Vietnam vet Plumley dies; war story became movie

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COLUMBUS, Ga. (AP) – Command Sgt. Maj. Basil Plumley, a retired veteran whose unit’s actions in Vietnam were turned into a book and then the movie, “We Were Soldiers,” has died. He was 92.

Plumley’s daughter, Debbie Kimble, says her father died around 4 a.m. on Wednesday at Columbus Hospice. She says a couple weeks ago he was diagnosed with colon cancer.

Plumley served in World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam. He was the sergeant major of the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment in Vietnam. The actions of the unit in the Battle of la Drang in 1965 were the basis of the book, “We Were Soldiers Once…And Young,” by Lt. Gen. Hal Moore and Joseph Galloway.

The book was turned into the 2002 movie, “We Were Soldiers,” starring Mel Gibson. Actor Sam Elliott portrayed Plumley.

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