The Bayonet

Wednesday, Mar. 26, 2014

Former Secretary of the Army dies

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Former Secretary of the Army Howard "Bo" Callaway, 86, died March 15 in Columbus. A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy in 1949, he served as a platoon leader in Korea and a tactics instructor at Fort Benning.

He left the Army in 1953 to help his father develop and manage Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Ga.

In 1964, Callaway was the first Republican elected to the House of Representatives from Georgia since Reconstruction. From 1973-76, he served as the secretary of the Army under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. In this capacity he helped transition the Army from the draft to an all-volunteer force. In August 2010, Callaway donated his Secretary of the Army flag to the National Infantry Museum. It is the last flag of its kind ever given for personal use to a secretary of the Army.

Today, Callaway's successors may only use their personal flag while in office.

The funeral Mass was celebrated March 19 at Christ the King Catholic Church in Pine Mountain.

Remembrances were given by son Edward Callaway, Norman Augustine, former undersecretary of the Army from 1975-77, and former Congressman from Georgia Newt Gingrich, 58th speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Augustine remembered Callaway for his uncompromising honesty and positive attitude. He told a story about the development of the Black Hawk helicopter as the replacement for the Vietnam War-era Huey helicopter. When the prototype came in 2 inches too large to fit into the Air Force plane that would carry it into combat - Callaway called the four committee chairmen on Capitol Hill (who focused on the military) to inform them about the engineering error.

"He told them 'You can beat us up, you can cancel the program or you can help us,' Bo said. As it turned out his actions solidified support for the undertaking, and today the Black Hawk is a mainstay of our Army's aviation capability," Augustine said.

Retired Col. Ralph Puckett, recipient of two Distinguished Service Crosses for action in both the Korean and Vietnam wars, presented the U.S. flag to the family of Callaway.

Maj. Gen. H. R. McMaster, commanding general of the Maneuver Center of Excellence and Fort Benning, was one of the lectors during the memorial service, reading from the Gospel of John. Soldiers with the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade acted as pallbearers, Soldiers with 316th Cavalry Brigade served as the honor platoon and the firing detail, Soldiers with 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team provided the cannon salute, and the bugler who played Taps was from the Maneuver Center of Excellence Band.

Editor's note: Nicole Randall with Fort Benning TV contributed to this report.

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