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Thread: A Man Among Men – Major Richard Meadows

  1. #1
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    A Man Among Men – Major Richard Meadows

    A Man Among Men – Major Richard Meadows

    By Larry Vickers



    I just finished reading ‘The Quiet Professional’ by Alan Hoe; the only biography that exists of Major Richard ‘Dick’ Meadows. It allowed me to complete the puzzle and connect the dots on what I consider to be the most significant individual in Tier One US Special Operations history – Dick Meadows is a legend in the US Army SOF community but his contributions to Tier One SOF have never, in my opinion, been given the credit they deserve.

    It all started with a discussion I had with my good friend Ken Hackathorn many years ago after I successfully completed Delta Force Selection and Assessment and began a 15 year career in that Unit. Ken made the assertion that Dick Meadows had a lot more to do with forming Delta than he was publicly given credit for. Of course I had read Charlie Beckwith’s book ‘The Delta Force’ and it is well known that Col Beckwith was not only the first commander but also ramrodded the concept of Delta to the powers that be and turned it into a reality. But Unit commanders are overseers, captains of the ship if you will, they are not individuals who get into the weeds and get dirty ‘forming’ a new capability; those situations require subject matter experts and experienced NCO’s who are true masters of their trade and can sort thru the task at hand and bring a new capability to life. These individuals are mission focused, motivated, confident, and are true leaders that inspire confidence up and down the chain of command; in other words they are like Dick Meadows.

    Dick Meadows entered the Army at the age of 15 in some degree to escape his childhood from a broken home, an abusive alcoholic father, and the hopelessness of a West Virginia coal mining town. He viewed the Army as the family he never really had and to overcome what he perceived to be the handicap of a 9th grade education, he committed himself to be the absolute best soldier he possibly could; a true master at his chosen profession. At this he succeeded in a manner that will likely never be rivaled- a brief list of his accomplishments is staggering;

    The youngest master sergeant of the Korean War at the age of 20

    The first enlisted US Army SF exchange soldier with the British 22 SAS; after successful completion of their selection program ( which he volunteered for ) he was made troop sergeant of an operational troop within a Sabre Squadron ( a honor of unbelievable magnitude since he was an American attached to the British Army )

    One of the first two HALO jumpmaster/instructors in the US Army

    As a Recon Team leader in MACV-SOG (RT Ohio ) his team captured 13 POW’s ( more than any other team leader ) and provided proof of the Ho Chi Minh trail and NVA involvement in the war in South Vietnam with photographic, video , and POW proof. This amongst other accomplishments got him a battlefield commission to Captain, the first of the Vietnam War. He was widely considered the One-Zero ( Recon Team Leader ) that set the standard for the rest to follow; this belief punctuated by having never lost a man under his command.




    Selected as Assault Team Leader for the Son Tay Raid; Meadows organized, trained the assaulters and refined the assault plan on what has been widely considered as the first ‘Delta’ mission due to the impact the detailed planning and execution had on the Unit that followed – the template from that historic raid still being used to this day

    Chosen as a special civilian ‘advisor’ to Col Beckwith, Meadows helped organize, select, refine, develop, and train future Delta Force operators – his ‘fingerprints’ can be seen in every aspect of that organization today from the extremely demanding selection and assessment course, operator training course, detailed mission planning, and professional standards and attention to detail that Delta is famous for.

    Dick Meadows led an advance team into Tehran when Delta needed trusted personnel on the ground during final planning and immediately before launch of Operation Rice Bowl – Meadows and his team performed close target reconnaissance, procured assault force transportation, and secured a daytime hide site for the assaulters immediately before the assault was to be conducted.

    Beyond these accomplishments Meadows helped pioneer small, but key pieces of equipment for SOF use such as the ‘Singlepoint’ sight used by Son Tay raiders for night time target engagements. This concept eventually led to red dot sights such as Aimpoints and Eotechs which are standard issue for US Special Operations and, in my opinion, should be considered the greatest combat target engagement enhancement in small arms history.

    My gut feeling about the importance of Major Meadows in Delta Force history was solidified when I had the good fortune of meeting a former Unit member at the 2013 SHOT show in Las Vegas. Chuck C. was an individual I had heard of but never met until I had the honor of doing so in January of 2013. Chuck C. was a graduate of Operator Training Course #4 ( I graduated OTC #23 in June of 1989) . I asked Chuck about Dick Meadows and my buddy Ken’s theory of his involvement in the early days of Delta. He confirmed that Meadows was involved in every aspect of the Unit early on and even though he was a civilian, and retired from active duty, his knowledge and experience left an impression on all those that formed the fledgling Delta Force.

    Major Meadows had numerous awards including a Distinguished Service Cross but it has been said if the true scope of his contributions to our country were known he would have received the Medal of Honor. I wholeheartedly agree.




    Major Richard ‘Dick’ Meadows is one of only a few statues, that I am aware of, located on Ft. Bragg, NC. Another significant one is of Col Bull Simons, leader of the Son Tay raid, and former friend and commander of Meadows, who hand picked him for the Raid. But in my estimation the Meadows statue is the most significant as it represents an individual who set the standard that all true SOF warriors aspire to; the consummate Quiet Professional.

    Larry Vickers
    Vickers Tactical Inc.
    Host of TacTV
    Paul A. Hotaling
    Alias Training & Security Services, LLC
    Paul@aliastraining.com
    757-215-1959 (Mon-Fri 8AM-5PM)
    757-985-9586 (After Hours)
    www.aliastraining.com


  2. #2
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    Thank You Sir for this post...I shall purchase this book.

    These people are true Heroes who should not be forgotten and pressed into a "role model" type rather than the BS Hollywood type or Pro Athletes...

    Anyways, thank you again.
    Sancte Michael Archangele, defende nos in proelio...Amen


    "Don't get on the boat if you're not ready to go all the way"

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    I have read this book, and enjoyed it a great deal. America is truly a blessed nation, due to men such as this.

    My daughter is a Soldier, and this is one of the books I encouraged her to read, prior to enlisting. I wanted her to understand the values of the organization she was joining. I also wanted her to understand the value of determination and hard work.

    Mr Vickers, thanks for taking the time to write that. Mr Hotaling, thank you for posting it.

  4. #4
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    Larry,

    Thanks for posting this. I have read a little about him but this book looks like it pieces everything together. I am going to put it on my reading list.



    Owner/Instructor at Semper Paratus Arms

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    Outstanding review and endorsement. My neighbor, and mentor, when I was growing up was retired SF and had known Dick Meadows pretty well. Almost every conversation referenced him in some way but he would never elaborate. Now I know why.

  6. #6
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    Absolutely the next book on my reading list. Thanks for the insight Larry.
    OIF/OEF vet (Ramadi/Hit & Ghazni)
    Former Army infantry squad leader
    NRA Endowment Life Member
    NR-EMT

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    Going strong

    Half-way through this book right now and it is fascinating how BA Major Meadows was. Thoroughly enjoying it.

    S/F

    29
    "Ruck you Pat rogers, we no need push/purr!!!"

    "Nazi lube for a Nazi gun" - LAV

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    Mr. Vickers,


    I appreciate the heads up on this book now if Amazon would hurry up and ship I'd be all set.
    “Answer The Bell...” J.W.

  9. #9
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    I read this on Soldier Systems a few days ago. I look forward to getting around to buying the book.

  10. #10
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    Just put this book on hold at the local library as they had a copy. Looking forward to reading it. Thanks for the post LAV !

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