“ … Be ever mindful that the American flag and the dignity and value of America’s freedoms must never be taken for granted. The blood, sacrifices and lives of countless patriots were an awesome price to pay for the liberties of this land called America.”
— From the legacy of The Honor and Remembrance Medallion
LAKE BROWNWOOD — Honoring a specific group of military veterans was the focus of a ceremony held Sunday at the American Legion Post 470 building at North Lake Brownwood.
Through the efforts of the Excalibur Chapter 176 of the Non-Commissioned Officers Association, 11 World War II veterans were awarded the World War II Patriotic Medallion of Honor and Respect.
Vicky Hensley, United States Marine Corps Veteran and chairman of the Excalibur Chapter, said the medallion ceremony “is just one small way” to say thank you.
“This is a way for all of us to recognize this group of veterans for their service, honor and sacrifice,” Hensley said. “These men here today were there for their country when they were needed most.”
Recognizing and honoring World War II vets has been a process that has “taken way too long,” Hensley said.
“Many people are just now starting to realize the uniqueness of this generation. Their stories and experiences have been amazing.”
Hensley encouraged the recipients to “write down” their stories so they wouldn’t be “lost.”
Former Brown County Judge Ernest Cadenhead, member of American Legion Post 196, Brownwood, and member of the Excalibur Chapter, introduced the honorees and offered a small biography on each.
The honorees included:
• Troy “Cowboy” Mounce — Born in 1928. Inducted into the Army Air Force in May 1946. Served at Clark Field in the Philippines.
• J.L. Gandy — Born in 1925. Joined the Navy in 1946. Served on several vessels including the USS Washburn and USS Magoffin.
• Doyle Easterling — Born in 1927. Joined the Navy in 1943. Was stationed in San Diego, Calif., and served on the USS Eastland, named for Eastland County, Texas.
• Leonard James — Born in 1927. Joined the Navy in 1945. Attended training in San Diego and was assigned to the Cruiser Duluth and the Salisbury Sound.
• Glen Bailey — Born in 1922. Joined the Army Air Force in 1940. Stationed at Fort Bliss and had assignments in England and Germany.
• James Clark — Born in 1927. Joined the Army Air Force in 1945. After training, became an instructor in aircraft propellers.
• Franklin Ward Jr. — Born in 1927. Joined the Navy in 1945. Assigned to Fort Shoemaker and later assigned to USS Butner.
• James A. Johnson — Born in 1929. Joined the Army in 1946. After basic training, transferred to the Army Air Force. Stationed at Walker Air Force Base.
• Homer West — Born in 1925. Joined the Marine Corps in 1943. After training at Camp Pendleton, Calif., was assigned to the USS Panamint.
• Walter Wood — Born in 1922. Joined the Army Air Force in 1942. After training, completed assignments at Fort Sill, Okla., and Garden City, Kan.
Unable to attend was James W. Johnson, who is at home recuperating after a heart attack, officials said during the ceremony.
“We will try to set up a time and take his medal to him at home,” Cadenhead said.
Every service member who served with the Allied Forces during World War II is eligible for the medallion, thanks to a 1993 act of Congress.
Sunday’s ceremony, the Brownwood area’s seventh, brings the total number of local or area recipients to 74.