Golden Gate Wing Guest Speaker Archive

Presentation Date: January 25, 2018

Daniel C. Helix, Major General, United States Army, (Retired)


Dan was born in 1929 Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  His father was a steelworker; his

mother was a housewife.  He had two sisters: one older, one younger.   Both are

now deceased. 


Dan attended Berkeley High School and graduated in 1947.  He was motivated

to join the Army by his high school boxing coach (a veteran of World War One)

who “loved the Army” plus the prospect of the GI Bill for college. 

On 12 January 1948 Dan enlisted in the Army at the Presidio of San Francisco. 


He entered Basic Training at Fort Ord, CA and was assigned to the 4th Infantry Division. 

He took advantage of a series of sequential short-term assignments

(each one offered a promotion in grade) so he soon made Sergeant First Class. 


In June 1950, the Korean conflict began.  In February 1951, Dan applied for the

Officer Candidate School’s first class at Fort Benning, Georgia with 119 other

hopefuls.  Six months later, only 39 graduated; he was third in his class.  


Commissioned as a second lieutenant of Infantry, he volunteered for Korea. 

After a short leave en route visiting family in California, he departed via train to

Fort Lawton, Washington and onward by military air to Tokyo, Japan.  Assigned

to the 45th Infantry Division, he arrived in country at Pusan, South Korea.  Dan

served in combat as a platoon leader and then commander of a rifle company. 

Later at Camp Sasebo, Japan, he met Mary Lou Hiott, an infantry colonel’s

daughter.  They married in Sasebo on 10 October 1953.       


Dan earned a bachelor’s degree in History from the University of California at

Berkeley and a master’s degree in Political Science at San Francisco State

University.  Both degrees were conferred magna cum laude.  He is also a:

-- graduate of the Army’s Command and General Staff College and the War College

-- Senior Fellow at the JFK Center for International Affairs at Harvard University.


Major General Helix’s military awards and decorations include:

-- Army Distinguished Service Medal

-- Silver Star

-- Bronze Star with “V” device for valor

-- Legion of Merit

-- Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster

-- Meritorious Service Medal

-- Army Commendation Medal

-- The Combat Infantryman’s Badge and 19 other awards.


He is:

-- a member of the U.S. Army’s Infantry Hall of Fame located at Fort Benning, Georgia,

-- authorized to wear the Secretary of Defense Identification Badge and the Parachutist Badge which he earned at age 50.


Dan retired as a major general in the U. S. Army in 1989.  He completed a 41-year career serving both on active duty and with the Army

Reserve.  His final military assignment was as Deputy Commanding General, Sixth U.S. Army, at the Presidio of San Francisco.


He served as Mayor and Councilman of the City of Concord, California from

1968 to 1976 and as a Director of the Bay Area Rapid Transit District. 

Appointed to fill a vacancy on the Concord City Council in 2010, he was elected

for a four-year term in 2012.  Elected as Mayor by his colleagues, he remained

on the City Council until December 2016.  He was Chair of the Citizen’s Advisory Committee for the former Concord Naval Weapons Station.  



- is a published author of an award-winning novel set in the Korean War era

-- authored several published articles and short stories, primarily in military journals

-- has a lifetime teaching credential for secondary education.


He is a past president of the Rotary Club of Concord and the former Mt. Diablo Hospital Foundation (now John Muir Health), Concord Campus.  He served on

the Board of the All Wars Memorial Foundation, the Korean War Memorial Foundation, and is active in numerous philanthropic and military organizations.


Dan served:

-- on a U.S. Congressional Commission considering structural changes in the Department of the Army

-- on Governor Schwarzenegger’s Military Base Retention Commission

-- as Co-chair of the initial Concord Reuse Committee for the now-closed Naval Weapons Station.


Dan and Mary Lou live in Concord.  They have two children and five grandchildren.