Most young Georgians have never heard of Bo Callaway, a gentleman from Georgia.
He died this last month. When I met him he was the Secretary of the Army and I was a young captain.
I was running a live fire tank range in an old German army camp and Callaway flew in to tour combat ready units on the East/West line. We had been using the Sheridan light tanks for more than a year and I had been very active in complaining about it. It was a terrible design and every armor guy knew it.
I had resigned my regular commission and was marking time for exit papers to be processed and my squadron commander brought Callaway to my range to make sure he heard about the problems of the Sheridan from an active line officer.
Bo Callaway came over and I brought my men to attention on the tank line, saluted and waited.
My boss said: "Mr. Secretary this captain can tell you all you need to know about the Sheridan."
Callaway said that he had heard that I was critical of this new weapons system. I looked over at my commander who said: "Go ahead and tell him."
I said something like: "You need to hang a bunch of generals that would let something like this get issued. If we have to fight with it, a lot of young boys are going to get needlessly killed."
Callaway listened carefully to my long list of design problems and interviewed several of my men. He then left.
I felt, and still feel, the contrast of his careful, patient attention and my hot intemperate remarks.
Within a few years all 1,600 of those tanks were pulled and scrapped. Callaway started that process.
Callaway was a good secretary and a citizen servant. We will miss him.
I count it as a highlight of my own life that years later he wrote me that he still remembered that day some 30 years after the event.
God rest him in the next life.
District 1 Commissioner