Sgt. E-5, Wolfhounds 2/27th 25th Inf. Division, 3/67 – 3/68, Cu Chi, South Vietnam
“In war, there are no unwounded soldiers” – Jose’ Narosky
When I was a child, I played war with my friends mimicking the actions of our military heroes on television and in the movies, wishing that someday I could become just like them fighting the enemies of this country. Also, when I was young, it was said that you should “be careful of what you wish for, because it may come true”. And it did.
I received my draft notice in 1966 while I was attending Kent State University on a baseball scholarship. Though I had a deferment because of being in college, I decided to accept the notice and for the next two years I would be the property of good old Uncle Sam. This would be followed by four years of inactive reserves for a total of six years of total service in the United States Army. Basic Training at Fort Knox, Kentucky was hard, but I did what I was told and received the honor of being the outstanding recruit in our training cycle. I was assigned the infantry designation, 11B, and went to Fort Jackson, South Carolina for my advanced training, was married in December of 1966 and left for duty in Vietnam March of 1967. This was the beginning of the longest year of my life. I like to say that when I went to Vietnam I was 19 years old and when I returned a year later I was 40 years old.
Fortunately, I was assigned to the “Wolfhounds”, the 2nd Battalion 27th Infantry Regiment of the 25th Infantry Division, located in Cu Chi, South Vietnam. This was a battle hardened group of men whose average age was around 20-21 year old. I was further assigned to the S3, operations section, of the unit and rotated in and out of the field of operation via helicopter. We operated in the swamp and lowland area and I logged around 150 combat assaults into that area during my tour of duty. Though we were involved in firefights and clashes with the enemy, we did more chasing and searching for them than anything. When they thought they had the superiority in numbers, or if they had a sniper or two to leave behind to harass us, this was when conflicts erupted. We had many causalities from the heat, disease, infections, scorpion and insect stings and bites which resulted in shortages of men within the companies. But we continued with our operations no matter what the strength of our unit was.
Many times we performed med-caps, where the medics, aided sometimes by a doctor, would set up a first aid station in a village and treat the villagers for many different ailments. During one of these med-caps I was involved in an interaction with some children that took me home, at least in my mind for a few moments. I saw a few children playing and decided to try something. I somehow came across some dry paper, sat down in the middle of them and began folding the paper into the shape of an airplane. I did this slowly to get their attention and they came over to me and watched intently each and every movement I made. Upon completion, I threw it in the air hoping that it would fly, because I wasn’t known for building great paper airplanes, and it glided for a while and landed a short distance away. One of the children ran and got it returning it to me. I asked if they would like to try to make one, communicating the best I could, and gave each of them a piece of paper and together we folded and flew them. That night I thought of home more than usual, and thanked God for allowing me and my family to grow up in a land of plenty and freedoms for all. I often wonder how many of those children are still alive; if any.
I lost some close friends and in particular one man, Captain Charles A. Springer, was one that affected me the most. He was the captain of the S3 waiting for assignment to a line unit. I remember the day he was killed after being assigned to a line company, “B” Company, and something was ripped out of me that day which I knew could never be replaced. He left behind a wife and 7 year old son on the day that he left us in November of 1967. I have gotten to know his son since then and now that young man is 59 years old.
My most vivid memory of Vietnam is the odor of that country that hit me as I got off the plane and boarded a bus to be taken for assignment. There was no sewage system, and coupling that with the rotting vegetation and human waste, made for a smell that you will never forget. My most vivid battle was the Tet Offensive of 1968, when we were flown into Saigon, now Ho Chi Minh City, which was full of fires from the attack by the North Vietnamese. I had about 45 days until I was to return home, and at that time I didn’t believe that was going to happen. The main thing that kept me going was the overpowering desire to see my wife and family and nothing was going to keep me from that.
I was one of the fortunate ones to return home in one piece, but as the quote I mentioned in the beginning, it is true that there are no unwounded soldiers in war. Some of the scars show, but more are hidden deep within. We had no idea what PTSD was at the time and most readjusted to the way of life that they had left a year ago, but be assured deep within the soldier who has seen combat are wounds that will never heal.
My Grandfather was in WWI, a doughboy in the Marines; My Father was a Machinist 1st Class in the U.S. Navy on board an LST in WWII; I had uncles who also served in WWII; two of my Brothers served in the Marines, friends of my youth served and many never returned from Vietnam. I guess you can say I have a military history. We all did what we had to do, and some paid for our freedom that we enjoy with their lives. Our hope is that we will never have to serve again, but ours’ is an open-ended contract in that if called on, and we are able to answer the call, we will return to be beside one another to protect this nation and to preserve the freedoms that have been paid for by the heroes of the past who are no longer with us. May God bless and protect us and the United States.
Excerpt by Sue Diamond of Murphy, TX
This is my stepfather, Vernon Earl Handwerg. He was born in Columbia Station, Ohio, on August 26, 1913, and passed away on August 1, 1983. I only knew him for about 16 years, but he was a wonderful addition to my life and the best thing that ever happened to my Mom. I knew he had been in the Army at one time but only because of a few pictures and brief snippets of conversation he shared with my husband, Lou, also an Army (Vietnam) veteran. Clearly, it was not a subject he was comfortable discussing or anxious to relive. How I wish he would have been able to tell us what he experienced.
He graduated as a 1stLieutenant from the Medical Administrative Corps Officer Candidate School at Camp Barkeley, Texas on December 29, 1943 and was wounded in the Battle of the Bulge on January 9, 1945. His physical injuries impacted his ability to write with his right hand, forcing him to learn how to function as a lefty, but he never complained. The Army classified him as 70% disabled and at the time of his death, he was receiving $193 per month for that disability. I noticed that he constantly dealt with pain, numbness and circulation issues in his arm, but I suspect the internal demons he fought inside were far worse than those I could see.
After he and my mother had both passed, it fell to Lou and me to go through the remnants of their lives, which was both the hardest as well as the most touching thing we have ever had to do. Finding his Purple Heart, his Bronze Star and, the most emotional discovery of all, his Bible, helped me fill in some of the blanks as to his unwavering sacrifice and love for his country. This is surely something we will share with our two grandsons. They have a great-grandpa to be proud of, and they need to know what he accomplished and the consequences he paid for the rest of his life.
PFC Peter Litz, 8th Infantry Division, 1961 – 1964
Ruth E. Clifton serves the Murphy Tribute Association as a Member-At-Large. She has a company, Bottom Line Methods, that provides financing and other services for business owners.
Ruth is an Independent Agent with David Allen Capital, Inc. She is also a Licensed Irrigator and manages a Service and Installation company, Whitaker Irrigation, with her husband, Mark Whitaker, for over 30 years.
Ruth has served as Officer and Board Member on various non-profit boards in the Irrigation and Backflow Protection Industries.
Ruth and Mark have called Wylie home for over 20 years. She has a Bachelor of Science degree from Truman University in Missouri. She and Mark share two patents on an Irrigation tool. They also share fishing as a hobby and Ruth would be happy to show you photos of the 7 ft plus Blue Marlin that she caught out of season and in a rainstorm in Jamaica.
U.S. Army, Lt. Col., Retired
Excerpt by Lou Diamond of Murphy, TX
Recently my wife, Sue, and I decided to make a trip to the state of Georgia to take in the sights and visit a few locations suggested by friends. Stone Mountain, Callaway Gardens and miles of beautiful scenery were wonderful; however, that part of the trip could not begin to compare with what we enjoyed most during this journey through such a charming state.
While we were planning our vacation, I mentioned to Sue that my Chaplain from my tour in Vietnam lived in Hartwell, Georgia, so we added Chaplain Tucker to our list of destinations. This was the best decision we made on this week long excursion to Georgia. After contacting him and setting a time for our arrival, my mind became cluttered with thoughts of him, and my heart beat a little faster in anticipation of seeing this gentleman who meant so much to all who served in that war and knew him. He was such an important part of us and was truly the description of what a “Combat Chaplain” was meant to be.
Chaplain Tucker, full name Walter Carter Tucker, was born in Monticello, Arkansas. He lived on a farm for the first 18 years of his life and attended elementary school in a two-room building. He graduated from Drew High School in 1950. He joined the Navy during the Korean War and served in submarines. Upon completion of his service enlistment, he attended Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas, preparing for his ministry. He received graduate degrees from Southwestern Seminary, Ball State and Long Island Universities, and his main areas of pastoral ministry were in three churches located in Arkansas: El Dorado, Melbourne and Dumas.
In 1966, Chaplain Tucker entered the U.S. Army and served two tours in Vietnam, of which his first tour was with the 2nd/27th Wolfhounds of the 25th Infantry Division — my unit. Upon meeting him, I immediately felt close to him, and so did others. We were all mostly 19 years of age, and he filled the void of a father that we all missed.
Sue and I arrived at his home around 2:30 on October 11th, and this was the beginning of a 3-hour visit we will never forget. His home was a modest farm house built in 1904, and he seemed to have a few acres to go with it. He was as I had remembered him: calm, stoic and kind, welcoming us to his home and hugging both of us. Our eyes met, and I had to fight to hold back tears of joy. Soon we were sitting and reminiscing about the time spent in Vietnam and those who were no longer with us. He told me he had performed memorial services for over 93 ‘Hounds (as he called us). His journals and records of that time were totally in order, and he had the names and dates of each soldier he presided over. Amazingly, he could recall details about each one. Among all his many stories, one in particular stands out in my mind. There had been a casualty due to “friendly fire”, and the soldier who shot his comrade came to Chaplain Tucker for comfort and advice. Even after all these years, it brought tears for him to talk about it.
His photo album was large and included letters, pictures, and other items. It was then he told me that the time he spent with us was the most important year of his life. Ministering to these soldiers was what he was meant to do.
We were joined by one of his sons, Paul, and Paul’s wife Emily. Pictures of his family were throughout his home, and his family was an obvious source of great pride. But one very important person that wasn’t there was his wife of 62 years: Pauline. Brain cancer ended her life in 2017. I questioned myself as to why I didn’t go visit him earlier so I could have met this wonderful woman who, with Chaplain Tucker, had hosted over 30 tours to the Holy Land and traveled to 40 countries serving as volunteer missionaries in more than half of them.
He retired from the Army as a Lieutenant Colonel and served in the Arkansas Baptist State Convention as Director of Chaplains. He now ministers and counsels a group of 30 recovering alcoholics/addicts whom he entertained with a ribeye cookout at his home the day after we visited. He is planning to return to the Holy Land leading another tour next year for a group of 30-35 people.
This is the man I remember, and a man who, at the age of 87, is still going strong. I am looking forward to seeing him again very soon as we have much more to discuss, and I personally need to be in his presence for his support. God bless you Chaplain Tucker.
Dr. Suzi Ferenczhalmy (left) and Dr. Lindsay Denton in front of the large selection of glasses available at Eye Center of Murphy.
This article was originally published in the Jan. 23, 2020 edition of the Murphy Monitor.
Local optometrists share love of country, profession
In addition to their affinity for sushi, Murphy residents Suzi Ferenczhalmy and Lindsay Denton were surprised to discover they have some significant commonalities. Not only are they both optometrists, they are both Air Force veterans married to Air Force veterans.
These women share a love of county and optometry, and they work for the same company. Ferenczhalmy works at Eye Center of Murphy, located at 213 N. Murphy Rd. in Murphy. Denton works at Wylie Eye Center, located in downtown Wylie.
The military journey for Ferenczhalmy began while she was interning at an Air Force base in Florida. She liked it so much she enlisted in 2000 – serving three years at the Pentagon and three years at Andrews Air Force Base (in Maryland).
“I was asked to interview to be the White House medical unit’s optometrist,” she said. “I went to the White House for two days a month for two-and-a-half years doing eye exams.”
Ferenczhalmy was the optometrist for President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, his wife Lynne Cheyney and anyone who worked at the White House.
The eye doctor was on duty in a hospital in the Pentagon during the terrorist attack. After the plane crashed into the Pentagon, Ferenczhalmy helped get people out of the building.
“There was a lot of chaos and a lot of watching the building burn. Unfortunately, there weren’t a lot of survivors,” she said.
Ferenczhalmy received an Army commendation medal for her service.
While in college, Denton’s decision to join the military was prompted by financial reasons.
Faced with out of state tuition during her second year of optometry school, Denton started looking for a way to reduce her debt. She said the Air Force offered a scholarship program that would pay for her third and fourth year of optometry school in return for three years of active duty.
She applied for, and received, the scholarship. Denton enlisted in 2005 and began active duty in 2007.
“I grew up as an Air Force brat,” she said. “I knew the lifestyle.”
While serving in the military, Denton went on two MEDRETEs (Medical Readiness Training Exercises) missions. The original plan of the mission was for military doctors to provide basic medical care to remote areas. In Denton’s case, one mission was to Southern Peru.
Two weeks before Denton and the team were set to depart, a large earthquake hit south of Lima. The original mission quickly changed to providing medical care in an earthquake relief effort.
“We went from a very predictable trip to a lot of unpredictable situations,” Denton said. “It turned out to be a great experience, but a little scary as well. There were still aftershocks and frightened people.”
The biggest memory, said Denton, was caring for patients outside on a playground.
“I had my eye chart hung up on a soccer goal,” she said.
While serving their country, both veterans said they never felt like they were treated differently from their male counterparts.
They were pleased with the maternity care they received while in the military. Denton had her first child and Ferenczhalmy had her first two children while on active duty. (The Dentons now have two children and the Ferenczhalmys have three children.)
Ferenczhalmy opted to separate from the military when she was nearing the end of her D.C. deployment. Her husband had already separated from the military three years prior. She was concerned that Fred, a software engineer, might have difficulty finding a career wherever she was deployed to in the future.
Denton and her husband Nathan, an Air Force pilot, were stationed in different locations during the first three years of their marriage.
Nathan was in the process of being assigned overseas when she decided to separate from the military to simplify matters for her family.
“We had just had our first child,” she said. “I knew that I could be an optometrist anywhere, but he couldn’t be an F16 pilot anywhere.”
Both doctors said they are grateful for their experience in the military and believe their experience strengthened traits of flexibility and efficiency in both their personal and professional lives.
Ferenczhalmy said, “If hadn’t joined the Air Force, I would probably still be in Michigan, where I was born, for the rest of my life. Joining the military allowed me to branch out and enjoy other opportunities.”
By Karen Chaney, Murphy Monitor
Excerpt by Larry Hall
My dad Wayne L. Hall received a distinguished Unit Badge GO #71 1st Armed. Div. On April of 43 – 1st Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster GO # 14 1st Armed. Div. July 1944 Good Conduct Ribbon, American Defense European, African Middle Eastern Theater Ribbon And W/1 Silver Battle Star. He was in The Tunisian, Algeria-French Moroccan, Naples-Foggia, Rome Arno Po Valley and a No. of Apennines Campaigns. He received 6 Overseas Service Stars and a Bronze Battle Star. This is what a citation said that was given to him from the Commanding General Of the 1st Armored Division. Company Regiment; First Lieutenant Mervin G. Sneath, Commanding, is cited for the outstanding performance of duty on 1943, in the vicinity of Tunisia. When his organization was assigned the mission of dislodging an enemy force from an observation post on the heights of*, THE OFFICERS AND MEN Of Company *** Displayed great skill and bravery while making the attack over very difficult terrain in the face of strong enemy fire. By determined effort and desire to close with the enemy this force succeeded in reaching the hostile positions after a full days struggle, naturalizing enemy machine guns and capturing two officers and 50 men. By this brilliant action, the enemy was deprived of an important position commanding the**** valley. The courage, devotion to duty, and initiative of the officers and men of their organization reflect the highest credit upon the command and the finest traditions of our Army. By command of Brig. General Robinett; It says I certify that T/4 Wayne L. Hall was a member of the organization.
THIS WAS MY DAD MY HERO AND MY BEST FRIEND! I miss you Dad. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE!
Prior to graduating from high school in May,1963 I began looking for a job. I wanted to have a job to go to upon graduating. Work was hard to find, most employers wanted someone with job experience. After several attempts to find work a friend suggested we join the Navy on the Buddy Plan. It sounded great to me so we went to the Navy recruiter and filled out the paper work. Since I was only 17 at the time, I had to get my parents to give me permission to join and sign for me. During the short time between us filling out the paperwork my friend did something to disqualify him from going into the Navy. Since I had already joined, I went anyway. A few days after graduating I left for boot camp in San Diego, California where after 8 weeks of marching, more marching and a few classes I was ready to go on to my first assignment. After some interviews and tests, I was sent a sonar school to serve on a submarine. During this time, I was given leave to fly home for two weeks and upon returning my ears were injured from the quick descent the airplane made while landing. I was unable to finish sonar school and was then reassigned to the USS St. Clair County LST 1096 in September 1963.
Aboard Ship Navy Duty
The ship’s schedule was altered, and the annual deployments took us only to the mid-Pacific, where we participated in amphibious exercises and conducted cargo operations for Service Force, Pacific. An overhaul and refresher training occupied most of 1964.
In January 1965, the LST resumed WestPac operations. Only briefly deployed, we departed our home port to participate in a west coast operation and ended by carrying marines and their equipment via Hawaii to Okinawa. In May, after a visit to Japan, we returned to San Diego. From mid-August to November, we retraced the itinerary we had followed from January to May. Then, through the end of the year, we remained on the west coast.
The LST sailed west again in January 1966; and, late in February, commenced logistic support duty for combat operations in her third war. After a stop at Okinawa, we offloaded miscellaneous cargo, vehicles, and personnel at Chu Lai, Vietnam then proceeded to Subic Bay, Philippines. We briefly remained there for upkeep and loading before returning to Vietnam to operate as a unit of TF 76 in that embattled country’s coastal waters.
In March, we offloaded ammunition cargo at Da Nang, Vietnam; took on vehicles at Qui Nhon, Vietnam; and transported them to Vung Tau, Vietnam. In March we moved up to Saigon; and, later returned to Vung Tau, where we navigated the Mekon and Bassac River to deliver cargo at Can Tho. There, we discharged cargo and loaded damaged vehicles which we carried to Saigon. After another run to Can Tho, we returned to the Philippines for availability; and, in June, resumed operations in Vietnam. Through that month, we shuttled cargo between Chu Lai and Da Nang. In July, the LST underwent repairs in the Philippines.
I left ship on July 22, 1966 (my 21st birthday) and was sent to San Francisco, California where I was discharged 4 days later.
Excerpt by Lou Diamond of Murphy, TX
My father, Harry William Diamond, was the 4th child born in a family of 9 children of which only one other was a male. He was a good person, good student and played all sports while in high school. His family worked hard to scrape out a living and his father was not one to shy away from work having entered the coal mines of Pennsylvania at the age of 12. My grandmother was the stabilizing factor in the family and the one to go to when needing assistance or a good home-cooked meal. Many would say they were poor, but they worshiped God, never turned anyone away who needed their help and were true patriots.
My father joined the Navy just prior to his graduating from high school and was assigned the position of Bow Door Operator of an LST (Landing Ship, Tank). He told me that during the war his ship had been torpedoed on two different occasions, and that each time it had to be taken to different ports for repairs. He also said that he witnessed many things during his time in the service to include being in a typhoon in the Pacific. He said that the waves were so high that the swells caused him to lose sight of a battleship. But additionally he told me that being involved in the landing at Iwo Jima was by far the worst thing that he had ever seen.
According to my aunt, the family didn’t hear from him for many weeks then found out he had been in San Diego in the hospital for 3 weeks after his return from overseas. She said one day their phone rang and it was my dad speaking softly. He said that he had shut down, physically, and was recovering from the war. His ship had been hit and his shipmates had gotten him up to the top deck for treatment. He was covered in oil, and he said all he could think of was home. His ship was towed to San Diego and there he was treated for his injuries. Then, he told them he was tired and had to get some sleep. Later when he returned home he told his family “War was Hell” and talked of the killings on Iwo Jima that he had witnessed from his ship. His father wanted to ask him some questions, but my dad said he didn’t want to talk about it now. Then he wanted to talk to his mom, alone, and my aunt told me she had overheard them talking and that my father had said to her over and over “Oh, Mom…Oh, Mom….” He, and many others with him, witnessed carnage that can never be removed but instead will remain with them until they were called Home. Death and destruction surrounded them and it didn’t matter from what walk of life you came, it was the same for all. This was the foundation that was laid for the “Greatest Generation”. This was why they worked so hard for the betterment of their families. This was why they were Patriots and why they would not accept anything but victory over their enemies.
Growing up, my father would never talk to me about the War, but when I left for Vietnam, he mentioned to me that I should “listen to the Old-Timers, they got old for a reason”. Best advice I ever received. I kept my mouth shut and did listen and learn from those who had served before me. In my heart my father will always be there repeating those words and I will forever be grateful. I also want to thank God for giving me the best DAD!!!!
Excerpt by Lou Diamond of Murphy, TX
World War I was a horrific war with the use of poison gas, trench warfare and other gruesome weapons causing millions of casualties by both the Axis and the Allied Powers. Though the war began in Europe in 1914, the United States was able to remain out of it until April 6, 1917, joining the fight on the side of the European Allies until the end; November 11, 1918. My grandfather, Frank Ralston, born in Lonaconing Maryland, was one of the “Doughboys” as they were called, and enlisted in the Marine Corp in 1917, but like many who have served said nothing of his contributions to the war effort. He also said nothing of his age, as he was 15 or so when he joined. He had no birth certificate so really couldn’t prove his age. He was an infantryman, a ground pounder, a grunt or in other words a part of the front lines which in those days were soldiers who were mired in the mud and filth of the trenches. He was a Marine in the Second Division under the command of Major General John A. Lejeune for whom Camp Lejeune was named. He was also a casualty of the war in that he was hit with the poison gas called Mustard Gas, and carried with him a cough for the rest of his life, eventually dying partially from the effects of the gas. He was determined to be disabled upon his discharge and received $5 per month disability pay for his medical condition.
My grandfather was a friendly man and worked hard until his retirement as a machinist, but the event that I remember most about him was during his final days on earth. As my grandfather became weaker, my grandparents came to live with us and during this time my cousin from West Virginia came with his parents to say their goodbyes. At the time he was in the Marine Corp, so my grandmother asked if he would wear his dress blues when he came. I was with him when he walked into the bedroom to see my grandfather who immediately perked up, sat up with a smile on his face and said “Finally I get to see a real man”, referring to the Marines. They talked for a short time but I could tell how happy he was to once again see the uniform of his branch of service and I realized how much it meant to him. When we left his room all he said was “See you, Marine”.
It was later on that my grandmother told me that she received a phone call from a man who asked to speak with Frank, my grandfather. After she told him that he had passed away, the man said he was sorry and that she must be very proud of him. When she asked him why, he told her that Frank was his friend and he had saved his life during the war and that he wanted to use his name in a book that he was writing. My grandfather had carried him to safety after he had found the man wounded on the battlefield. He said that my grandfather was awarded a medal for his actions during the fight of which my grandmother knew nothing about. These were the heroes of that time, when they were concerned more about others than themselves, and did not do things expecting rewards or admiration.
I loved my grandparents and learned much from them. Their love and values have been passed on to me, and being the oldest of their grandchildren I will never intentionally do anything to dishonor the memories they have left with me. I miss them both and still love them dearly. May God grant my grandfather peace and may He ease his pain.
Senior Chief Tod Lyons (right) with son MST3 Jared Lyons following Jared’s graduation from A School in Yorktown, VA
I was shipped off to boot camp in Cape May, NJ on Sept. 19, 1983 and graduated eight weeks later on Nov. 11, 2003. I remember this day specifically because our company (Tango 116) graduated in the 11th month, on the 11thday at the 11th hour, which of course is Veterans Day.
My duty assignments over 20 years took me to Maine, Washington State, New Yok, New Jersey, North Carolina, Alaska and Virginia. Various deployments for large drug interdiction operations, oil spill response and even international exercises took me to the Caribbean, the Galapagos Islands, and over the International date line to Japan and Russia. While I may not have served in war zones like many veterans, I did serve two tours on the Coast Guard Strike Force, a special force according to the National Contingency Plan and experts at oil and chemical spill pollution control from major incidents and national disasters such as hurricanes and floods.
Strike Force duty includes some diverse operations. Some of the more notable events I responded to included: 600,000 gallons of crude oil on the pristine beaches of the Condado Plaza in San Juan, PR during Three Kings Day celebration; an oil well blowout in Timbalier Bay just of the coast of the Louisiana delta; 500,000 gallons of heavy oil that flowed down the Mississippi River from Arkansas to Louisiana impacting marshes and swamps full of alligators and other aquatic life; more than 400,000 gallons of No 4 heating oil spilled off San Cristobel Island in the Galapagos Islands – the most ecologically sensitive place on the planet; and a train derailment and fire in a Baltimore tunnel near Camden Yards where a chemical spilled and burned for many days, forcing the cancellation of Baltimore Oriole baseball games.
During my second tour at the Strike Force, America and the world remembers the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Towers that occurred Sept. 11, 2001. I deployed as a first responder driving through the night from Elizabeth City, NC to arrive at the Coast Guard command post early the next morning on Staten Island. I remember having to go through seven military check points just to get to the Coast Guard command post, where we set up shop to deal with media from all over the world.
The Big Apple and the Port of New York and New Jersey was pretty much locked down following the attack, something that probably hadn’t happened there since the Prohibition days. Ground zero looked like a war zone and at one time the Coast Guard had deployed 43 vessels to provide port security in New York Harbor. Nothing could move on the water without Coast Guard permission. As the 20-hour days ticked away, by day three we had 22 people assigned to the Joint Information Center trying to meet the international media’s needs during this disaster. I served as the Deputy Information Officer for the Joint Information Center, which was made up of reps from multiple federal and state agencies.
My promotion to Senior Chief Petty Officer at the Strike Force meant another move, this time to the Coast Guard’s Atlantic Area Command 45 minutes north in Portsmouth, VA. There I served as the Assistant Public Affairs Officer for the Atlantic Area which handled Coast Guard public relations, media relations and community relations for the Coast Guard from the Canadian border to the Caribbean and as far west as the Mississippi River, and Coast Guard In-theater operations for Operation Iraqi Freedom
By now I had served more than 18 years on active duty. So, my original thought to “Do four years and get out” had long gone by the wayside. I had seen much of the US and portions of the world during my Coast Guard service that I would never had seen myself had I stayed in Vermont. But, I figured it was time to retire. My official retirement date was Dec. 1, 2003, 20 years, 2 months and 12 days from the first day I enlisted out of Springfield, MA back in 1983.
I really enjoyed my time in the Coast Guard and am proud of my service to our country.
Veterans Buried in Murphy’s Historical Cemeteries
· 1837 – 1901 Louisiana
· Enlisted in Waterproof, Louisiana as a Corporal, 1st Regiment Louisiana Cavalry, Company K – Louisiana Dragoons of Catahoula Parish
· His horse was valued at $160 and his equipment at $20
· The Regiment was outside the state of Louisiana from November 1861 until April 1864 and participated in more than 75 engagements during this period
· The Regiment was ordered back to Louisiana and continued to fight in the eastern Louisiana and western Mississippi area
· Corporal Ward was furloughed home January 22, 1863, for 30 days by a surgeon but the reason is unknown
· The family moved to Collin County, Texas before the 1880 census
The George Bumpass buried in this cemetery is not the George Bumpass who fought in the Civil War
· The marker was installed by the Sons of the Confederacy
· It is not known where the George W. Bumpass from the Civil War is buried but he was 23 when he served
· Company C, 16th North Carolina Infantry, Company A, 27th North Carolina Infantry
· The birth and death dates are not that of the war veteran, but of the George W. Bumpass actually buried in this cemetery; January 15, 1810 – August 21, 1885; this would have meant he would have been in his 50’s during the war
· 1832 – 1915 Arkansas
· The family moved to Texas in about 1855
· Enlisted as a Corporal 16th Regiment for Captain Gabriel Fitzhugh Company H
· In early 1682 the 16th became the Dismounted Cavalry
· Battles involving the 16th included Round Hill, on Cache River in 1862, Millikens Bend in 1863, Red River Campaign, Camden Expedition, Mansfield, Pleasant Hill and Jenkins Ferry
· The 16th was surrendered by General E.K. Smith, Commanding Trans Mississippi department in May 1865
· He was promoted to Sergeant at some time before the war ended
· He served with James Dunlap, Milton Turner, and William Bowman
· 1828 – 1886 From Tennessee
· He joined a Collin County unit in 1862
· 16thTexas Cavalry, Company H, Fitzhugh’s Regiment, the Third Regiment Johnson’s Brigade
· His horse was valued at $125 and his equipment $30
· He originally enlisted for one year, however he received $35 for transportation from McKinney, Texas to Louisiana when he re-enlisted with the Confederacy as a Private and was promoted to Sergeant Dunlap served in the same Regiment as William Bowman and Milton Turner, and the same Company as Turner and Williford
· After serving in the Confederacy, he became Justice of the Peace
· He and his wife came to Texas in 1851
· 1831 – 1879 Georgia
· He enlisted as a Private in the 23rd Alabama Infantry Company K-Peter’s Brigade, Johnson’s Army
· He was a Wagoneer during 1862
· He was hospitalized in Selma, Alabama on April 2, 1862, for diarrhea; medical records indicate that he suffered from for over a year
· On July 4, 1863, Private Gates was captured at Vicksburg, Mississippi by the 20thOhio Volunteers
· On July 8, 1882 he was forced to sign papers stating he would not take up arms against the United States and swore an oath to the paroling officers
· Private Gates escaped and was captured a second time on December 16, 1864, near Nashville, Tennessee
· He was sent to Camp Douglas, Louisville, Kentucky until the end of the war
· He moved his family to Texas in 1865 or 66
· Collin County census has them living in Collin County in 1870
· 1835 – 1882 Kentucky
· Enlisted as a Private 3rd Kentucky Cavalry, Company F which was part of the Union Army
· He eventually was promoted to the rank of First Sergeant
· The 3rd Kentucky was mustered into the U.S. service with the 12thKentucky at Calhoun, Kentucky by Major W.W. Sidwell. The unit fought 14 major battles including Shiloh and Resaca
· In 1869 he was married in Collin County, Texas
· The 1870 census states the James and his wife were living in Murphy with her parents
· James died of a sun stroke
· 1892 – 1931 Tennessee
· He was drafted 1917 – 1918
· On his draft card he said he wasn’t fit to serve because of asthma but the Army had other ideas
· Not much is known about his military service
· 359thInfantry, 90th Division Private First Class
· At the time he registered for the draft he was listed as a single farmer living in the Murphy area
· He died of consumption and he has a government issues marker
· 1824 – 1879 Illinois
· Enlisted with Chisum’s Regiment Texas Cavalry – Dismounted – also known as 2ndTexas Partisan Rangers – Stone’s -and was accepted into Confederate service at Tahlequah, Indian Territory
· John obtained the rank of 3rd Lieutenant and resigned due to health issues. A military physician confirmed he had a spinal affliction and would be incapable of performing his duties
· According to the 1860 census, John and his family lived in Collin County, Texas where he was a Justice of Peace and Collin County Commissioner
· He died from blood poisoning
· 1825 – 1900 Alabama
· Enlisted in 1861 4th Alabama Marion Light Infantry, Company G under Captain Porter King.
· The unit was sent to Virginia to General Bernard Bee’s Third Brigade.
· It became part of General Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia
· It took part in the Battles of Bull Run, Seven Pines, Malvern Hill, Boonsboro, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, Chickamauga, and Knoxville
· They surrendered at Appomattox under Lieutenant Colonial Scruggs
· It is not known when he moved to Texas
· 1825-1917 Tennessee
· He moved to Texas before the Civil War
· He joined the military in Breckenridge, which is now Richardson, Texas in 1862 at age 32
· Corporal in the 19th Texas Cavalry – Company K – Buford’s Regiment and was promoted to Sergeant by the end of the year
· The 19th Texas Cavalry was part of Parsons Texas Brigade and was involved in the Arkansan actions against the Union in protecting Little Rock, Arkansas, and other areas
· He was captured in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1864 and it is unclear if he spent the remainder of the war as a Prisoner of War
· He was the first schoolteacher in Murphy
· 1843 – 1879 Mississippi
· He enlisted in McKinney, Texas as a Private 16th Regiment Texas Cavalry, Company H
· One month after he enlisted, the 16th became Dismounted Cavalry
· He received a 60-day furlough in 1864 for unknown reasons
· The 16th Regiment was surrendered by General E.K. Smith, Commanding Trans Mississippi department in 1865
· Private Turner served in Company H with James Dunlap and Henderson Williford
· He came to Collin County, Texas in about 1857
He was a farm laborer
· 1835 – 1912 Tennessee
· Enlisted in 1861 in Marion, Arkansas with Captain J.W. Clark’s Independent Company of Tennessee Cavalry that was an escort to Major General Buckner during most of the war
· Private Kirkwood was captured twice by Union forces and spent time at the Federal Prison in Louisville, Kentucky
· Union records indicate that Private Kirkwood took the Federal Oath of Allegiance on May 16, 1865
· The 1880 census has the Kirkwood’s living in Collin County, Texas where Robert worked as a blacksmith
· 1802-1871 Illinois
· Served in the Black Hawk war of 1832 as a private in Captain Solomon Pruitt’s Company of Illinois Volunteers
· The war was between settlers of Illinois and Wisconsin and the Sauk and Fox Indians
· A young Abraham Lincoln also fought in this war
· Beck moved his family to Collin County around 1845 as part of them Peter’s Colony land grant
· He sold the land as soon as he got to Collin County and lived near Dublin which was located between Plano and Murphy near Dublin Road
· Dublin later became Murphy
· Sanford had land in several towns and operated a whiskey distillery in Clear Lake
· At the time of his death he was living with his daughter in Murphy
· 1815 – 1892 North Carolina or Georgia
· Enlisted in Hawkinsville, Georgia as a Private 10th Regiment Georgia Volunteer Infantry, Company G, as did all three of his sons. They all four served together.
· The 10th Regiment was part of the Army of Northern Virginia and fought on many battlefields including Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, The Wilderness and Appomattox. Of the 303 who saw action at Gettysburg, 32% were killed, wounded, or missing
· A medical report from C.S.A. General Hospital in Farmville, Virginia, shows that Seabourn was admitted to the #7 Ward on October 3, 1862, for rheumatism and returned to duty on October 29, 1862
· 1880 census shows his family living in Lowndes County, Georgia and Seabourn operating a turpentine farm
· It is not known when the family moved to Texas but records show that his son, Charles, was married in Collin County, Texas in 1889
· It is not known where in the cemetery Seabourn is buried. The marker was placed in the cemetery in 1967 by Oscar and Arthur Southall, Seabourn’s grandsons
· 1841 – 1916 Missouri
· Brother of Milton Turner
· Moved to Texas in 1855 and enlisted in McKinney, 9th Texas Infantry, Company I, Joe Dixon’s Company of Colonel Sam Bell Maxey’s Regiment
· He may have fought in the Battle of Shiloh as a courier before he was discharged early in 1862 due to the measles
· He re-enlisted in another Regiment but it is not sure which one
· After the war he worked in a gin
· 1841-1884 Tennessee
· He enlisted in McKinney where his horse was valued at $140 and his equipment at $40
· Served as a Private in the 16th Cavalry-Company B, Fitzhugh’s Regiment, the Third Regiment of Johnson’s Brigade, C. S. A.
· Battles included Round Hill in 1862, Millikens Bend in 1863, Red River Campaign, Camden Expedition, Mansfield, Pleasant Hill and Jenkins Ferry in 1864
· The 16th was surrendered to General E.K. Smith, Commanding Tran-Mississippi department on May 26, 1865
· Records show that he was Married in Collin County, Texas in 1869
Some records that he died the same day as his father, Benjamin Bowman
1831 – 1896 South Carolina
· 1863 he enlisted with 5th Regiment South Carolina Infantry, Company E
· Private Kidd was treated for remittent fever Chimborazo Hospital in Virginia from July 16, 1863 to August 14, 1863
· In July 1864 he was promoted to 3 Corporal
· In September 1864 he was wounded in battle at Chaffin’s Farm in Richmond-Petersburg Campaign
· Corporal Kidd was admitted to Jackson General Hospital and furloughed for 60 days while recovering from a wound about the face
· He moved to Texas in 1913 until his death
· He has two markers in the cemetery, one from his family and one government military issued
· The government issued marker is correct. The middle initial is wrong on the family furnished marker
· The 1910 census has William living with his son in North Carolina. According to his death certificate he came to live with his daughter, Margaret Boyd and family in Texas in 1913
· 1836 – 1898 Tennessee
· Enlisted in McKinney, Texas Martin’s Regiment Texas Cavalry, Company C, 5thMounted Partisan Rangers
· He was given an allowance for his horse of $175 and his equipment $25
· The 5th Cavalry Partisan Rangers were mustered into Confederate service at Fort Washita, Indian Territory (present day Oklahoma) by Brigadier General Albert Pike. The Regiment consisted of Martin’s Texas Cavalry Battalion and Randolph’s Texas Cavalry Battalion.
· They participated in several skirmishes and battles during the war, mostly in the Indian Territory and the Northers Sub-District of Texas
· The 5th Partisan Rangers were disbanded near Houston, Texas in May 1865
· William Parker can to Collin County, Texas in 1855
· The town of Parker is named after him
· He owned a cotton gin and was blacksmith
All Information can be Found in the Decatur Maxwell Murphy Cemetery Book Volume 2 Compiled by Joy Gough 2018