Remembering Bulloch County residents who died in wartime service
World War I
Dexter Allen, William Baker, Brooks Beasley, Lawson Bell, Willie Brannen, George Guy Burgess, Ernest Cannon Carswell Deal, Edwin DeLoach, George Falagan, Cephas Feelings, Herbert Folsom, Paul R. Groover, Neal H. Hagan, Jesse Lewis, Clarence Lyons, Blitch Parrish, Solomon Raymond, Thomas Raymond, Walter Sanders, John M. Sheffield, Louis O. Stanford, James Stewart, Claude B. Terry, Homer Van Buren Warnock and James W. Williams.
World War II
European Area of Conflict
Albert Allen, John D. Arnett, Inman Beasley, John T. Box, Dan C. Branson Jr., William H. Bryant, James O. Cooper, Erastus Don Ellis, Olice R. Evans, James H. Futch Jr., Thomas Hendley, James M. Hendrix, Herman Lavonne Hodges, William G. Holloway, Charles Hunnicutt, James Alvin Lanier, Jemison B. Lynn, Leonard E. Mincey, Cecil Morris, R. Earl Newton, Gerald B. Newton, George W. Oglesby, Austin K. Pennington, Jackie (Jake) Pennington, Berton H. Ramsey Jr., Troy J. Reddick, Barney W. Shelnutt, J.I. Shurling, Erastus D. Sills, Rufus A. Small, Rufus B. Stephens, Clifton Summerlin, James Walter Swint, Charles T. Thorton, Cecil Turner, Charles D. Wall, William D. Ward, Roland D. Warnock, Floyd B. Waters, Jack B. White, Ellis E. Williams, Hardy Talmadge Womack, John Gilbert Woodward and Frank R. Zetterower Jr.
Pacific Area of Conflict
James V. Anderson, Alfred C. Barnes, John C. Buie Jr., Barney J. Chester, Leroy Cowart Jr., John F. Darley Jr., Pierce Darwin DeLoach, Kelly Bruce Dickerson, Clyde Thomas Dixon, Bill M. Gerrald, Carl L. Gordy, F. Glen Hodges, Arthur J. Howell, Archie Redell Martin, Charles T. Martin, Carrol Minick, Earnest J. Poindexter Jr., Rupert R. Riggs, Jack L. Suddath and Albert A. Ward. ((45-64???)))
Larry B. Akins, David Chance, James A. Hunnicutt, Charles H. Lord Jr., George D. Tillman and Thomas Crosby.
James R. Brannen, Hubert F. Brinson, Lenard Coleman, Jessie W. Conner, David L. DeLoach, Luther M. Jones, Michael T. Row.
Afghanistan and Iraq Wars
Mathew Gibbs, Charles H. Warren, Dennis P. Merck, Jerry L. Ganey, Brock H. Chavers, Isaac L. Johnson, Thomas Lee Moore, Judd Brinson and Chester J. McBride III.
A light breeze kept the flags fluttering as about 40 people gathered for the Memorial Day 2021 service intoning of the names of Bulloch County’s military service people who died in conflicts from World War I to the present.
American Legion Dexter Allen Post 90 hosted Monday’s observance in the open air, since at the time of planning pandemic concerns still prevented the traditional program inside the Emma Kelly Theater. Instead, the location was in front of the Bulloch County Judicial Annex where stands the American Legion monument “Dedicated to the Memory of the Veterans of All Wars.”
"This day is sacred with the almost visible presence of those who have gone before us,” said Post 90 Commander Marvin Grimm. “We honor the memory of those who gave their lives in the service of our country. … May the ceremonies of today deepen our reverence for departed friends and comrades. Let us renew our pledge of loyalty to our country and its flag. Let us resolve by word and deed to emphasize the privilege and duty of patriotism.”
Grimm is a veteran of the Vietnam War, where he served as a U.S. Navy hospital corpsman assigned to treat Marines wounded in ground combat. Twice wounded himself, he was awarded two Purple Hearts and the Navy Achievement Medal.
“The real unsung heroes were family members,” Grimm said before the service. “You know, they give up a lot emotionally to allow their loved ones to go, not knowing when they’re coming back.”
The first named
When Bob Marsh recited the names of 26 Bulloch County citizens who died on duty in World War I, the first name was “Dexter Allen.” The American Legion post is named for the first soldier from Bulloch County killed in action in World War I , which lasted from 1914 to 1918, with the United States directly involved from April 1917 until the armistice of November 1918.
Marsh, a Vietnam era Navy veteran, also intoned the names of 64 known Bulloch County military service members who died on duty in World War II, 1941-1945, and of six who died during the Korean War, 1950-1953. He, like the other readers, paused to literally salute those whose names he read.
“I think it’s really important that we keep track of who’s defending us,” Marsh said before the service. “Freedom isn’t free. It takes some effort, and we should also honor the people that are in our military now, and I think we do, pretty much.”
Randy Brigman, who recited the names of Bulloch County’s service members who died in the Vietnam War, first noted the names of two soldiers from other parts of the country who died that conflict.
“Two of my friends were killed that were really close, and so I always remember them along with the guys that were killed from here in Bulloch County,” he said before the ceremony. “I remember them and I call their names as well. I sort of choke up, but I’ll get through it.”
Having volunteered to go, Brigman was with U.S. Army Advisor Teams 26, Team 8, in Vietnam in 1964-65, when U.S. involvement in that long war was still escalating from an officially advisory role to full intervention. The friends he remembers, PFC Peter Matthew Feierabend and PFC John Francis Shea, died in February and March 1964, serving with Military Police units.
Originally from North Carolina, Brigman remained in the Army for a full career, retiring out of Fort Stewart in 1978 and becoming a Bulloch County resident.
Another retired career soldier, William Adams, intoned the names of nine Bulloch County citizen warriors who died in the recent Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Adams is an Army veteran of both conflicts.
“As memory fades, there’s a lot of people who don’t remember the folks that passed, and it’s important that people know what these people’s names were, and maybe they’ll take the time one day to look up who they were and the lives that they lived and what they sacrificed,” he said before the ceremony.
This could also be a good class assignment for students in school, Adams suggested.
The simple service consisted of the posting of the American and Georgia flags by Bulloch County Sheriff’s Honor Guard members Deputy Aneshia Best Hill, Sgt. Andy Nay and Capt. Kenneth Thompson, the placement of a wreath by American Legion members and the intoning of names and some prayers.
Lonnie Ellis, American Legion Dexter Allen Post 90 commander-elect, said one of the prayers. He is slated to be installed in that office next month as Grimm steps down after a three-year tenure.
“Every year, every day we have a chance to thank those veterans who served, to thank them for their service, but today we set aside to truly honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice,” Ellis said before the ceremony. “This is what this day is about.”
Friday, American Legion member veterans, assisted by some local Boy Scouts and their family members, had placed small U.S. flags at the graves of more than 2,500 veterans in almost 40 cemeteries across Bulloch County, plus wreaths at two other downtown Statesboro monuments.