Dunbar Funeral Home (Devine)

3926 Devine St, Columbia, SC


Lt. Gen. Charles Wilson Bagnal

April 15, 1934June 30, 2015

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.


  • Visitation Monday, July 6, 2015
  • Memorial Service Tuesday, July 7, 2015


Lt. Gen. Charles Wilson Bagnal

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Michael Toler

March 12, 2019

General Bagnal was my commander in Hawaii. I was his Inspector General for over 2 years. Prior to that, he was instrumental in leading the Army's efforts to improve education, training, and character development of its leaders. He headed 2 of the Army's most in-depth studies of itself in how we develop Army officers to be the leaders our country needs and the American people expect. He conceptualized and promulgated the Army's initiative to mentor the character, competence, and commitment of subordinate leaders - the Army mentorship program. He was always the consummate gentleman in every interpersonal contact we had or that I observed with others. He trusted me unconditionally to represent him in all of my inquiries, inspections and investigations, as well as supporting improved policies and procedures within the command. When I reported that the Guam National Guard should be disbanded due to a negative unethical and sexist culture, with countless numerous serious violations of law, Army policy, and ethos - he backed me. When I reported inappropriate influence of another general's wife upon elements of the command, he called that officer to his office as he read my findings while I stood next to the offending general who did not refute my facts and demanded the general's resignation that day. When a Navy 4 star admiral complained to him that I was "snooping around" in Navy business having to do with construction and joint housing in Hawaii, General Bagnal told the admiral he better look into the situation himself and heed my recommendations. To ensure my continued professional development and career progression as an infantry officer, he obtained permission from The Inspector General of the Army for me to be reassigned to a brigade after having served for 2 years as an IG. Much later, after both of us were retired, I asked General Bagnal to volunteer his time to help our Army to form its professional concepts and ethic, which he did.

Jay Braden

August 29, 2015

In 1983 I was a battalion commander at Fort Campbell and we were selected for a major, six-week training exercise in Germany. MG Bagnal supported the battalion in ways beyond belief, from assisting us in special training to helping with mementos to give out while we were overseas. With peacetime considerations in mind, we made an advance trip to Germany to select our initial battalion location. We found a piece of woods that had a ravine leading out to a farmhouse and a very large barn. Aha, the battalion could bivouac in the woods and the battalion headquarters could operate out the barn - assuming the local farmer would agree. As we approached the farmhouse it dawned on us that this was no ordinary farm. It was an indoor pig farm. Yes, there were a million flies and the odor was significant, but we thought we could deal with it. Returning to Fort Campbell, I reported back to MG Bagnal that we had found a great location for the battalion - a pig farm. As I saw his eyebrows rise, I reported that everything about the location was just fine, but that the only problem would be the smell ... but that the pigs would get used to us after a while. The general had a good laugh. This was a man I respected GREATLY. I am so sorry for your loss.

August 9, 2015

My condolences to the family. I served under General (then Major) Bagnal in Vietnam in 1967. I was his blue (infantry) platoon leader, C Troop, 1/9 Cav. He was the best commander I encountered during my Army service. A great leader and a great man.

Ed Skerrett (Georgetown, DE)

Bruce Law

July 14, 2015

Our paths crossed at Ft. Campbell, in Washington, and in Hawaiiwhat a professional and personal treat for me. Thank you for the opportunity to express my sympathy and admiration.

Ben & Linda Couch

July 8, 2015

Patsy--Sorry to hear from Jack and Mary Bradford the news. GEN Bagnal was the best boss I ever had. Our prayers are with you and the family.

Sam Boone

July 7, 2015

I reported to the 101st as a 2LT Infantry/Aviator then COL Bagnal (CDR 101 Avn Grp) greeted me and gave me time as if I was the only person on his mind that day. I later interviewed to be his Aide when he was the 101st ADC(S). I did not get the job but he spent so much time asking about how I was doing and how my family was adjusting. A caring Leader that breathed the Army Values and his Christian walk. He will be missed!

Bonita Meckes

July 7, 2015

Our deepest sympathy for your loss. Heaven has gained a true hero. May God bless your family with healing and continuous memories of your many wonderful years together. Our time spent with you and General Bagnal at Fort Monroe, VA and Fort Shafter, HI live on fondly in our minds. God Bless!

Bonita, Bonnie & David

Whit Smith

July 7, 2015

So sorry for your loss Aunt Patsy. General "Uncle" Charles has always been a role model and someone I greatly respected. I am honored to call him family. What a great and honorable man. I know he will be watching over his family whom he loved so much. I will miss him greatly.

July 7, 2015

SHOCKED AND DISMAY at learning of Charles passing. What wonderful memories I have of our early miliary careers and travels together in Hanau, Germany and thru-out Europe.

God Bless You, Patsy from the Hearn family---Jerry, Denise, Steve, Stan & Stuart

Mike Arcaro

July 7, 2015

Our prayers are with you. Your Father was a remarkable man.