“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Fort Bragg in Cumberland County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)

Meadows Memorial Parade Field

In Memory of Major Richard J. Meadows

— 16 June 1931 – 29 July 1995 —

Meadows Memorial Parade Field Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Robert Cole, May 27, 2010
1. Meadows Memorial Parade Field Marker
Inscription.  During his long and illustrious career, Major Meadows embodied all of those qualities that mark the unique individuals serving in Special Operations Forces. Major Meadows’ extraordinary achievements throughout his dedicated service with Army Special Forces and Ranger units contributed to our nation’s security for nearly four decades. His service included combat action in the Korean War, clandestine operations in Laos, exchange duty and troop command with the British 22nd Special Air Service, extensive operations behind enemy lines during the Vietnam War, ground assault commander during the Son Tay Raid, Ranger training instructor, covert operator in support of Operation Eagle Claw in Iran, and as a key member of elite special mission units. Few Soldiers have been as willing to put themselves in harm’s way for their fellow countrymen. Major Meadows repeatedly answered our country’s call and always took on the most sensitive assignments. For his exceptional service to the nation, Major Meadows was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star (1 OLC), Legion of Merit, Bronze Star for Valor, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, Joint Service
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Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal (2 OLC), and the Presidential Citizen’s Medal for Distinguished Service. This statue and adjacent parade field were dedicated in Major Meadows’ memory on 6 June 1997.
Erected 1997.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: War, KoreanWar, Vietnam. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #42 William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton series list. A significant historical date for this entry is June 6, 1997.
Location. 35° 6.582′ N, 79° 0.104′ W. Marker is in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in Cumberland County. Marker can be reached from Desert Storm Drive, 0.1 miles west of Yadkin Road & Reilly Street intersection when traveling east. On the grounds of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command, near northeast corner of visitors parking lot and the far east side of the memorial parade field. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2929 Desert Storm Drive, Fort Bragg NC 28310, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. USASOC Memorial Wall (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); T-8 90mm (approx. 1.8 miles away); M-56 Scorpion Self-Propelled Antitank Gun (approx. 1.8 miles away); Fairchild C-119 (approx. 1.8 miles away); M-551A1 Sheridan Armored Reconnaissance/Airborne Assault Vehicle
Meadows Memorial Parade Field image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Robert Cole, May 27, 2010
2. Meadows Memorial Parade Field
Meadows statue and ground marker seen in the foregound. U.S. Army Special Operations Command building in the distance.
(approx. 1.8 miles away); UH-1A Iroquois Utility Helicopter (approx. 1.8 miles away); 328th Infantry Rock (approx. 1.8 miles away); 307th Airborne Engineer Battalion (approx. 1.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Fort Bragg.
Regarding Meadows Memorial Parade Field. Meadows Memorial Parade Field is named in honor and in memory of Major Richard J. Meadows (June 16, 1931 – July 29, 1995) who was a U.S. Army Special Forces officer who saw combat in U.S. wars from Korea to the Iran Hostage Rescue mission in 1980. He was a pivotal player in the creation of the modern U.S. Army Special Forces.

Meadows enlisted in the Army at age 15. He first saw combat in Korea and was, by age 19, the youngest Master Sergeant in the Army at that time. In 1953, he entered the U.S. Army Special Forces and remained active in them or the Rangers until his retirement in 1977. His participation in the Iran Hostage Rescue mission came after his official retirement.

In 1960, Meadows was one of the first U.S. Army officers to participate in an exchange program with the British Special Air Service special forces unit. Meadows completed SAS training,
Meadows Statue image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Robert Cole, May 27, 2010
3. Meadows Statue
The statue was funded by H. Ross Perot, who described Meadows as "a James Bond in real life." It was sculpted by Lawrence M. Ludtke of Houston.
was an acting troop leader for 12 months, and participated in a field combat operation with his unit. It is widely believed that Meadows' SAS experience helped form the basis for future US Army special forces selection, training, and organizational structures.

While assigned to the 8th Special Forces Group in Panama, MSgt. Meadows volunteered for a tour in Vietnam. At the end of his first tour, serving in the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam - Studies and Observations Group, Meadows received a direct commission as a captain on April 14, 1967.

On Nov 21, 1970 Capt. Meadows was the team leader for the initial assault team in the Son Tay prison camp raid (see Operation Ivory Coast). This 14-man team (plus pilots), code-named Blueboy, intentionally crash-landed an HH-3 helicopter right in the middle of the prison camp to achieve maximum surprise. One team member was injured in the landing (broken ankle). The remaining team members executed their mission without further casualties. However, much to Meadows' disappointment, the prison camp had moved all its captives weeks earlier.

In the mid-1970s, Meadows was a key figure in the founding of the US Delta Force special operations and hostage rescue force.

Major Meadows retired in 1977.

In 1980, Major Meadows returned to service as a special consultant and performed a covert reconnaissance
Major Richard J. Meadows image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Unknown
4. Major Richard J. Meadows
of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran prior to and during Operation Eagle Claw, better known as the Iran Hostage Rescue mission. That mission ended in a major accident at a ground refueling point in the Iran desert, and was aborted. Documents found at the crash site compromised both the mission and Meadows' cover in Iran. Under cover as a foreign businessman, Meadows escaped Iran aboard a commercial flight.

In 1995, Meadows was diagnosed and died of Leukemia. It is contended by many in the Special Forces community that, had the contents of Meadows' military record been disclosed, he would have earned the Medal of Honor instantly. However, the majority of Meadows' black-ops in Vietnam working with the CIA's Special Activities Division, remain undisclosed.

His military awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Cross, two Silver Stars, Bronze Star with Valor Device, Air Medal, Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, three Army Commendation Medals, Combat Infantryman Badge, Master Parachutist badge, Glider Badge, Ranger Tab, Scuba Badge, and numerous foreign awards.

Just before his death, in July, 1995, Meadows was told he was to be presented with the Presidential Citizens Medal by President Clinton.
Also see . . .  Wikipedia: Richard J. Meadows. (Submitted on June 3, 2010, by Cleo Robertson of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.)
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Credits. This page was last revised on November 28, 2019. It was originally submitted on June 2, 2010, by Cleo Robertson of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. This page has been viewed 3,874 times since then and 26 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on June 2, 2010, by Cleo Robertson of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.   4. submitted on June 3, 2010, by Cleo Robertson of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.

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Apr. 21, 2024