Eight veterans of World War II were honored for their service Sunday with presentations of the World War II Patriotic Medallion of Honor and Respect.
Officials from the Non-Commissioned Officers Association at Dyess Air Force Base in Abilene made the presentations, the third time they have held a ceremony in Brownwood in recent months.
“Each one is very deserving indeed,” association Chairman Vicky Hensley said. “It’s such a pleasure to meet these individuals… We’ve been presenting these awards for three years, and just as soon as we think we have an area saturated, we hear of several veterans we have missed.”
To underscore that point, the association made an unplanned award to a veteran - Bob Bearden - who had come to the ceremonies at the Brownwood Coliseum Annex to see his friend Roy Spence honored. Bearden has authored a book about his World War II experiences, “To D-Day and Back.”
Other honorees recognized Sunday were J.D. Chastain, Albert Cox, Arthur Durtschi, Marshall Hill, Harry Marlin and Nelson Turnbow.
The ceremony was hosted by the World War II Medallion Committee of the American Legion Post 196. Jerry Don McSwain is post commander.
Before Bearden joined the list, association officials had labeled the group being honored as the “magnificent seven.”
“The magnificent seven - what a great time to have you gentlemen out and say some things about your military service,” past NCO association chairman Carl Johnson said. “We appreciate your service so very much.”
Turnbow spoke for the group in a brief response: “I want to express my appreciation to the Non-Commissioned Officers Association of Abilene for what you’ve done,” he said. “I feel honored to be with these gentlemen. I know that they think of their time in the service every day, as I do.”
“These medallions are presented with dignity and respect to those who answered the call to service,” Hensley said in concluding remarks. “You left the safety of home, family and friends and risked life and limb to extend the basic rights of freedom to others you did not know. Your service must never be forgotten. You served with valor, sacrifice and fidelity, and that must be known by and burned into the hearts of every generation.”
Each presentation was preceded by the reading of a biography of the honoree by Johnson.