Colonel Jack L. Treadwell

Jack Lemaster Treadwell

Colonel, Commander
11th Light Infantry Brigade
Vietnam 1969-1970

The following article was published in The Leader issue for February 15, 1974 and is used as a biographical source for Colonel Treadwell on this website.

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Treadwell to retire Feb. 27 ending distinguished career

After more than 33 years service, Colonel Jack L. Treadwell will retire Wednesday, Feb. 27, in retirement ceremonies to be held at the Ft. Jackson Officer's Open Mess at 10:30 a.m.

Major General William H. Blakefield, commander, Readiness Region II, will present Col. Treadwell with the Legion of Merit, third Oak Leaf Cluster for exceptional meritorious conduct from July 1972 through February 1974, while assigned as the Senior Army Advisor, 120th Army Command, U.S. Army Readiness Region III.  Col. Treadwell will also be presented a Certificate of Appreciation from the Chief of Staff, U. A. Army.

Col. Treadwell, holder of more medals than anyone in the Armed Forces, including the Medal of Honor, was born in Ashland, Ala., March 30, 1919.  He graduated from Snyder, Oklahoma High School in 1937 and attended Southwestern State College, Weatherford, Okla. in 1937 and 1938.  He is a graduate of the University of Omaha, Nebraska.

Believed to be the nation's most highly decorated man in the Armed Forces, he was cited for the Medal of Honor near Nieder Wurzbach, Germany, March 18, 1945, while serving as commander of Fox Company, 180th Infantry, 45th Division.

In spite of concentrated enemy fire, he went forward alone, armed with the submachine gun and grenades, to clear the way for his pinned-down company.  Never slackening his attack, he singlehandedly captured six pillboxes and 18 German prisoners -- paving the way for his battalion to start a major breakthrough of the Siegfried Line.

Col. Treadwell, in addition to the Medal of Honor, has received the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, three awards of the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Soldiers' Medal, Bronze Star with "V" device fo valor and two Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Medal with 12 Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Commendation Medal, Purple Heart with three Oak Leaf Clusters, two awards of the Combat Infantryman Badge and the Senior Parachutist Badge.

Col. Treadwell has also been awarded the French Croix de Guerre with Gold Star, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Gold Star.

In June 1970, he was presented the Oklahoma Distinguished Service Cross in recognition of extraordinary heroism involving great personal danger and risk of life in the line of military duty and for outstanding service to the Oklahoma Army National Guard during the period 1941-70.  The presentation of the state's highest decoration for extraordinary heroism was made by then Governor Dewey Bartlett.

During combat in WW II Col. Treadwell received eight campaign ribbons.  They represent Sicily, Salerno, Naples, Foggia, Rome, Arno, Southern France, Rhineland Central European, and Alsace Alsace campaign.  During the fighting at Anzio he received a battlefield commission as second lieutenant.  He rose from private to captain during WW II.

Col. Treadwell also participated in three campaigns in Vietnam:  the Vietnam Counteroffensive Phase 5, Vietnam Counteroffensive Phase 6 and the Tet 1969 Counteroffensive. During the campaigns in Vietnam he was Chief of Staff of the Americal Division and later commanded the 11th Infantry Brigade.

After visiting relatives in Synder, Lawton, and Duncan, Okla., Col. Treadwell and his wife, the former Maxine Johnson of Mooresville, Ind., hope to settle in Ardmore-Ada, Okla. area, where they plan to raise horses.

The Treadwell's have three daughters:  Mrs. John L. Carson whose husband is a lieutenant in the Army and stationed at Ft. Beening, Ga.; Mrs. John P. Floir whose husband is also a lieutenant in the Army and stationed at Ft. Sill, Okla.; and Tracee Ann who is presently attending the University of South Carolina but plans to transfer to Oklahoma State University.

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Colonel Jack L. Treadwell died on December 12, 1977 from open-heart, bypass surgery.  If you have a remembrance of him that you would like to share, please visit his remembrances page and email the webmaster. A picture of his gravesite is located at the Home of Heroes Web site.

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