Plumley
Added by: Kathy Londo Barnes
There are 3 more photos not showing...
Click here to view all images...
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.

Sir you deserved the MEDAL OF HONOR!!! From an old Marine Jar Head, Hand Salute and Semper Fi! RIP Hero!
- Larry Muse
 Added: May. 30, 2016

 Added: May. 13, 2016
May you rest in eternal peace and may your devotion to the Nation be ever remembered.
 Added: Mar. 23, 2016
There are 86 more notes not showing...
Click here to view all notes...
This page is sponsored by: Kathy Londo Barnes

Privacy Statement and Terms of Service UPDATED