Vietnam vet Plumley dies; war story became movie

AP News
Posted: Oct 10, 2012 4:47 PM
Vietnam vet Plumley dies; war story became movie

COLUMBUS, Ga. (AP) — Command Sgt. Maj. Basil Plumley, a retired veteran whose book about his life was turned into the Mel Gibson movie, "We Were Soldiers," has died. He was 92.

Plumley's daughter, Debbie Kimble, says he died around 4 a.m. on Wednesday at Columbus Hospice. She says a couple weeks ago he was diagnosed with colon cancer, but she didn't know any other details.

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, and Young."

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