Back to Last Roll Call Home Page   

Jim L. Madden

Company M-2

11 Jan 1938 - 11 Jul 2007

Place of Death: Palm Springs, CA

Inurnment: Arlington National Cemetery

Jim Madden died in his home town of Palm Springs, California on Wednesday, July 11, 2007 of lung cancer.  A 1961 graduate of the United States Military Academy, Jim served three tours (1st Infantry Division, 101st Airborne Division and Special Operations) in Vietnam, was awarded three Silver Stars and two Purple Hearts.  He was born in Hope, Arkansas on January 11, 1938, grew up and graduated from high school in Ottumwa, Iowa, where he enlisted in the Army and after one year he enrolled at West Point.  Jim left many big footprints in the US Army.  He developed MILES and the After Action Review (AAR) methodology that is used throughout the Army today.  His last active duty assignment was G-3 of the 8th Infantry Division.  He retired from active duty in 1980.

Jim is survived by his wife, Dawn, of 21 years from Palm Springs and his son, Christopher, from Los Angeles, California.

On Thursday, October 11th, at 9am, funeral services for LTC Jim L. Madden, USA Retired, were held at Christ Episcopal Church, 118 North Washington Street, Alexandria, Virginia.  Remarks were made during the service by GEN Paul F. Gorman, USA Ret., GEN George A. Joulwan, USA Ret., and Mr. Christopher Madden, Jim's son.

Following the funeral service, mourners proceeded to Arlington National Cemetery where a committal service was held at the Columbarium.  After the committal service, a reception was held at the Fort Myer Officers Club so that the Madden family could meet and thank Jim's friends.

In lieu of flowers, Dawn and Chris asked that donations be made to the American Cancer Society.  Donations can be made to your local ACS chapters or by calling the central office at 1-800-227-2345.

Condolences may be sent to the family at 1207 Antigua Circle, Palm Springs, CA  92264.

Well done, Jim.  Be thou at peace.


Class Memorial Pages\M-2 Jim Madden.pdf

I was a Company Commander for Jim Madden when he was a Mech. Inf. BnCdr in the 2d Armored Division in Bamberg, Germany in 1977-78. He left an indelible impression on me and I always admired his intellect and military acumen.

Rest in Peace, Noble Commander!

William H. Ward with e-mail <>


Celebrating Jim L. Madden
A Remembrance by General P. F. Gorman, USA (Ret) '50
Christ Church, Alexandria, Virginia
11 October 2007

While this is a sad occasion for our coming together, we can each rejoice in that we were fortunate to have shared moments of our lives with Jim Madden, a truly exceptional man, an outstanding soldier, and a head of family, loving and beloved.

Jim Madden was younger than I: over a decade separates the date of our respective entries into the U.S. Military Academy, but each of us had one year of prior enlisted service. Upon graduation, we both became infantrymen: I left West Point to practice that trade first in Korea; Jim left with Viet Nam in his future. We both, however, were fortunate enough to have post-USMA leavening in training troops without the stresses of battle before these were thrust upon us.

When Jim and I first met in the summer 0f 1966, I was commanding 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry of the 1st Infantry Division, then operating north of Saigon in the Republic of Viet Nam. Jim reported to me as a prospective company commander, and I immediately accepted him not only because the unit desperately needed a good company commander, but also because I recognized in Jim’s background much that I had myself experienced. I therefore expected much of Jim Madden, and he never disappointed me.

I gave Jim command of a disheartened group of draftees nearing the end of their time in South Asia, glumly going through the motions of soldiering prodded by disgruntled Regular Army sergeants. In a remarkably short time, Jim transformed his charges into a cohesive, airmobile rifle company that was willing and able to take on any mission assigned to it, a close-knit team with evident spirit and pride.

Much has been said and written about the centrality to combat effectiveness of an infantry company commander. Jim Madden was head and shoulders, literally and figuratively, above most of his contemporaries in his ability to teach hard-core infantry tactics, techniques, and procedures, and to build that bond between soldier and leader that inspires both to extraordinary performance. When I submitted an efficiency report on Jim, I stated that Jim Madden’s company, in searching out and closing with an elusive foe in the jungle, was worth two or three other rifle companies. 

I have among my papers a copy of a letter from one of Jim’s soldiers, written from the jungle to a comrade recovering from wounds in a field hospital, lauding the measures that Jim put into practice, and used his NCOs to enforce: daily attention to cleaning of weapons, to optimizing each soldiers on-person load, and to guarding his personal appearance and hygiene. For Jim’s soldiers, every day was a training day, even amid combat, and he told them often that they would learn how to improve day by day.

Jim Madden was a paragon of military professionalism. He spent his life trying to discover better ways for us to discharge our responsibilities to our soldiers and to the Army.

Allow me one war story. On 25 August 1966 Jim was seriously wounded in the chest leading his company to rescue an embattled force from another battalion. A few days later I was amazed to see Jim dismount from a resupply helicopter, and saunter up to request my permission to resume command of his company. Noting his pallor, his gaunt figure, and his bloody bandages, I denied his request, but assigned him instead as my S-3, my operations staff officer.

Within hours of Jim’s return, a very portly and much agitated Colonel of the Medical Corps appeared, announcing that Madden was absent without leave from the Field Hospital, and demanding that I surrender the miscreant immediately. I patiently explained that it was a long standing tradition of the Big Red One to go AWOL from hospitals, and that no less an authority than Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., one of my predecessors in command of 1-26 Inf, had himself fled the ministrations of doctors and nurses to resume the care of his solders, and that subsequently, Teddy, then a General and Assistant Division Commander, had established as division policy that any soldier so charged with AWOL was to be held blameless so long as he was traveling toward to battle. I suggested to the Colonel that he might want to discuss Madden’s extradition with the division commander before pursuing the matter further with me. He left, and I never heard from him again.

Jim served the battalion well as my principal staff officer. He never stopped trying to discern what was right or wrong with our operations, seeking to capitalize on success and to redress wrongs. Jim Madden was no yes-man; when he thought our operations were flawed, he was unstintingly in his criticism, and would argue his point of view vigorously up until a decision was made.

I now understand in retrospect why he emphasized the importance to training soldiers to use the After Action Review, or AAR. He himself had a classic AAR, in that on his second tour in Viet Nam, he worked closely with a defector from the other side, none other than the company commander he had opposed on 25 August 1966, also severely wounded that day. Jim wrote to me extensively about what he learned from talking to that former adversary about the bad habits of American infantry.

My second tour in Viet Nam took place between Jim’s second and third, but after Viet Nam, we again served together in the Army’s newly formed Training and Doctrine Command. Jim became a key training developer, the prime mover in a number of momentous initiatives, not the least of which was fielding the Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System, or MILES, ultimately a billion dollar program that helped produce new confidence and competence among American soldiers.

In 1978, when I was commanding the 8th Infantry Division in Germany, I sought Jim Madden’s assignment as my G-3  (Operations, Plans, and Training) and was once again delighted with his innovativeness, drive, and enthusiasm. He led the way, for example, in setting up a wirelessly distributed Tactical Operations Center, rendering the division’s command and control systems both more efficient and more survivable.

Jim Madden left the uniformed force in June of 1980, but he never left the Army. Over the past two decades he has toiled incessantly as a contractor to convey his professionalism to new generations of soldiers, His concepts of teaching and learning will shape Army training for decades into the future.

I am here to celebrate the life and accomplishments of a dedicated American. So long as this nation can produce from towns such as Ottumwa, Iowa, leaders for its military forces like Jim Madden, we need not fear Islamic Extremists or any another threat to our liberties.

Rest easy, Jim. I am here to attest that yours was a job well done.


General George Joulwan, USA (Ret) '61
Alexandria, Va
11 October 2007

Jim Madden was my West Point classmate but more important, we served our first 6 years of service together.  First in Germany and then in combat in Vietnam.  So this morning, I want to celebrate Jim Madden’s life by sharing with you some of the experiences we had early in our careers.  Experiences that would influence me and the military of our Country for the next 30 years.

Jim Madden was special.  When I joined the 1st Battle Group 30th Infantry in March 1962, Colonel William DePuy was the Battle Group Commander.  Jim already had a rifle platoon and I was fortunate to get the last platoon in the battle group.  The next day the entire battle group went on a cross-country maneuver from Schweinfurt to the Hohenfels training area.  Soon the whoop-whoop-whoop of a helicopter was overhead.  It was Col. DePuy!  We were in a defensive position.  DePuy said, “let’s walk your line.”  He got to a machine gunner, plopped down in the mud in his starched fatigues; asked for the range card which showed 800 meters of grazing fire for the final protective line or FPL.  He asked the assistant gunner to walk the FPL with Col DePuy looking through the sight.  The assistant gunner fell out of sight in 50 yards! DePuy looked up from the machine gun position and said to me: “who’s responsible for insuring the tie-in of machine guns?”  I gulped and said, “I am sir.”  The next day - another defensive position - and another whoop-whoop-whoop of the helicopter.  Another DePuy terrain walk and another lesson.  As DePuy left I was returning to my platoon with a long face when I saw Madden - lurking in the shadows.  He said smiling “Welcome to the 1st Battle Group 30th Infantry!”

Indeed it was a heady time for young officers in Germany.  The Berlin Wall and Iron Curtain had just been built.  The threat of nuclear was very real.  So those units forward deployed in Germany had to be prepared to fight and win day one of the war.  And we trained as we would fight.  And Bill DePuy was a trainer!

DePuy would hold sessions with his commanders and staff every Friday night at the Schweinfurt Officers Club.  Jim and I along with other second lieutenants would cram into the back of the room and listen and learn.  The discussions of tactics, of cover and maneuver, of integration of air and artillery, of the importance of foxholes in depth with overhead cover were stimulating and instructive.  DePuy believed in discussion and encouraged debate among his leaders - sometimes he would even call on 2nd Lt’s Madden or Joulwan.  Disagreement was not disloyalty.  But you better be prepared for a challenge from DePuy.

Jim and I thrived in this environment.  He had an infectious booming laugh which would echo across the room.  We would spend hours at the Officers Club arguing tactics and doctrine until Helmuth the bartender kicked us out!

It was healthy, professional competition between us and we became best friends.  We were promoted to Captain together and held a joint promotion party at the club.  I won’t go into details, but again Helmut kicked us out!

So it was not easy for us to leave Schweinfurt in 1965.  Jim went to Benning and I went to Fort Knox for a year of study.

You can imagine my surprise when I arrived in Vietnam in 1966 to learn that now MG William DePuy was the 1st Division Commander and I was assigned to the 1st Battalion 26th Infantry - with my buddy Jim Madden.

It was as if we had never left Germany.  Different enemy.  Different terrain.  But the same principles.  Jim had C Company when I arrived - I was given command of B Company.  I asked for a week to get the company trained in bounding techniques, disciplined fire techniques, silent voice commands, and proper foxhole sighting and protection.  I got 24 hours - but a good 24 hrs before Jim and I were committed on a short notice air mobile operation.  We landed in the middle of a rice paddy, Jim went south, and I went north.  The enemy had the rice paddy berms covered with machine guns, so with covering fire we maneuvered through the thick mud of the rice paddies.

Later we would discuss the pro and cons of the operation, learning from each other.  We dissected the enemy’s tactics and had arguments on the use of bounding techniques in the jungle, the need for flank security as well as speed, integration of air and artillery and the importance of foxholes with overhead cover, and defense in depth.  Instead of a “Soviet regimental attack,” we discussed a “Viet Cong regimental attack.”  One day, DePuy brought the Israelis Defense Minister to the 1/26 INF and showed him both our defensive positions.  Of course we each thought our use of the terrain was best ­and argued well after he left.  Heady but exciting stuff!

It was also dangerous stuff!  One day B Company was preparing for an operation when we received word that C Company has been ambushed with causalities.  My heart sank!  We had been rehearsing for deployment the next day - but were committed immediately.  We took risks to get there, crossing a jungle river on a one rope bridge to save time.  I was relieved to find Jim ok.

A few weeks later, in August 66, we were again in a fierce fight.  B Company was the reserve company and was committed where the enemy had chosen to stand and fight.  Enroute to the objective, a report came in that Jim had been killed.  I was shocked!  We pressed on!  We fought our way into the VC base camp using tanks and infantry.  In between the fighting I kept asking about Jim, the second report said he was alive but critically wounded.

Those of you who have experienced close order combat know the feeling when you are unsure whether your best friend is alive or dead.  And the exhilaration when you find out that he is alive.

Unfortunately, the doctors could not keep Madden in the hospital very long.  The next thing I knew -though wounded- he was in the battalion tactical operations center, on the radio, and giving me orders!  It was uplifting!  We were a team again.

Over the years, Jim and I would choose different paths in the military.  But both of us would make contributions in our own way.  And Jim’s were probably more significant than mine.  He had a keen mind and could relate research and development to replicate the realities on the battlefield.  In particular, he developed technology that would benefit soldiers.  His work with MILES and other training aids was brilliant and invaluable as we transitioned and transformed an Army from the jungles of Vietnam to the Fulda Gap in Europe.  And it was this innovation in tough realistic training that contributed significantly to the collapse of the Berlin Wall and Iron Curtain and victory in the Cold War.  And continues to influence the way we train and fight today.

Therefore let us celebrate the life of Jim Madden and the enormous contributions he made to the nation and to the soldier.

Finally, to his son Christopher, and to Heidi and Dawn and to all here present, I ask that you remember Jim Madden as a devoted husband and father, a soldier and a warrior - and my friend.  I will miss him.

Jim Madden and George Joulwan as captains in the 1-26 Inf taken in November 1966 near Dautieng, RVN.








Jim Madden, 69, died in his hometown of Palm Springs, CA on Wednesday, July 11, 2007 of lung cancer. A 1961 graduate of the United States Military Academy, Jim served three tours (1st Infantry Division, 101st Airborne Division, and Special Operations) in Vietnam, where he was awarded three Silver Stars and two Purple Hearts. He was born in Hope, AR on January 11, 1938 and grew up in Ottumwa, IA. Jim enlisted in the Army after high school graduation, and enrolled at West Point one year later. He left many big footprints in the US Army, developing training and review procedures that are used throughout the Army today. Jim retired from active duty in 1980. Following his military retirement, Jim continued to serve the Army he cared so much about as a civilian contributor while employed by BDM Corporation, the Institute for Defense Analyses, and in various consulting assignments thereafter. During the most recent years, Jim was a key stakeholder in the development of the next generation of military training systems. As in his military service, Jim's leadership, insight, dedication, and attention to detail earned the respect and admiration of his professional colleagues. Jim is survived by his wife, Dawn, of Palm Springs; his son, Christopher Madden, of Los Angeles; and his former wife, Heidi Madden of Pebble Beach. Memorial service and columbarium inurnment will be at Arlington National Cemetery on October 11, 2007. In lieu of flowers, Jim's family asks that donations be made to Orphan Pet Oasis in Palm Springs, or to the American Cancer Society.

Published in The Desert Sun on 7/21/2007.

Lt. Col. James Madden; Developed Training Tool

Jim L. Madden, 69, a lieutenant colonel in the Army infantry who was instrumental in developing modern troop training, died of lung cancer July 11 at his home in Palm Springs, Calif.

Col. Madden conceptualized and managed the development of the Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System and associated training techniques that have been fundamental to Army training for the past 20 years.

Troops in training use modulated laser "bullets" that sense hits and report how lethal they are to people and equipment. The system dramatically increases the combat readiness and effectiveness of military units and provides valuable insight into what works in combat.

Col. Madden was also instrumental in getting the Army to formally adopt after-action reviews of any training exercise or combat.

"His strengths were tactical skill, analytic grasp of how to inform and to motivate young men, and facility with applying advanced technology to enable a soldier at the forefront of his unit to survive and to accomplish his mission," a friend, retired Army Col. Neale Cosby, said in a statement.

Col. Madden's passion was preparing small teams for action, and he had the skills of an infantry platoon leader and the intellect of a big-picture officer.

At 6 feet 9 inches tall and with a booming voice, Col. Madden also had a commanding presence.

"He was the brains behind some very big moves," said retired Army Col. Frank Hart, for whom Col. Madden worked. "It's a reflection of how smart he was. You could quickly engage him in a serious conversation. He had a wry sense of humor . . . and he loved to argue back, even with a superior officer. He had no problem putting forth his view."

Col. Madden was born in Hope, Ark., and grew up in Ottumwa, Iowa. Upon graduating from high school, he joined the Army.

After one year in the ranks, he went to Washington, walked into the Senate office of Bourke B. Hickenlooper (R-Iowa) and told him that he liked the Army and wanted to go to West Point. Hickenlooper told the soldier that he was in luck because one of his appointments for the West Point Class of 1961 had just dropped out, and a spot was available.

After graduating, Col. Madden qualified as a parachutist and Ranger and served in Germany. He volunteered to serve three years in Vietnam, once with the 1st Infantry Division, once with Special Operations and once with the 101st Airborne Division.

He was wounded in action twice and received three awards of the Silver Star and two awards of the Purple Heart. In between tours, he obtained a master's degree in operations research and systems analysis from Tulane University in 1969.

His assignments included posts in the Office of the Chief of Staff of the Army and the Combined Arms Training Board at Fort Benning, Ga. His last active-duty assignment was as deputy chief of staff for operations and plans of the 8th Infantry Division in Germany. He retired from active duty in 1980.

Col. Madden then worked for BDM Corp. and the Institute for Defense Analyses in Alexandria. He helped develop the Army's Future Combat Systems' embedded training capability. He was a former Alexandria resident.

His marriage to Heidi Madden ended in divorce.

Survivors include his wife, Dawn Madden of Palm Springs, and a son from his first marriage, Christopher Madden of Los Angeles.

By Patricia Sullivan   Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, August 17, 2007

Funeral Program: