Fulton Jr.
Fitzhugh "Fitz" L. Fulton Jr.
Brig Gen John C. "Doc" Bahnsen

Brigadier General Brig Gen John C."Doc" Bahnsen ( - )

John C. “Doc” Bahnsen, Jr.  was an army warrior and air cavalry tactics pioneer. His thirty-year military career included aerial combat missions while in command of the “Bandits” gunship platoon and ground combat missions that included perilous landings and dragging NVA soldiers from hiding in the jungles of the Vietnam. During 2 years in combat, he earned a reputation as a fearless leader and a brilliant strategist who developed tactics later adopted as doctrine. He was ultimately one of America’s most-decorated soldiers in the Vietnam War. Doc was born in Albany, Georgia on November 8, 1934. He entered the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1952 and graduated with a commission as an Infantry Second Lieutenant in 1956. A graduate of the Infantry Officer Basic Course, Airborne School, and Fixed Wing Flight School, Doc’s first assignment as an aviator was to West Germany where he eventually transferred to the Armor branch and commanded a tank platoon. He then attended the Rotary Wing Aviator Course followed by Armor Officer Advanced Course, where he remained as an instructor of armored cavalry and air cavalry tactics before being assigned to Command and General Staff College. During his first tour of duty in Vietnam, he commanded the “Bandits” gunship platoon at Bien Hoa Air Base. While supporting a Marine unit for Operation DOUBLE EAGLE, he was awarded his first of five Silver Star medals. He quickly became the operations officer for the 118th Aviation Company and was subsequently promoted to Major and assigned to the 12th Combat Aviation Group, where he created a “Top Gun” competition to improve helicopter weapons marksmanship. During his second Vietnam tour in 1968, Doc initially an air calvary troop composed of UH-1 and OH-6 helicopters, AH-1 gunships, and an infantry aero rifle platoon that saw over 300 enemy contacts over twelve months. He frequently fought from the air in his UH-1 command and helicopter, but also led operations on the ground. Following command of the Regimental Air Calvary Troop, he was placed in command of 1st Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment “BLACK HORSE.” Remarkably, he was the only Major to command a squadron in the 11th Armored Calvary Regiment during the Vietnam War. Following his tour in Vietnam he was promoted early to Lieutenant Colonel and placed in command of the 1st Tank Battallion, 32nd Armor in Germany. He then attended the Army War College and later served in several staff assignments. Receiving an early promotion to Colonel, he was assigned to Fort Rucker as the first TRADOC Systems Manager for Attack Helicopters followed by an assignment as the Commander of the 1st Aviation Brigade. Upon promotion to Brigadier General, he served as Assistant Division Commander of the 2nd Armored Division followed by Chief of Staff of the Combined Field Army, South Korea. After his tour in Korea, Doc was assigned as Chief of Staff for the III Armored Corps, Fort Hood, Texas. He is the recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross, 5 Silver Stars, 4 Legion of Merits, 3 Distinguished Cross’, 4 Bronze Star Medals, three with V’s for valor, 2 Republic of Vietnam, Two Cross’ of Gallantry, one with silver star and one with bronze star, 2 Purple Hearts, and fifty-one Air Medals (three with “V”s for valor) and several other awards. Retiring in 1986, Doc returned in New Cumberland, West Virginia. He was inducted in to the Army Aviation Hall of Fame in 2007 and was designated a Distinguished Graduate of West Point in 2016. In recognition of his distinguished contributions, valor, and service to our country, Brigadier General John C. “Doc” Bahnsen, Jr. was enshrined into the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame on April 16, 2016.      <o:p></o:p>