Michael D. Healy, an Army major general and highly decorated counterinsurgency expert who retired as the top-ranking Green Beret and a legend in the Special Forces, died April 14 at a hospital in Jacksonville, Fla. He was 91.
He suffered a heart attack, said his wife, Jacklyn Healy. He had previously undergone two bypass surgeries, and for years wore dog tags that boasted an epithet to ridicule death — which he had evaded in combat during the Korean and Vietnam wars.
Gen. Healy bore scars on his neck, face, arms, legs and stomach, many of them from covert operations in which he parachuted into remote villages or trekked behind enemy lines in the jungles of Southeast Asia. The details of nearly all his operations, which took him from Cold War Germany to lucrative oil fields in the Middle East, remain shrouded in secrecy. But his brilliance as a counterinsurgency expert was evident in a career that saw him become one of the first Green Berets to achieve the rank of a general.