Legendary Soldier Joined-Up When He Was Only 14

David Hackworth

The last thing on most 14-year-olds minds is joining the military. However, David Hackworth claimed he was older to become a Merchant Marine during World War II.

Hackworth, “Hack” for short, went out for adventure, but the Merchant Marine’s wasn’t cutting it. So he once again pretended he was older and enlisted in the U.S. Army, where he joined the 88th Infantry Division in Trieste.

Korean War

He then volunteered to go to Korea, where he was promoted to Sergeant. In Korea, Hackworth built a solid reputation for himself and was given many Silver Stars and Purple Hearts for his service.

While in Korea, he worked with the 8th Ranger Company, the 25th Recon Company, and the 27th Wolfhound Raiders. He was known for his combat style of going in head first with aggressive attacks. He also tended to ignore his wounds and keep fighting, even when the odds seemed against them.

In 1951, Hackworth was actually 19 and earned a Purple Heart and a Silver Star for his leadership in Korea. His fighting style led to another promotion to second lieutenant. He was also presented with the opportunity to create the Wolfhound Raiders.

Once he received his promotion, he continued with his same battle style, including volunteering for dicey missions and patrols. He earned two more Silver Stars and two more Purple Hearts.

He was so devoted to the battle instead of following an order to evacuate for wound care. He remained to ensure all his men were picked up. He became the youngest captain in the Army at 20-years-old.

Vietnam War

He voluntarily remained in Korea with the 40th Infantry Division. He got his bachelor’s degree while there was peace but soon went to Vietnam as the Battalion Executive Officer and Battalion Commander.

Now Major Hackworth led the Tiger Force, earning two Silver Stars and a Distinguished Service Cross. He was then the youngest to be promoted to lieutenant colonel.

Hackworth was wounded five times in Vietnam and received eight Purple Hearts. He became an advisor to the South Vietnamese Army. But, he disagreed with how Vietnam was going and thought the ARVN were corrupt and incompetent.

In 1971, he moved up to Colonel and criticized the U.S. commanders, and stated that the troops should withdraw, ending his 26-year career.

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