Eastland  County  Veterans
Eastland, Texas

Veterans  Interviews


Cpl. Loran B. Watson - Army -  World War II
  Terrell, Texas
 

  Loran B. Watson grew up in Prosper, Texas. After finishing high school, he began working as a clerk           for   the  J. C. Penney company. His first store manager job was in Eastland, Texas. It was in Eastland where he met his wife-to-be, Frankie Webb, who was working across the street at the Eastland Drug. Loran was drafted in 1942. He had basic training at Fort Walters in Mineral Wells and additional training in San Antonio. He experienced many tough days in the India-Burma Theater for almost two years.
He returned home to a store managers job in Terrell, Texas. He died at the age of 54 in 1958.

Calcutta,  India
 

 

 Theresa Hughes, E-3  - Andrews Air Force Base   1978 - 1980
 Eastland, Texas
  
  I was stationed at Andrews Air Force Base from October 1978 to July 1980.  I was one of the first females to work with K-9's in law enforcement in the Air Force.  At the time women were not allowed to work flight line security but could work law enforcement.  I saw heads of state to include Anwar Sadat from Egypt and I was there to see Pope John Paul come to the United States.  I believe it was the first time a Pope came to the U.S. in October of 1979.  I was pregnant at the time in the tree line with my dog, Barney.  I was also there when the hostages returned from Tehran and saw them.  I worked with President Jimmy Carter left for Georgia and Ronald Reagan became president and saw them.  At the time military was going thru changes due to the fact military members were married to each other and both being active duty it was difficult to keep a family together,  but we survived and if I had to do it again, I wouldn't change a thing. Thank you.  Theresa Hughes  12/15/2003 


Edwin Posey, Pfc,  -  Army - World War II
Cisco, Texas

      Edwin fought in France with the 274th Rifle Regiment.  His group had 72 battle field Commissions the first three months of combat.  An old friend, John Preston, from Cisco, won the Medal of Honor.  Five local soldiers included Edwin (Ed) Posey, Bill McFadden, Truman Evans, Lafoyye Lenz and Carson Holdridge, went over on the Queen Mary and landed in the battle together.  Another veteran, a tank commander, Jesse Simmons was on the Omaha Beach Landing.  A Harvey Johnson was in the Battle of the Bulge.  Edwin has written some articles about the war for the Cisco Press.  In one he tells about two air fighter groups that were Blacks and mention that he thought Blacks were not given credit for their combat. He said they had no Blacks on the Front Lines in their group. Edwin believes that all soldiers should get their proper recognition whether Black or White. The 334th Black Air Group shot down 57 German Planes in a short time.  The 331st Black Group shot down 111 enemy planes in a short time. 
     Edwin says that WW II veterans in Brownwood are putting up an memorial for several surrounding counties including Eastland and listing the veterans names.  From a letter from Edwin Posey


Walter H. Gilbert, Jr., MSgt - Marines
Carbon, Texas

       Walter H. Gilbert, Jr. entered the Marines in 1936.  Reared in Carbon, Texas and retired with 22 years of service.  He was on the battle ship Oklahoma when it was bombed at Pearl Harbor.  Walter Gilbert, Jr. was a recruiter in Dallas, Texas and swore in his brother, Weldon Bruce Gilbert in the Marines.  Weldon Bruce Gilbert also
retired from the Marines.  Submitted by sister,  Ester Lee (Gilbert) Hughes


Weldon Bruce Gilbert, Sr.  TSgt  -Marines
Carbon, Texas

      Weldon Bruce Gilbert served the Marines in both Korea and Vietnam.  Weldon was swore into Marines by his brother, Walter H. Gilbert, Jr., Recruiter in Dallas, Texas.  Weldon retired with 20 years of service.
Submitted by sister,  Ester Lee (Gilbert) Hughes


Carl Van Geem, GM3c - Navy
EastlandTexas    






 

 

 

Official confirmation of the death of Carl Edward Van Geem, gunner's mate, third class, aboard the U. S. crusier Juneau in the Solomons, has been received by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Will Van Geem.
       Young Van Geem was first reported missing in action after a naval engagement off Guadaleanal on  November 13, 1942, in which the Juneau was sunk. He was in service for two years, one month and five days at the time and was 21 years of age on August 6 preceding. He enlisted in the Navy on October 6, 1940.
      Besides his parents, he is survived by a sister, Mrs. C.R. Allison of  Downey, California  and a brother,  Charles, who is attending officer's  candidate school somewhere in Australia.
      Carl attended high school in Eastland.


 



 Amos  Roy  Myrick  -  Army  -  World  War  I

      Amos Myrick was born in Indiana, February 20, 1889. Served  in      World War I in France for two years. After the war he came to Texas to work in the Oil Boom area. He married Lottie Lee Tye on March 24, 1924.  To this union was born 5 children and 3 survived.  Amos Myrick passed from this earth on July 29, 1956. Loved very much by his family . . . Submitted by Jane Myrick Carte


 

Bernard  Campbell   -   U. S.  Navy   -   In  Pearl  Harbor  On  December  7,  1941
Carbon,  Texas
There were three boys from Carbon there that day.
 Walter  H. Gilbert  was a Marine on board the U.S.S.  Oklahoma  when it went down.  (He jumped and swan to safety.)  Homer Bisbee was in the Navy Air Station at
Kaneoha Bay, which is across the Island from Pearl Harbor.  I was station at the submarine base in Pearl Harbor.  The Japanese planes came in from the east as the sun was rising, about 50 of them.  This was about 7:55 a.m. They hit everything about the same time.  Wheeler Field,  Hickam Field and Pearl Harbor. Another group hit the Naval Air
Station at Kaneoha Bay.  The ships at Pearl Harbor went up if  fire and smoke and the oil leaked out on the water.  The Oklahoma turned over on it's side. The Arizona, California and West Virginia went down there at the dock, along with several more battleships,  cauisens  and  destroyers. The ones that didn't take a hit went to sea.

  That morning a friend of mine and I were gong to Honolulu to meet Homer Bisbee.  The first I remember, the fire alarm  went off,  then the air raid alarm went off.  I heard the O.D.  say,  "Those Japs are attacking us."   We went to our battle stations.  There everyone was assigned to their duties
that day.  I was assigned to be a messenger.  When I wasn't delivering I was painting windows.  Everything had to be blacked out for the night.  that night going from building to building I could  hear gun fire coming from the main gate. We later learned that some of the Japanese from the island were trying to come in the base.  The next day,  Dec 8, I went back to my regular duty, which was barbering.  The next few days were spent cleaning up
what they could and burying those that died during the attack.  For sometime we were expecting another attack, but it never happened.  I served my time at the submarine base Pearl Harbor, Submarine base Midway Island  and on the U.S.S. Pelias,  a submarine tender.  I was discharged in September of 1945.
     Mr. Campbell further shared with us that it was a touch and go situation for him on that Sunday night because as a messenger he knew the buildings,  but he wasn't armed,  and there was heavy guard duty because a second attach was expected.  "The Japanese fleet apparently came as close as possible Saturday and waited,  knowing that there wouldn't be patrol planes out Sunday morning,"  he remembers. Also Sunday night, signals flares from the mountains could be seen,  indication that the Japanese had comrades who helped stage the attack.  The Campbells returned  to Pearl Harbor in 1991
for the 50th  Anniversary of  the attack. Bernard also attended the dedication of the World War II  Memorial in Washington, D.C. on May 29, 2004
Obtained from Bernard Campbell  6/8/2004  -  Webb Jordan
 




Eastland,  Texas  Native Trains Iraqi Soldiers
RAMADI, Iraq  -  Lance Cpl.  Kevin Wollam, a rifleman with Company I,  3rd Battalion,  7th Marine Regiment, is enjoying h is time in Iraq and understands that the sooner that they can help the Iraqi Army become solvent, the sooner Coalition Forces will be able to leave Iraq in Iraqi hands.
Story by Cpl Shane Suzuki  - 

Story by Cpl Shane Suzuki  - 
AR RAMADI, Iraq (Dec 14, 2005)  --  Marines with Company I, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, and soldiers from the local Iraqi Army recently conducted a patrol through the streets here Nov. 18.  The patrol, which was the first to be planned and executed  by the IA (Iraq Army),  is an example of the growing cooperation between Coalition and Iraqi Security  Forces, said Lance Cpl  Kevin Woolam, an infantryman with Company I.  "We took two squads of IA out and helped them perform the basics of a patrol"  said the 10-year old Eastland, Texas, native.  "It went really well, especially compared to previous patrols.  The Iraqis have worked really hard and have improved in leaps and bounds since we got here.  I think they are getting close to being able to take care of the area without our help."  By letting the Iraqis plan this mission, the Marines took the back seat and were mainly around to help provide security for the Iraqis and to help critique and analyze their abilities during and after the patrol.  "They are learning and applying what they are learning to their missions," said the Eastland High School graduate.  "They aren't silhouetting themselves during  movement anymore and are taking a more active  approach to their own security.  These were all things they never used to do."  During the patrol, the two squads stopped and spoke with a number of home and business owners and seemed to be having more success communicating with them than the Marines do when they go out on missions, said Woolam.  "The local population seems to be more responsive to Iraqis coming into their homes and providing local security than to the Marines,"  he said.  "It's a really good thing we are doing here with the IA. We have to teach them how to do these patrols on their own so we can eventually leave the country in their hands."  Being a part of a battalion that is taking such a hands-on  approach with the Iraqis is something that is very satisfying and important, not to mention vital to the Coalition's efforts to create a free and democratic Iraq, said Wollam.  "I like being here in Iraq with my fellow Marines." he said.  "I would hate to be in the Marine Corps and not be deployed and not be doing my job.  This is what I wanted to do, to be a part of something big." 

 
    SP/5   Jim  Walker,   US  Army
    1966 - 1969
 
   Because of my recent move to my homeland in Rising Star, Texas, I feel inspired to let my fellow Eastland
   County veterans know of my presence in the area.  My hopes are to contact someone I served with in
   Chu-lai  in 1967.  The following is a brief summary of my story.

   My name is Jim Walker, U.S. Army 1966 - 1969, RA18747103  SP/5.  In May of 1966, fresh out of Hobbs
   High School in Hobbs, NM, I was assigned to Fort Bliss, TX for 8 weeks of Basic Combat Training.  From
   there I went to Fort Gordon, GA for advanced training in a 12 week school to learn the repair of manual
   telephone switchboards.  

   Next I was assigned to South Vietnam, and was stationed at Headquarters Company of the 37th  Signal Battalion  Headquarters Company  in
   Da Nang.  After two months there, I went to "C"  Company at Chu-lai where only 37 men were on "the hill"  when I arrived.  Our mission was to
   provide communications for the area.  I was assigned to the 1-1-7  platoon right away -- 1 pick, 1 shovel, 7 days a week!

   We were responsible for building barracks, the mess hall, the radio shack, and other accommodations needed to house men, radio, microwave
   towers and telephone equipment.  We were always expanding what we had already built to accommodate the men who were part of the large build-
   up ordered in 1967 by President Lyndon Baines Johnson.  There were over 200 men on "the hill" when I returned to the United States in 1967 at
   the age of 19.  I served 16 additional months at Fort Riley, Kansas before I was discharged in May of 1969.

   There was an enlisted men's club on our compound;  and I worked as a bartender in Chu-lai part-time.  I have no 'there I was'  stories to tell.  I have
   good feelings  about being part of it all.  There were so many decent guys;  and it was a privilege to serve with them all.  I had three close friends. We
   got together whenever we could;  Ronnie Neal,  Goler Williams,  and Charles Cachuki.  Neal lives at Odessa, Texas where he taught school 18
   years;  Goler Williams from Durham, North Carolina was killed by a booby trap near Hoi An in November of 1967.  I saw his name on the wall
   in Washington, D.C. in 1989.  Cachuki was from upstate New York and died in 1992 from leukemia which his family blames on Agent Orange.  I
   hauled new cars out of the General Motors Assembly Plant in Arlington, Texas  and retired in March, 2006 after 30 years and now reside in Rising
   Star.

   That's basically my story;  I am hoping someone in the Eastland County area that served in Chu-lai will call me for a  "howdy"  sometime.  I might
   see you at the Moving Wall when it's in the area.  You can call me at 254-643-2189 or write me at 203 South Brewster,  Rising Star, TX 76471.


   Lance Corporal  Wollam  -  Receives  Purple  Heart  On  July  3,  2006.
   On February 25,  2006  Lance Corporal  Woollam  vehicle  was damaged  in a catastrophic explosion  in Ar Ramadi,  Iraq.  He was injured, but he
   immediately began to assist the other Marines from the wreckage.  By using smoke grenades to give cover for the group, he assisted in saving the life
   of  one Marine and ensured the removal of all sensitive material from the scene before receiving treatment for his own wounds. His mother makes
   her home in Eastland.


Col David Gaston Alford - Rising Star, Texas

A Loving Tribute to Col. David Gaston Alford.
    A Distinguished Flying Cross recipient and a veteran of World War II and the Korean War, Colonel David Gaston Alford (USAF Ret.) died on Monday, May 20, 2002 of complications related to his recent struggle with bone cancer at the Health Care Center at Air Force Village II, where he had
resided for the past 13 years. He was born in Rising Star, TX on May 29, 1917, attending Daniel Baker College in Brownwood, TX where he earned a B.S. in education, and East Texas State College in Commerce, TX where he received an M.B.A. in accounting. He became an Army Corps Flying Cadet in 1939 and graduated from flying school as part of Class 40E at Kelly AFB in August 1940. Col. Alford began his military flying career as part of an Atlantic patrol to search for German vessels. Col. Alford is best known for his heroism while serving as Group Operations Officer for the 91st
Bomb Group when his plane was shot down while leading a raid on Frankfurt, Germany in February, 1944. While under heavy flak attack, his B-17 bomber caught fire, and,  after bailing out,  his crew discovered that his parachute was on the floor of  the plane; however, he managed to safely land it in a cow pasture near Groenlo,  Holland. Thanks to the kindness of Dutch families whom he has never forgot, and  with the help of the Dutch Underground, he was hidden by patriots who risked their lives to hide and feed him for more than seven months. With their help he evaded the enemy, traveling, as he frequently recalled with much delight, as a deaf and dumb typewriter repairman and was picked up south of Liege, Belgium by the U.S.
Army as they overran the area in battle in October 1944. On returning to the States,  he was part of a B-17 training organization in Tampa, FL, which was followed by duty as an Air Force liaison officer to the Army at Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, TX. Col. Alford returned to action with the outbreak of the Korean War where he flew 35 missions in a B-29 bomber. One of Col. Alford's fondest military memories  was his 3-year tour in Greece as Base Commander with his family. It was in Greece where he became active in the Masonic Lodge, rising to a 32nd degree Mason and Shriner.  Col. Alford's final base command was at Sheppard AFB, Wichita Falls, TX where he retired from military service in December, 1965. For almost 14 more years, he worked in the public sector with the Wichita Falls city government and finally with the area planning commission. His final retirement brought adequate time to devote to his passion for golf and his fondness for traveling with his beloved wife, Dorothy.  His last 13 years he lived at Air Force Village II in San Antonio, TX with his wife Though his health took a turn for the worse just several weeks prior to his death,  his memory was still sharp, said his family, and he could recount a story with remarkable detail. In spite of his illness, Col. Alford managed to keep his sense of humor as he smiled, laughed, and he recounted his stories. In addition to his wife of  almost 30 years, Dorothy Jean Burkett Alford, Col. Alford is survived by his son, Michael Alford and his wife Bernadette of Framingham, MA; his daughter, Patricia Lanier and her husband Jerry of Shawnee, OK; three grandchildren, Chad Lanier and  his wife Melissa, of Kaufman, TX, Lea Alford of Framingham, MA and Lori Lanier of  Shawnee, OK; a great-grandson, Jacob Alford Lanier of Kaufman, TX and a stepdaughter,  Dorothy Dee Phillips of Stuart, FL. A Memorial Service will be held at the High Flight Chapel in the facilities of Air Force Village II on Wednesday, May 29, 2002  at 10:30 A.M. to fittingly celebrate the life of Col. David Gaston Alford on this,  the 85th anniversary of his birth. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Texas Scottish Rite Home for Children, 2222 Welborn, Dallas,  TX 75219 or the Air Force Village II Health Care Center, 5100 John D. Ryan Blvd.,
San Antonio, TX 78245.  By John Casall  (casalljohnw@msn.com)

Private  Emery L. Booth
      Emery enlisted on June 18, 1941 in Dallas, Texas.  He went to Indian Town Gap, PA for basic training.  Emery served in WWII with the Third Armored Division - Army.  54th Field Artillery Battalion - Battery A.  He arrived in England 15 September 1943.  He was in the invasion of Normany on D-Day and served as a tank driver through France, Belgium and Germany.  He had learn German as a young boy from family and friends and served as translator on many occasions. Among his battle awards, he received the Croix de Guerre from the French Government.  He was released at Fort Patrick, Virginia on 12 October 1945.  By Kathy Booth Locke  (k1343@verizon.net)  Buried in Oakwood Cemetery - Cisco.

Jose Ruelas Camacho
     A disabled veteran proud to serve his country in World War II,  Jose was awarded the prestigious Purple Heart and Bronze Star medals and was a member of the 82nd Airborne Division Association.  He had also received the American Theater Medal, European African Middle Eastern Theater Medal, Oversees Service Bar and the World War II Victory Medal upon his honorable discharge from the U. S. Army in 1946. Jose was born in Ranger, January 3, 1923.
                      
 

       Silas Carter
    Eastland County
       Silas Monk Carter was born December 19, 1846 in Alabama to William J. Carter and Martha Skinner Carter. He was   the fifth child of eight to this family. He may possibly been born in Randolph County, Alabama as his father is in Randolph County in 1840 and Talledega County in 1850.
       Silas served in Company F, 8th Alabama Cavalry, Forrest's Brigade, Army of Tennessee from 11 August 1863 until the surrender at the end of the war in 1865. The command he served in was organized in Mississippi and he reached the rank of High Private.
       Silas and Manecia America Ivy were married on October 20, 1865 after the end of the Civil War. They moved to Texas in late 1883 or 1884. They first went to Hill and Kaufman Counties. In November of 1900 they bought land in what was then named Thurber Station, in Palo Pinto County and remained there until December of 1902 when they sold their property which included 4 acres of land and 5 horses and mules. They moved to Eastland County and bought property in Mangum. Soon after his wife death in March of 1922, Silas moved into the Confederate Home for Men in Austin, Texas. He lived there until his death in July 1933. Silas Monk Carter is buried in the Eastland Cemetery. Submitted by Holly Homan, hdhoman@air-pipe.com

Ewell C. Phillips,  Colonel in A.A.C.  -  Decorated by British Government  and A Letter of Commendation from the U.S. Government  for the development of self-sealing gas tanks for U. S. airplanes.  He is buried in Dayton, Ohio.                                         


                                                                                                   
 

 


 

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