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Editor’s note: Veterans Remembered is the second in a series written in support of the Veterans Monument being built for all veterans of Lancaster County in hopes it will stimulate readers to remember those veterans who touched their lives and provide support for the Veterans
The response received from Veterans Remembered has been tremendous. A gratitude of thanks to each of you who responded and to the news media for its part in agreeing to follow the project to completion.
I couldn’t accomplish the writing portion that is needed for the Veterans Project without help from my brother, James, who is a fellow veteran of 22 years with the Air Force. He retired as a senior master sergeant in 1976 and lives on Ussery Road. James proofs everything I write and provides research as needed.
In the last Veterans Remembered, I told you Capt. William R. Ussery was killed in the South Pacific flying a British Lancaster Bomber. James was able to obtain a restricted declassified report that lists William R. Ussery as a first lieutenant, and not a captain, and the plane was an LB30 which is a B-24 Liberator and not a Lancaster Bomber. The three-page report was fascinating with burial details, grave marking, bomb demolition, search for personal effects and destruction of classified items and documents.
William R. Ussery crashed and died July 30, 1942, on Pinzon Island. Search began for the wreckage 15 months later on Oct. 30, 1943. William’s remains were later exhumed and he was formally interred in 1948 in the Chattanooga National Military Cemetery with full military honors.
Reading the three-page crash report brought back memories of my mother telling me of another plane crash in 1943 on a hot summer day right here in Lancaster County. It was on Cauthen land across the road from the Ussery farm.
My brother, Patrick, told me it was a T6 Army trainer with two military personnel aboard and the plane had touched down in a couple of pastures and lifted off again. It continued to struggle in flight before it crashed. He said people from all the farms around rushed to the crash site and the Clements boys, riding a club footed mule, were the first to arrive. Brother James told me he saw the plane crash and followed others to the crash site across the Cauthen property down a logging road. He told me it was too much for a 7-year old boy and he had to be brought home by Harold Threatt. Mother told of trying to give comfort and aid but the trauma caused by the crash to their bodies was too great. Both these young men died that hot summer day in Lancaster County in the service of their country.
I don’t know who they were but they are remembered today as we read Veterans Remembered.
In my own family my sister, Jennie, married a veteran, Harry Duffield III, who served in the Virginia Air National Guard. My brothers, Patrick and James, enlisted in the Air Force as well as cousin Rambo Haile.
Up the road a mile, World War I Navy veteran Frank Stover Sr., had twin sons, Frank Jr., and Leslie, and I believe the “Big Breeze” got both of them. That’s World War II military lingo for the draft.
Across the road from the Stovers lived J. Miller Knight, a highly decorated World War II veteran. He was quietly raising a family with wife, Annie Grace.
Many of us are impacted daily by the life of J. Miller Knight each time we go to Bantam Chef. Sue Sullivan is the youngest daughter of Annie Grace and J. Miller Knight. J. Miller Knight served with distinction in World War II and he is remembered today.
Veterans Remembered reminds us today of the living and the dead, of sacrifices made, of lives lost, of a price paid in blood for this nation. Veterans Remembered provides an avenue that we can honor those loved ones by placing their name on the Veterans Monument.
Cost to place a veterans name on the monument is $250.
If you want to provide support for the project you can purchase a brick paver for $100.00 and your name or the name of a business on the paver.
For details, call me at (803) 273-5146.