Former Lt. General Jamie Tackaberry who started his career in World War II and then served in Korea and Vietnam before commanding the 82nd Airborne Division and later the 18th ABN Corps and Fort Bragg has passed away. He was 92.
Tackaberry at the time of his retirement was one of the Army’s most decorated officers with three Distinguished Service Crosses, five Silver Stars, a Distinguished Flying Cross and a Soldier’s Medal, among many other awards and decorations.
Instead of medals and war-time heroics, Brig. Gen. Tackaberry said his father’s stories focused on soldiers, whom he treated much the same way he treated his own family.
“He loved soldiers, and he loved his children,” Brig. Gen. Tackaberry said. “He gave both a lot of latitude and a lot of responsibility, and he expected you to get the job done.”
“He was a soldier’s soldier,” his son added.
A September 1979 copy of The Fayetteville Times called Lt. Gen. Tackaberry a “grunt’s angel.”
“That’s what they call a leader who goes out of his way to see his troops have enough beans and bullets to carry them through the long trek and the fight to follow,” the author of the profile wrote.
“We remember and honor the service, sacrifice, leadership and tremendous example of Lt. Gen. Thomas Tackaberry,” said Maj. Gen. Paul J. LaCamera, deputy commanding general of the 18th Airborne Corps and acting senior commander of Fort Bragg. “We’ll keep his family in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. Though he is no longer with us, his legacy is forever enshrined in the history of the 82nd Airborne Division, 18th Airborne Corps and our great Army.”
A spokesman for the 82nd Airborne Division said the All Americans — who are celebrating the historic unit’s 100th anniversary this year — were saddened by the loss of their former commander.
The spokesman, Lt. Col. Joseph Buccino, said the general “has a permanent place in the legacy of America’s Guard of Honor.”
Tackaberry played a key role in getting the maroon beret authorized for the US’ airborne troops. Prior to the 1970s 82nd troopers wore the unauthorized beret around Ft. Bragg but the Army cracked down on its use in the late 1970s.
Tackaberry was a big part of a movement to get it authorized in 1980. So all members both past and present of the All-American Division owe a tip of the beret to Tackaberry who will be buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery later this month.
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Photo courtesy of US Army