Charles Wilson Bagnal obituary photo
 
In Memory of

Charles Wilson Bagnal

April 15, 1934 - June 30, 2015

Obituary


COLUMBIA - Lieutenant General Charles Wilson Bagnal died Tuesday, June 30, 2015. Born in Mont Clare, SC on April 15, 1934, he was a son of the late William Kenneth Bagnal, Sr. and Clara Wilson Bagnal. He grew up in Florence, South Carolina where he attended public schools graduating from McClenaghan High School in 1952. He was a member of the National Honor Society, a Marshall, president of the Key Club, lettered in football and was an all-state guard. During his senior year he was president of the student body and was voted by his...

COLUMBIA - Lieutenant General Charles Wilson Bagnal died Tuesday, June 30, 2015. Born in Mont Clare, SC on April 15, 1934, he was a son of the late William Kenneth Bagnal, Sr. and Clara Wilson Bagnal. He grew up in Florence, South Carolina where he attended public schools graduating from McClenaghan High School in 1952. He was a member of the National Honor Society, a Marshall, president of the Key Club, lettered in football and was an all-state guard. During his senior year he was president of the student body and was voted by his classmates as the most popular and best all around. He was a member of First Baptist Church in Florence and was active in all student programs.



Upon graduation from high school he entered the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York on July 1, 1952. He graduated on June 5, 1956 and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in artillery and also became an army aviator. The day after graduation at high noon on June 6, 1956 Charles married Patsy Smith, a high school classmate whom he had known since the second grade. After a series of operational assignments in aviation and artillery units at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, Hanau, Germany, and Fort Sill, Oklahoma, in 1966 Bagnal deployed to Vietnam as a Major where he commanded C Troop, 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division. He returned to Vietnam as a Lt. Colonel in 1971 where he commanded the 52nd Combat Aviation Battalion. In 1969-1971 Bagnal was the Military Assistant to the Secretary of the Army. Other significant assignments included: Chief, Staff Management Division, Office of the Chief of Staff, U.S. Army; Deputy Director of the Army Staff, Office of the Chief of Staff, U.S. Army; Commander, 101st Aviation Group, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault); Assistant Division Commander, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault); Deputy Superintendent, U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York; Director, Office Personnel Management, U.S. Army Military Personnel Center Special Assistant to the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, U.S. Army.



In 1981-1983 Bagnal was the Commanding General of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) which, 24 years earlier was his first assignment as a lieutenant. From 1983-1985 he was Deputy Commanding General for Training at the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command and the Army Inspector General for Training. From 1985-1989 General Bagnal was Commanding General of the United States Army Western Command where he commanded all U.S. Army forces in the Pacific to include U.S. Army, Alaska and U.S. Army, Japan less those forces in South Korea. In March, 1987 General Bagnal was nominated for 4 stars by President Reagan as Commanding General of the U.S. Army in the Pacific, but the U.S. Senate never took action on this nomination, as Senator Glenn who headed the Senate Armed services Personnel Committee decided we did not need another 4 star in the Pacific.



Among General Bagnal’s awards and decorations are the Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star Medal, 31 Air Medals, Presidential Unit Citation with oak leaf cluster, Master Army Aviator Badge and Air Assault Badge. His foreign decorations include the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with gold and bronze stars, Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation with palm and Vietnam Civil Actions Medal with oak leaf cluster. General Bagnal also has been decorated by the Heads of State of Japan, Thailand, Malaysia and South Korea.



General Bagnal was a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, the U.S. Army War College, held a BS degree from West Point, an MS degree in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Tech and upon retiring from the Army obtained a Juris Doctor degree from the University of South Carolina. He practiced law with the Ratchford Law Firm in Columbia from 1995-2005.



Since retiring from the practice of law, Charles helped and advised many veterans seeking assistance with VA disability benefits and other legal matters on a pro bono basis. Charles was a life member of the 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry Association, the 101st Airborne Division Association, the 1st Cavalry Division Association, the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association and the Military Officers Association of America. He was a member of the board of Directors of the West Point Society of Columbia for 12 years and chairman of the board for 8 years. In 7 of the 8 years of his chairmanship the association was recognized by the West Point Association of Graduates as a distinguished society. In 2009 General Bagnal was selected by The School Foundation in Florence, South Carolina as the Distinguished Graduate of Florence School District One.



Charles and Patsy have been very active in First Baptist Church, Columbia. Beginning in 1989, Charles taught an adult Bible Study Class for 4 years, he was director of Adult 3 Sunday School Department for 4 years and until 2013 served as president of the Joy of Living Sunday School Class. On two different occasions he was chairman of fund raising to build the new sanctuary for First Baptist Church.



Charles and Patsy were married for 59 years. Mostly, based upon his Army tours of duty, they have travelled to 108 nations. Charles is survived by wife, Patsy; sons: Ruben (wife Charita), Charles, Jr. (wife Linda) and Joel; grandchildren: Katherine Babb (husband Adam), John Bagnal (wife Renata), Jordan Bagnal; Ruchelle Bagnal; Rizza Phillips (husband Richard); Raquel Bagnal; Shannon Bagnal and McKayla Bagnal; great grandchildren, Gage Babb and Riley Grace Phillips.



A Memorial Service will be held at 11:00 a.m. at First Baptist Church, main sanctuary, 1306 Hampton Street, Columbia, SC 29201, Tuesday, July 7, 2015. There will be a reception for out of town guests at the Bagnal home at 221 West Springs Road, Columbia, SC 29223, following the service. The family will receive friends from 5 until 7:00 p.m. Monday, July 6, 2015, at Dunbar Funeral Home, Devine Street Chapel. Charles will be interred 10:00 a.m. Tuesday, July 14, 2014, in West Point Post Cemetery, West Point, New York.



Memorials may be sent to First Baptist Church, 1306 Hampton Street, Columbia, SC 29201.