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View a eulogy for Richard Allen Chilcoat, USMA '64, who passed away on March 16, 2010.

Richard Allen Chilcoat

West Point, 1964

Be Thou At Peace

Posted by Jim Carson on March 22, 2010:

Farewell to Our Great First Captain

The embers have gone out for one of our Great Captains, Dick Chilcoat, our First Captain. Dixie has been at his side caring for him during his long illness and fight at the end of his life, as she has all along the long path they have shared together for 50 plus years.

Dick Chilcoat was rightly chosen as our First Captain and he has been our lifelong friend. He entered West Point from the US Army Prep School with many other great soldiers to be. It was he who led the cadet group to Gen. Douglas McArthur's last birthday on 26 Jan. 1964.

First Captain Dick Chilcoat mustered us early one morning in Central Area for then MG Westmoreland's " Farewell Address" as Westy left the Sup's position to Command MACV in Vietnam.

As First Captain, he led our graduation parade. He married his beautiful fiancee, "Dixie". Can you see them walking along the Plain as they were in 1964 in your mind's eye? Whoever saw them then had to wonder what great destiny lay in store for them.

Later in combat, with Mike Davison and the Vietnamese Airborne below fighting their way into Loc Ninh, Dick flew gunship support overhead on his second RVN tour in 1971.

Dick went to Harvard, early, for an MBA in 1974, then back as Asst Dean and Soc Dept at West Point in the mid seventies.

Still later in peacetime he commanded an Infantry battalion in Berlin and served in 2d Armored Division (Fwd) in Northern Germany. Then JCS, the Navy War College, Office of the Army Chief of Staff, Bde Cdr at Ft. Polk, Chief of Staff 3rd ID, Germany, Brigadier General, his first star. Then we even saw him on T.V. as Aide to Gen. Collin Powell in Operation Desert Storm.

Like a great war frigate when the tide of life changes direction, and favorable winds join to fill the sails; he just sped away from the cluster of smaller ships moving alongside:

S.A.L.T. negotiations with the Soviets. Brigade command at Ft. Polk, Brigadier General. DCG Ft. Jackson, Commandant Army War College, promoted to LTG , three stars, President of The National Defense University 94-97, then retirement, Dean of the Bush School for Government & Public Service, at Texas A&M for eight years!

All the while he was husband, father, lifelong friend, and first among classmates in the class of 1964. Dick had a genial personality who made friends all along the way. He had a natural, easily worn command presence that instilled calm and confidence in those on the journey with him, particularly in tough times. Hear his laugh and see his smile!

If I could turn my life back and be young again, I would want to try to emulate the nature of Dick Chilcoat's noble character. He thought carefully and quickly, but he included considerations that came from the heart, especially when it came to the impact of an order upon subordinates. He could always laugh in the face of hardship and challenge, and his voice resonates in memory saying things like "We can do it!" .......... in a way that made everyone around him believe it.

And Dixie was by his side cheering him on, always, through life; and then loving him and caring for him at the end of his days.

Dick, WELL DONE and farewell, our good friend.

Dixie, Ashley and Mike. We are thinking of you and love you.

By Jim Carson, your Classmate, USMA '64

(See Chilcoat- McArthur picture on page 25 of the Assembly, Vol.23, No.1, Apr, Spring 1964 in the issue about Gen. McArthur. ( It will be page 27 in pdf window).


And another page 14, Vol. 23, No. 2, Summer 1964 at bottom of page 14, First Captain Chilcoat with oldest grad & Sup. at the following link:


( Search in: http://www.library.usma.edu/index.cfm?TabID=3&LinkCategoryID=23, and look in Assembly issues, Spring and Particularly , Vol. 23, No. 2, Summer 1964, which, again, is our graduation issue.)

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