Colonel Joseph B. Conmy, Jr. served as commander of the 1st Battalion, 3d Infantry Regiment from 1963-1968. Today marks what would have been Conmy’s 98th birthday.
Conmy was born at Fort Snelling, MN, the son of an Army officer. His father, Joseph Sr., was a company commander in the 3d Infantry Regiment. He grew up on Army posts in the U.S., the Philippines, and Hawaii. He graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1943. Conmy joined the 44th Infantry Division at Fort Lewis and deployed with them to Europe in August 1944. As a company commander in the 114th Infantry Regiment, he was wounded after a month of combat. Returning to his unit, he became S-3 of the 1st Battalion, 114th Infantry Division. By the end of the war, he was awarded two Bronze Stars, a Purple Heart, and the Combat Infantryman Badge.
Between wars, Conmy moved to Hawaii for a three-year tour with the ROTC. The 1949–50 Advanced Course led to orders for the 7th Infantry Division, which he joined as they left for Korea. His actions in Korea earned him a Silver Star, three additional Bronze Stars for valor, the Air Medal, a second Purple Heart, and a second Combat Infantryman Badge. Following the Korean War, he graduated from the Command and General Staff School and Army War College. From 1956-59, he served at NATO Headquarters in Paris. In 1960, Conmy was stationed in Washington, DC as an intelligence officer.
In 1964, he took command of 1st Battalion, 3d Infantry Regiment at Fort Myer. Conmy took command when The Old Guard was evolving as a ceremonial unit. Conmy felt the soldiers should be combat ready as well. During this time, he was a military aide to President Lyndon B. Johnson, and he traveled extensively with the President. He commanded the battalion until 1968.
In 1968, Conmy took command of the 3rd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam. In May of that year, he led the brigade in the battle of Hamburger Hill in the Ashau Valley, one of the major battles of the war. After several days of desperate fighting, they took the hill. A week later, the brigade repulsed a night assault in which he was wounded. His final time in combat brought him his third Purple Heart, his third Combat Infantry Badge and three more medals for valor. He returned to the U.S. in 1969, where he handled assignment for colonels for three years and served a year as liaison to the Inaugural Committee.
He retired from the Army in 1973, with thirty years of service. In retirement, he served as an adviser for the films “Hamburger Hill,” and “Gardens of Stone.” In 1988, Conmy was selected as honorary Colonel of the 3d Infantry in 1988.
As soldiers previously under his command laid hundreds of veterans to rest in Arlington National Cemetery, his unit laid their former Commander to rest in 1994. At the time, Conmy was one of only 230 Army soldiers to have awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge in three wars. On May 31, 1995, the former Fort Myer North Post gymnasium was named for Joseph B. Conmy, Jr.