MAJOR GENERAL (RET) MICHAEL D. HEALY
Michael D. Healy was born June 13, 1926, in Chicago, IL, the oldest of three sons of an Irish cop who later retired as a Police Lieutenant. In 1945, at 19, he enlisted in the Army. He graduated from Infantry OCS, Ft. Benning in 1946 and is in the OCS Hall of Fame.
As a young Lieutenant after World War II, he served in troop assignments in the 1st Cavalry Division and the Army of Occupation in Japan. He completed Parachute Training in Japan. In Japan, he met the lovely daughter of a US prosecutor at the Japan War Trials. In 1949, he married Jackie, whose support and love have been significant factors in his military success.
At the outbreak of the Korean War, he joined the newly-formed Airborne Ranger Companies. He was a platoon leader and company commander with the 4th Ranger Company which conducted behind-the-lines special operations. His company was later attached to the 187th Airborne Infantry Regiment and made the parachute assault on Munsan-Ni, Korea.
With the 11th Airborne Division, Ft. Campbell, KY, he was a company commander and staff officer before completing the Infantry Officers Associate Course. Captain Healy then was assigned to the newly-formed 77th Special Forces Group, Ft Bragg, NC, in 1953. He was an A Team Commander and Operations Officer with the Group, and an Instructor at the Special Forces Warfare Officers School.
He was one of a few select Army officers to attend the USMC Officers Advanced School, Quantico, VA, in 1955-56. Then he was assigned as A Team Commander and Ops Officer, 10th SF Group in Europe. After Command & General Staff College, Major Healy was Chief, Special Warfare Ops and Foreign Intelligence, HQ, DA.
In July 1963, Major Healy was selected for the sensitive position as Operations Officer and Senior Advisor to the Vietnamese Special Forces, during the time when there were only a few Americans in that country. He subsequently commanded the first mobile guerilla battalion (Mike Force) with US Army Special Forces.
In August 1964, LTC Healy assumed command of the 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment (“Geronimo”), 101st Airborne Division. After almost two years commanding the 1/501st, he was selected for the Army War College. However, he elected to lead his Geronimo Battalion to Vietnam in June 1966. The 1/501st was re-designated as 4th Battalion, 503d Parachute Infantry Regiment, 173d Airborne Bde (Sep).
In February 1967, after 30 months of consecutive battalion command, he was selected to serve as Executive Officer and Special Assistant to the Deputy US Ambassador during the formation and initial operation of the Office of Civil Operations in Vietnam.
After the Army War College, Colonel Healy was Deputy Commander, Special Warfare Agency and Institute for Strategic and Stability Ops, Combat Development Command.
He then returned to RVN for his third tour, as Commander of Special Troops and Assistant Chief of Staff, G1, XXIV Corps. In August 1969, he assumed command of the 1st Brigade, 9th Infantry Division in the Mekong Delta. Three weeks after his brigade deployed back to Hawaii, he was recalled by General Creighton Abrams to command the 5th Special Forces Group in Vietnam. After almost 20 months in command, he returned to the US with that unit in March 1971, earning the Distinguished Service Medal.
Colonel Healy was then assigned as Chief, Pacific Division and Deputy Director, Operations Directorate, HQ DA. Brigadier General Healy’s next assignment was Assistant Division Commander, 82d Airborne Division, Ft. Bragg, NC.
After 8 months at Ft. Bragg, he was again requested by General Abrams to return to Vietnam as Deputy Commanding General 3rd Regional Assistance Command. In June 1972, he became Commanding General, 2d Regional Assistance Command. He remained in command until all US combat forces were ordered out of Vietnam. For this service, he was again awarded the Distinguished Service Medal. An interesting fact is that he was one of the early Americans in Vietnam in 1963, and almost 10 years later, commanded a major portion of US fighting forces at the end of US armed involvement in RVN.
General Healy assumed command of the John F Kennedy Center and Institute for Military Assistance in 1973. He was promoted to Major General and remained in command until October 1975. His last overseas assignment was as Chief of Staff, Combined Military Planning Staff, CENTO, in Turkey.
General Healy’s final assignment was Commander, US Army Readiness and Mobilization Region V, Ft. Sheridan, IL, where he had enlisted as a private 35 years before. He remained in command until his retirement on 28 Feb 1981.
General Healy's numerous awards include: Distinguished Service Medal (3 awards); Silver Star (2 awards); Legion of Merit (3 awards); Distinguished Flying Cross; Bronze Star Medal w/V (6 awards); Air Medal w/V (4 awards); Army Commendation Medal (3 awards); Navy Commendation Medal w/V; Purple Heart Medal (2 awards); Good Conduct Medal; many foreign awards; and numerous service medals and citations.
He holds a Master Parachutist Badge with combat jump star; Combat Infantryman’s Badge w/star; Diver's Badge; and Army General Staff Badge. He has been awarded Parachutist Badges from six different countries.
Of General Healy’s 35 years of military service, he spent 5 and ˝ tours in Vietnam. He was in command assignments for almost 28 years, and on jump status for 27 years.
General and Mrs. Healy live in Jacksonville, FL. They are the proud parents of six sons and several grandchildren. His youngest grandson recently completed Basic Training at Ft Jackson, SC.