After the intensity of the Vietnam War, the remainder of Bahnsen’s career was relatively quiet. With early promotions to Lieutenant Colonel and then Colonel, he served another tour in West Germany, along with South Korea and some time stateside. He retired in 1986 as a U.S. Army Brigadier General.
“The rated officer is the best, most highly motivated and professionally competent combat leader I have served with in twenty-three years of service, to include the Korean War and two tours in Vietnam…He is one of those rare professionals who truly enjoys fighting, taking risks and sparring with a wily and slippery foe. He is utterly fearless and because of this, demands the same from his unit…I cannot praise Major Bahnsen too highly for his fantastic performance in battle."
Entering Vietnam as a Captain, he left in September 1969 as a Major, the only one to command a “Blackhorse” squadron during the war. For his bravery, heroism, and quick thinking, Bahnsen was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, five Silver Stars, four Legion of Merits, three Distinguished Flying Cross’, four Bronze Star Medals, two Cross’ of Gallantry, two Purple Hearts, and fifty-one Air Medals, among others. He’s been recognized as a distinguished graduate of West Point, enshrined in both the Army Aviation Hall of Fame Fort Rucker, Alabama, and Georgia Hall of Fame in Warner Robins, invited to participate in the Gathering of Eagles program, and honored by a resolution of the West Virginia legislature. Today, his numerous medals, awards, and recognitions form the centerpiece of his living room coffee table.