Their Stories



Last modified: Monday September 25, 2017


Their Stories and Service

… “They don't think of themselves as heroes or as doing anything special. 

It was a job and they did it....”  

                                                 ~ Submitted by one of the wives


 *** John Grissett – Class of 1944:  WWII, but not a fighter!


 *** Holt Crawford, Class of 1954:   Many thanks to John Grissett for his appeal for stories from remaining WW II vets. My oldest brother, William H. Crawford, (Holt) AHS '41, was a Merchant Marine all through the war and because he wasn't a combat vet, didn't think his stories were worthy to be heard. In spite of my pleas, he was adamant and never did write about his experiences. He has been incapacitated as the result of a severe stroke a few years ago, so I'd like to pass along his D Day story as best that I remember.

A few weeks before D Day his convoy arrived in England - - - I'll save his personal exploit stories from his arrival until D Day for another forum. His ship had been 'a rusty old bucket of bolts' left over from WW I and was selected to go over and be sunk as part of the sea barrier for the landing barges bringing supplies, etc. I believe he said this was a day or two after D Day. He made sure that he was included when the Captain asked for a few volunteers to go over. Anyway, when his ship was properly positioned in the barrier line, he got permission from the Capt. to depress the plunger to set off the dynamite that had been rigged in the bottom of the ship. He said that as it settled toward the bottom, he and the other volunteers went ashore and waited on the beach for their return to England. He said that as he was waiting, he saw a group of German prisoners off to one side and walked over. One spoke English and asked for a cigarette. He said he gave him the whole pack and asked how they were feeling about having been captured. He said the soldier said that he and his friends were the happiest they had been in years - they were prisoners of the US Army and would live to see the end of this stupid war. He said about that time a burly sergeant who was guarding the prisoners grabbed him and worked him over verbally for talking to the prisoners, told him to get the hell back where he belonged, etc.

He said that on D Day everyone was awed almost beyond speech at the sight of the massive armada. I wonder how many there still are that were there and saw that once ever sight. Relatively few, I'm afraid.

Brother Holt, my personal WW II hero, was in convoys in both the Pacific and Atlantic. He said on one occasion somewhere in the Atlantic, his ship came to the aid of another that was dead in the water due to some malfunction. As repairs were being made the seamen were yelling back and forth and one asked where he was from. He answered and was told that the other ship also had a Ga. cracker on board. The person happened to also be from Albany, but I can't remember his name.

Holt was a seaman (not sure if Merchant Marines have ranks) throughout the war. Our Mother was the main force resulting in his going to a maritime school after the war. This led eventually to his obtaining Masters papers and being the first ever Georgia person voted into the Crescent City Pilots Association. He retired several years ago and now has two sons and a son-in-law that are all Miss. River Pilots. Quite a hero!

Holt's stubbornness to record his great stories were the inspiration and motivation for me to write about some of my VN memories, but none even come close to comparing to his.

*** From a friend of Jon Crawford’s: My hat is off to Holt.  He and the other Maritime men of his era took risks for us at home that we can only read about.

*** Jon Crawford: Most our age were not doing anything nearly as memorable. I remember playing out in the yard and wondering what all the excitement was about.

In spite of the dangers and the necessity for maritime convoys, I'm told the Merchant Marines were resented during the war. Holt remembered signs posted outside USO halls that stated everyone was welcome except dogs and Merchant Marines. They were paid better with bonuses for certain missions, etc., probably causing the resentment.

On one of his first convoys, Holt saw one of the other ships blown apart. He said as an 18 yr kid, he was so scared he was shaking. One of the more senior Mates sent him up to paint the crows nest and while hanging on as the sea tossed the ship around, his fear of falling took the place of the fear of the ship being hit. I'll save some of his more salty stories till our reunion in Oct.

*** Jay Beck, Class of 1962:  US Air Force - 1966 - 1970 - One tour in SE Asia.

*** Henry L (Hinky) Dunn, Class of 1959: Thanks for the recognition of military service. There are not many that serve any more and I believe they miss a blessing. It isn't something I would want to do over, but I'll never forget the experience.  Vietnam-1st Cavalry-1965-66

*** Jon Anderson, Class of 1953: I went into the Marine Corp from 1953 till 1956 and then attended Auburn and graduated in 1959. We have lived in Tuscaloosa Alabama, home of the University of Alabama, for almost 44 years.

*** Bridges Simmons, Class of 50 Albany High:  Military Service, Navy 1951-1954 - Korean Conflict

*** Chuck McCorvey, Class of 1955:  In response to your query re military service I'd like to enter my name. Charles H. McCorvey, Sr. commonly known as Chuck, served in the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. National Security Agency.

*** Dan Brooks (D), Class of 1956: I missed the Normandy invasion since I was only six years old at the time.  However, while in the Air Force,  I was stationed about 150 miles from Paris.  Tough duty, but somebody's got to do it. I did valiantly defend the lily-livered French from the nasty aggressive Germans who were prone to invade them every decade or two. 

*** James Fort, AHS Class of 1960:  U.S. Army 1966-1969

*** Don Du Bose, Class of 1960:  I served in the Army from 4 April 1962 and retired on 30 Sep 85.  I am an alumni of the Class of 1960.  I further supported the military by working at the Marine Base for another 21 1/2 years.  I retired with 45 years of service to our country on 30 Jun 2007.  My two sons also served this country and are also retired from active duty; one from the Air Force and the youngest son from the Navy.  US Army (Retired)  229-291-1656

*** Daniel Roy Lipsey, Class of 1956:  My service time can in no way compare to "The Greatest Generation", those who served in WW II.  However, I am proud to have served just prior to the Viet Nam Conflict.  Below is a brief summary of my service time:

I was honored to serve during peace time in the USAF from Nov '56 - Aug '60.  Basic training was at Lackland AFB and technical school was at March AFB, CA.  I served two years at Shiroi AB in Japan. My final year was spent at Ft. G.G Meade, MD.  Later, I became a Special Research Analyst for the Dept of Defense at Ft. Meade, retiring in 1993.  After 9/11/2001, I was honored to serve at the DOD again from 2003-2006.

May God Bless America. (2 Chron. 7:14).  In God We Still Trust.

*** Sonny Logan, Class of 1948, served in the United States Navy for 5 years - 1948-1953.  He was stationed aboard the USS Repose, a hospital ship, as a corpsman.  The Korean War broke out in 1951, I think, during his time in the Navy. 
~ Submitted by his wife: Betty Dunn Logan, Class of 1949

*** Patricia Anderson Solomon, Class of 1962:  I joined the Navy October 1963,was sworn in the Navy in Macon, GA. I took my basic training Bainbridge, Maryland After Basic, my duty station was Naval Air Station, Norfolk, VA.  I was honorably discharged in 1966.  Navy Waves served only 3 years.


*** Van Knowles, Class of 1958, US Navy during the Viet Nam war '67-69.  My dad died in the Philippines serving in the US Army in 1945 during WW II and is buried in Manila.

*** E. G. Beckwith, Class of 1961:  Served in US Air Force.  Joined via UGA AFROTC 1966 as a Second Lieutenant and retired in 1992; rank: Colonel.

*** Tom Herrington, Class of 1956: It was an awesome day when I had to report to the creaky old person in that creaky old room in the creaky old US Post Office to sign up for the draft. I wasn't even half creaky yet, but Local Board Number 48 did its job and assigned me draft number 9 48 38 74. I was proud to be an American, but I also wanted to go to college...

So, after signing an OBV-1 agreement with the US Army, my draft status was shelved as I attended the North Avenue Trade School and plugged away in the US Army ROTC, which was where I ended up because I also had to Co-op my way thru school, and the Navy did not allow that option in their ROTC program..  I just convinced myself that the Army would not be so bad, because I would have a better seat to see the action and carnage more up close than those in the Navy...


After getting my papers from the Trade School, I went directly to Fort Belvoir, VA., and started a training routine for all those things I would be expected to later do. After learning how to hit the ground with not too loud a thump, I served as XO and then CO of the training company at the Paratroop Training School at Ft. Benning - which was a company made up of two officers and around 200 NCOs, all of which had specialties in teaching how to safely hit the ground from a moving vehicle at 1250 feet up.

Then, on to Korea where I served in the First Calvary Division in another curious unit comprised of a Major, a Captain, two Lieutenants (one being me) and twenty NCOs, where I learned to land in the two point standing position because to use the standard drop and roll technique was not good in a rice paddy fertilized with what people just ate a few days ago..


After I triumphantly returned home to a Combat Engineer Bn at Ft. Stewart, GA., for a while, I was released after 2 years, 10 months and 9 days, because the military had started to shrink a bit, and it was time for me to seek employment elsewhere..  I did serve in a research capacity out of Ft Belvoir for another two years after that, working on tunnel detection methods for use in combat situations. All in all, it was an interesting part of my life.

*** Lamar Clifton, Class of 1947:  served in the US army - commissioned a 2nd Lt. in 1950 after graduating from UGA.  He fought in Korea and returned home in March, 1953 as a 1st Lt.  He was awarded the bronze star medal. 

 ~ Submitted by his wife: Evelyn Butler Clifton, Class of 1950

*** Proctor Johnston, Class of 1954: I enlisted in the U.S, Coast Guard, along with Albert (Sam) Pritchard, and reported to boot camp in Cape May, N.J. just 15 days after graduation. From boot camp I went to the CG buoy tender Smilax where I only stayed a short time before being sent to school in Groton, Ct. From there it was back to Florida and the CG Cutter Androscoggin where we made several trips to Havana, Cuba and fought the battle of the waterfront bars most every night. From there I was transferred to a Life Boat Station at New Smyrna Beach, Fl where our primary mission was Air, Sea Rescue. It was wonderful duty and our station was a big white house right on the beach. In early 1956, I was offered an opportunity to return to the boot camp at Cape May, N.J. to work in the Training Department where I attained the rate of 1st Class Petty Officer.


Pam (Tyler, Class of 1955) & I married in December of 1956 and we stayed in Cape May until my discharge in 1958. I loved the Coast Guard and wanted to make it my career, but Pam wanted no part of it, so back to Albany we came. All in all, I served 4 years active duty and 4 years inactive Reserve.


 Sam Pritchard (D) and I became separated in boot camp and never saw each other again.

*** Wilburn Nicholson, Class of 1953:  joined the US Air Force soon after graduation in 1953.  He went to the Philippines after radio school at Keesler AFB in Biloxi, MS. His brother, Don Nicholson, ’56, also in the Air Force, was stationed in Japan at the time, but that was as close as either got to the Korean War. It was over by then, but our troops were still there. Wilburn served in Communications Security Service at that time. Don was a photographer and photo lab technician in Japan.  Wilburn was able to visit him there and they enjoyed touring Tokyo together.


 After returning to the States, Wilburn served at Shaw AFB,  SC, for a year and then returned to Albany at the end of that enlistment.  That’s when we met and later married.  Meanwhile he had re-enlisted and was stationed at Turner AFB in Albany.  His first assignment after we were married took him alone to Goose Bay Labrador.  There were no family quarters there for enlisted men, so we were separated most of the first year of our marriage.


We were stationed at MacDill AFB, in Tampa next and had a great time there enjoying  the beaches and the Gasparilla Festivals and the famous bean soup in Ybor City and Busch Gardens when admission and beer were free!. We were excited to attend a campaign rally for Senator John F. Kennedy while there, also.  Little did we know that our next assignment would have us far from home when he was assassinated!  That assignment took us to Lajes Field in the Azores where the Cuban missile crisis had us holding our breath as they passed between us and home! Wilburn served as a ground to air radio operator and was in constant contact with pilots flying in the area giving them weather and other pertinent information.   Kennedy was truly our hero when he succeeded in turning the missiles around. 


We enjoyed trips to England and Spain and visiting other areas of Terceira Island while there. I’m including a link I found online to lots of pictures and information about the Azores where life is very laid back and slow paced.  They still lay the bricks for the roads by hand!  Livestock and chickens roam the streets and have the right of way over vehicles.  From the air the countryside looks like a patchwork quilt.  Each plot of land is enclosed with a hand built stone wall.  Check out the scenery!  I think you will enjoy it!


Wilburn Nicholson, Class of 1953 - In 1964 Wilburn left the military service, and we came home to Albany to live.  Still here 45 years later!

~ Submitted by his wife, Martha LeSueur Nicholson ('56)

*** Kenneth Faircloth, Class of 1955:  I want to let all know I did serve my country  from 1955 thru 1958 and  Petty Officer 2nd class in the US Navy.  I was on the USS Arnold J Isbell DD869.

*** Robert Gotsch, Class of 1953 retired from the USAR after 30 years of service.

*** Horace Paul Holley, Class of 1956 served in the air force from 1956-1960.  No military campaign's were going on at the time, but I was proud to have served my country.


*** Marion Hay, Class of 1956  pulled three years in the National Guard and five years in the inactive reserves.  


*** Len Alligood, Class of 1956: My assignments took me to the following places where I served for 27 yrs. 8 months and 17 days.

  •  Enlisted in US Air Force at Jacksonville, FL, Feb 14, 1957

  • Lackland AFB, San Antonio, TX,  AF basic training 

  • Scott AFB, Belleville, IL, Tech school (Aircraft Radio Repair)

  • Brookley AFB, Mobile, AL, First duty assignment

  • Scott AFB, IL , A/C Radio Repair Technician

  • Wheelus AB, Tripoli, Libya,  A/C Radio Repair Technician

  • Cannon AFB, Clovis, NM, A/C Radio Repair Technician

    • Tonsanut, AB Saigon, Vietnam, Temporary Duty (TDY) 

    • Clark AB, Philippines, TDY

    • Takli AB, Thailand, TDY

    • Lackland AFB, Tx, Hospital

Total Air Force time: 10 yrs, 3 months, 4 days.  At this point I transferred to the US Army:

  • Ft. Huachuca, Sierra Vista, Az, First Army assignment 

  • Ft. Wolters, Mineral Wells, Tx, First phase of flight school

  • Hunter AAF, Savannah, Ga, Second phase of flight school

  • Ft. Rucker, Enterprise, AL, CH-47 transition course

  • Bear Cat, Vietnam (Near Bien Hoa), First aviation assignment

  • Ft. Rucker, Enterprise, AL, Instructor, CH-47 transition course

  • Camp Humphries, Korea, Standardization Instructor pilot

  • Ft. Lewis, Tacoma, Wa, Standardization Instructor pilot

  • Camp Humphries, Korea, Standardization Instructor pilot

  • Ft. Lewis, WA, Standardization Instructor pilot

  • Howard AFB, Panama Canal Zone, Standardization Instructor pilot

    • Cartagena, Columbia, TDY

    • San Jose, Costa Rica, TDY

    • San Pedro Sula, Honduras, TDY

  • Ft. Rucker, AL, Instructor pilot, CH-47 transition

Retired - CW-4 Oct 31, 1984


*** Bill Creech, Class of 1959 joined U S Army for three years in 1958. Was getting discharged 10/05/1961 when on 9/30  President Kennedy extended all armed forces due to Berlin Crisis. Was extended for six months. I  was at the time stationed at Ft Benning, GA where I served in 2ND Infantry Div. and U S Army Infantry School.

When discharged moved to TN and joined TN 30th Armored Inf Div. In 1963 we were alerted for Cuban Missile Crisis. Was Honorably Discharged in 1964.

*** Howard Law, Class of 1952: I would also like to add that I served on active duty with the Navy between 1956 and 1958.  I was stationed in Washington, DC which gave rise to a long 40 year career as a civilian with the Navy in various capacities with most of that time spent in Washington.  During my stint on active duty I was privileged to serve with many heroes from WWII.  As first an Ensign and later a Lieutenant Junior Grade, I was outranked by everyone which made my life most interesting.


*** Tony Cushenberry, Class of 1953: Click here: Tony Cushenberry

*** Jim Youngblood, Class of 1954: I joined the Marine Corp right out of high school. Graduated in '54.  Served from '54 thru '57. Great three years!!

Not as lean, not as mean, but still a Marine!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

God bless America!!!!!!!!!!!


*** James Creel, Class of 1964: I joined the USAF in 1966 and went to Lackland AFB in San Antonio, TX for basic training. My first assignment was with the 544th Aerospace Reconnaissance Technical Wing at Offutt AFB in Omaha, NB.

After that I was assigned to the USAF Academy in Colorado Springs, CO. That was some of the most spectacular scenery I had ever seen. I have always wanted to go back to Colorado but have never made it.

My last assignment was at Keesler AFB in Biloxi, MS. Two memorable events occurred while we were there. My daughter, Dione was born at Keesler, and hurricane Camille hit Biloxi while we were there.

*** Jerry Brimberry, Class of 1957: I was a Captain in the Army JAG Corps during the Viet Nam war.   After completing Basic Infantry Officers training at Ft. Benning GA, and JAG school at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA, I was stationed at Ft. Knox, KY.   Primarily I was involved in trying Courts-martials and thoroughly enjoyed my 3 year tour of duty (Oct. '63 -Sept. '66).  My wife, Lynda (Glass - '59)  and I returned to Albany and we've been here ever since.  Unfortunately I was unable to bring any gold back with me.  We were at Ft. Knox when Sean Connery and crew were there filming Goldfinger.  


*** Eugene (Gene) Summerford, Class of 1959:  My brother James Summerford - 1961 and I joined the Air Force in June of 1966. After Basic Training and Tech School we were stationed together at Homestead Air Force Base, Fla. We stayed there until 1968 when I got orders for Viet Nam. James volunteered to go also because he knew he would be sent to Cambodia. Both of us and our Mother and Father had to sign for both of us to go to the same war zone. We went to the same base and would up in the same barracks with him in the bottom bunk and me in the top bunk. We loaded bombs, missiles and ammo on F100 airplanes. It was a great experience and I would do all over again if I had to.

*** Len Alligood, Class of 1956: Vietnam From A Different Perspective

I read Jon Crawford's piece on Vietnam with great interest and probably a better appreciation and understanding than most. I have great respect for those who were in harms way every minute of every day. It's got to be hard not knowing what's around the next turn or behind the next tree, or when THEY are coming for you. 


I saw Vietnam from a different perspective, that is, from the air. In May 1967 I switched from the Air Force to the Army (long story), mainly because it offered the opportunity to get into flight school. After eight months in the Army, tests, and physicals I was on my way to flight school at Ft. Wolters, TX at Mineral Wells, which is just west of  Ft. Worth. This was with the understanding that my first flight assignment would be Vietnam.


After four months at Ft Wolters, I went to Hunter Army Air Field at Savannah, GA for phase two. After four months there and completion of flight school, I went to Fort Rucker, AL for CH-47 Chinook helicopter transition. That's the tandem rotor, twin turbine engine, heavy lift helicopter that became the Army work horse.


After completing that course I took a thirty day leave in Albany. My father had terminal cancer from smoking and we made every minute of that time count because I knew that when I left on January 4, 1969 that it would be the last time I would see him alive.


I arrived on January 6th - a hot and muggy day - but then every day in VN is hot and muggy. This was my second time in Vietnam. In 1964, I was there for six months with the Air Force. All new arrivals went to an indoctrination course for two weeks before going on to a unit of assignment. One very notable incident during this course was on the second or third day while we were being shown how Charlie sets booby traps and ambushes. We were going down a narrow trail silently in single file and the instructor pointed out a trip wire to the first student, which would have been wired to explosives, and told him to pass it back. The third guy in line kicked the wire and "we were all killed" as the instructor put it. Not a good start.


After we completed this, I was sent to one of three First Calvary Division (Cav) Chinook companies at a base called Bearcat. It was in III Corps about seven miles south of Bien Hoa AFB and 25 miles NE of Saigon. I was ready to get down to work and do some flying so I was glad to get my in-country orientation flight out of the way so I could be signed off to fly with the more experienced pilots designated as aircraft commanders. Some of these guys were very professional and approached the job as safely as could be expected given the circumstances but, a couple of them scared me more than the VC and NVA.


A part of our mission was to take the Cav infantry and bulldozers out into the jungle where they cleared large circular areas with a berm all around, called fire bases. These bases were 100 to 200 yards in diameter and held several thousand of our troops. We then brought in artillery which was positioned all around the perimeter. Then they just waited for Charlie to make the next move. This was living dangerously at it's worst. I certainly didn't envy them the job. They were completely isolated from the rest of the world, except by radio, and their only source of resupply was by our Chinooks. Out of respect for their situation, I always gave them the best support I possibly could and never complained about having to stay late after a long day to take a final load of ice cream, beer and soda to them. They deserved it!


The main areas where the fire bases were built was 125 NW of Bearcat in the vicinity of the city of Tay Ninh near the Cambodian border and 100 miles NE of us near Phouc Vinh and Quan Loi. There were a few built in other areas from time to time but these were the major ones. If there was no activity in a short period of time, we would move everything out to the next location. 


In order to keep this from getting too long winded, next time I will write about some specific missions and some of the things I saw and did during this tour of duty. Some were good, some were not so good and some were down right terrifying.

Len Alligood


US Army Retired

***Jon Crawford, Class of 1954:  Response to Len Alligood

Len:  Bev was correct thinking I'd be interested in your introduction to other RVN memories. Please be sure and add my e mail address and include me in future memories. I've copied Bill Gissendaner, who you know and remember I'm sure, and Terry Gordy, a NGC classmate who has great VN stories that I just can't get him going on enough. Both were Army aviators and will also be interested in hearing your stories. I wish more of us who were there would do this.

Yes I was on the ground both of my tours but no, not in constant daily fear and danger.

Your memory for detail is so much better than mine. Good for you and better stories. I even have to go back into my old OER file for dates, etc. My memories would have more detail if I could remember but I'm determined not to fill in the blanks with fabrications.

You mentioned going into several fire bases. On my 2nd tour I was the advisor to the Cmdr of 4 Ranger Bns - one in each of these border camps along the tri border area: Polei Kleng; Ben Het; Dak Seang; and Dak Pek. (Remind me to tell you about Dak Pek and Jim Grey from Albany). Did you ever go into one of these Camps?

Thanks again to you, Bev and you keep up the great start, Len.  Just remembered that Bill and Terry haven't seen your first intro - I'll try and paste it below.

*** Pete Rockett (AHS Class of 1965), served our country.  Pete was in the Air Force for 12 years and served as a fighter pilot in Viet Nam.

~ Submitted by his sister, Carol Rockett Megathlin ('62) 

*** Eugene Crosson (D), Class of 1952: In 1953, I left "the Bear", Dorothy (Dotti Reeves - '55) and Albany to enter the U. S. Coast Guard.  I served in the Coast Guard continuously for twenty five (25) years.  I retired to St. Petersburg, Fl in 1980.

*** Tommy Pattison, Class of 1954: I'd like to have you add Bobby Pitts, Class of 1954.  We both signed up with the Navy before we graduated from Albany high school.  We left for boot camp in San Diego one week after graduation.  Bobby became a Dental Technician and I became a Hospital Corpsman. 


He served in Alaska and I served my last two years of four at the naval hospital in Yokosuka, Japan.  We joined about 6 months before the Korean war came to a close.

*** Bobby Pitts  (D) - '54: 1954 - 1957   U. S. Navy


*** Tommy Pattison - '54:   1954 -1958   U. S. Navy

*** John Paul Jones, Class of 1947 Served in Navy.  He was an Aerial Photographer aboard the Air Craft Carrier WASP.   Please add his name to the list of those that served.

~ Submitted by his wife, Nan Jones

 *** Charles W. Bryant, Jr, Class of 1953Please add my name to those who served in the military, the Marines specifically.


 *** Tom Greenstone, Class of 1954I soldiered with a lot of Indians. They couldn't be drafted. They had to join. They all looked for the toughest thing they could find to get into. I used to think it was like a rite of passage. They don't get that on the reservation, like they did in the old days.  You never had to lock your locker. They were the most honest people I have ever encountered.  They were some of the finest human beings I have ever known. I was close friends with several of them. I often think of them. It would break my heart to work on a reservation. 


I entered the United States Army on 18 Aug. '54 and served four years.  Notice I did not say that I became a soldier. It was made perfectly clear to us that we were not soldiers............YET!  After school, I went back in the reserves and was honorably discharged in '89.

*** Gerald E. (Jerry) Dixon, Jr., Class of 1963 Jerry was drafted into the Army early in 1969.  Later that year, he was sent to Dong Tam, Vietnam (in the delta), where he attained the rank of Sergeant (E-5).  Though assigned to the 9th Infantry Division, his position was actually administrative in nature.  However, during the period of the Lunar New Year, he was tasked by the commander to lead combat patrols outside the base perimeter to counter enemy incursions.  In a few long weeks, his patrols engaged increasing numbers of enemy forces and led his men in several fierce firefights.  For conspicuous gallantry in the face of overwhelming enemy forces, Jerry earned three Bronze Star Medals for valor.    Though never acknowledging the value of his leadership, Jerry was able to bring scores of soldiers safely back to the base.  But, during our few conversations on the subject, he could only reflect on those that could not be saved – an emotional disability that I believe exacerbated his early demise.   Upon return to the United States, Jerry lived and worked in San Francisco for a number of years, and then returned to Dallas.  As was his dream, he was able to travel to Europe in the early 1980’s and visited China just before his death in 1986.  Though diagnosed as heart failure, I’ll always believe his name should have been added to “The Wall” because he surely was among the casualties of that period.  

~ Submitted by his brother: Thomas Dixon Spokane, Washington


*** John C. Huie, Class of 1956:  Served as a 1st Lieutenant in the U. S. Artillery, active duty in France and Germany 1961 - 63.

*** Bill Banks, Class of 1960: After graduating from AHS, I went to North Georgia College where I graduated in July 1965 as a 2nd Lt. in the U.S. Army. After completing the Basic Military Police course at Ft. Gordon, Ga. I along with my wife, Beth (Macon, Ga) moved to Ft. Campbell, KY and was assigned to the 553rd Military Police Company. While at Ft. Campbell, I had many duties as an officer but the one that I was in the longest was as a confinement officer in charge of the post stockade. I was lucky as I never had orders to be sent to Viet Nam and spent most of my military career dealing with troops that went AWOL or refused to serve. After completing my required time at Ft. Campbell, I spent three years in the Army Reserve before getting released from my commitment. My thanks to all of the brave men who served in combat in order that we may be free.


*** Ritchey Marbury – Class of 1956:  I was a 1st lieutenant with the Army Corps of Engineers from 1963 to 1965.


***  Raleigh Mann – Class of 1960:  Raleigh retired from the Army as a Colonel and is now adjutant at Mercer University.


*** Luther Lee Payton, Jr. - Class of 1954: Lt. Colonel Payton served in the U.S. Marine Corps for 24 years as a helicopter pilot. Lee flew more than 1240 combat hours in Vietnam, with a total of over 5800 flying hours. He was awarded 5 distinguished Flying Crosses, 2 single Mission Air medals, 62 Air medals and a Bronze Star with combat "V". 


*** Stephen Goldsmith – Class of 1969:  LTC Goldsmith currently serves with the Army Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines.


***  John A. Donaldson – Class of 1961: I served from September 1967 to June 1971 in the US Army. I spent most of my time overseas, serving in Viet Nam and Germany. I serviced as a Military Policeman and even though I did a lot of traveling between Bin Hoa and Saigon, my military life was uneventful and my work was classified.

*** Tommy Kinney   Class of 1962:  US Army 1965-1967,  199th Infantry Brigade Vietnam 1966-1967.

*** Pete Brandon   Class of 1961: I was in the Air Force from 1967-1987.  I was a pilot and flew fighters and trainers.  I served in Viet Nam '72-'73.  After retiring from the Air Force, I worked for Northrop Grumman as the manager of the Aircrew Training department for the B-2 bomber.

*** Jay Pryor   Class of 1962:  1967-1970, U.S. Navy:  Communications Officer on the USS Hissem (DER-400); then Staff Communications Officer for Destroyer Squadron 29 on the flagship USS Albert David (DE-1050.)  Three Viet Nam deployments.

 ***  Embree Bolton  Class of 1968:   I spent 8 years in US Army.  Of those eight years, three were spent in Germany where both our children were born, and one was spent in Vietnam (actually spent my first anniversary there). I served in the First Infantry Division and received a Bronze Star.

 *** Wade Whitley  Class of 1956:   Was in the Military Order of the World Wars, where he served as commander.  He had been called a soldier’s officer by his troops.  He served with the 2nd Infantry Division (where he was fortunate enough to serve as the executive office of the test battery of the Howze Test Board on Air Assault), 6th Infantry Division, the Quartermaster School, the Infantry School, the Infantry Agency, 5th Corps in Germany, and in the Communications Zone in France.  In Vietnam, he served on General Staff with Troops at Headquarters, U. S. Army, Vietnam, with the 199th Light Infantry Brigade, and the 29th General Support Group. His awards include two Bronze Stars, one Defense Meritorious Service Medal, three Army Meritorious Service Medals, three Army Commendation Medals, perhaps the last American Defense Medal Awarded given, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm, Commander’s Award for Public Service, five Vietnam Campaign ribbons, two Meritorious Unit Commendations and two RVN Civic Action Medals.  One set of accomplishments that he gained great satisfaction from was developing the basic research into, the initiation of the programs for and the establishment of the basic requirements resulting in the battle dress, helmet and body armor that our troops wear today.  He only wished he could have continued trying to do more to protect the troops.  He believed, that after his mission and the welfare of his troops, his most important duty was to train and encourage those who followed after.  LTC Whitley, in his active duty and time as a Senior Army Instructor, taught subjects ranging from hand –to-hand combat to rifle marksmanship to leadership to logistics. He retired due to combat related injuries, and spent the next fifteen years as an ROTC instructor.

*** Victoria B. Pickrell - Class of 1942:  I served in WWII in the USNavy WAVES from 07 Sep 1944 - 20 Mar 1946.  Stationed at the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, Washington, DC.

*** Chester R. Green - Class of 1932-33:  MILITARY  SERVICE: USN 1943-44-45   -   Sea Duty - USS PANDA IX - 125 (Credited with 5 attack planes destroyed). Participated in and supported landings South Pacific: Lae - Finschaven - Hollandia - Leyte Gulf - Mindoro - Manila Bay.   After "Boot Camp" at Bainbridge, MD was assigned to outfit and put in commission the USS PANDA @ New Orleans Naval Base and set sail thru the Gulf, Panama Canal, Solomons for Milne Bay, NG "unescorted". The IX 125 was one of only 5 converted new cargo ships outfitted with tanks for aviation & PT boats gas and ammo. We primarily supplied Av gas small carriers, fueled PT Boats and replenished newly established or captured air strips. All of our deck gear and structure was dummy to look like a large dry cargo ship. My GQ was "Gunner #5 Gun" - - and I was credited for the 1st of 5 planes destroyed. We had orders to head for Formosa when the war ended. I was on one of 1st Troop Ships headed home! We "lost" 2 of the 5 "unclassified ships" in our group and a goodly number of fine sailors and officers.

*** John Ferguson, III - Class of 1975 Would you please add my name to the Men & Women that have served in the military page.

MILITARY  SERVICE: US Navy, Navy Aviation Electronics Technician/Operator 1975 – 1995

Recruit Training Orlando, FL 10/29/1975 – 01/05/1976; NATTC NAS Memphis, TN  01/17/1976 - 03/18/1977; VFP-63 NAS Miramar, CA (San Diego) 04/04/1977 - 06/16/1980   RF-8G Recon & F-8J Fighters, Detachment 1USS Constellation CV-64 (Aircraft Carrier); Detachment 5    USS Nimitz CVN-68 (Aircraft Carrier) Mediterranean Ocean & Indian Ocean: Detachment 5 USS Coral Sea, CV-43 (Aircraft Carrier) Indian Ocean & Pacific Ocean; VF-124 FRAMP, NAS Miramar - 7/16/1980 – 09/10/1980; NAS Miramar, T-Line - 09/10/1980 – 10/25/1983; AW-120 FRAMP, NAS Norfolk, VA  10/26/1983 – 04/13/1984; VAW-117 AIMD, NAS Miramar - 04/22/1984 – 02/09/1987 aboard USS Enterprise, CVN-65; NAS Miramar AIMD SEA-OP-DET - 02/09/1987 - 06/26/1987 aboard USS Enterprise, CVN-6; VF-124 FRAMP, NAS Miramar  - 06/26/1987 – 08/31/1987; NAS Miramar AIMD - 09/31/1987 – 05/09/1991; USS Kitty Hawk CV-63 AIMD - 06/05/1991 – 10/20/1994. Retired from active duty on 10/31/1995

***Gordon Kilgore- Class of 1956: When I entered Georgia State College in 1956 the military draft was in effect. I was not thrilled with the idea of serving in the armed services but decided if I had to serve, I would rather serve as an officer. Georgia State had a US Army ROTC program that only required a small amount of time each week. As I remember the program went something like this. We had to attend an ROTC class each week, do a bit of marching, and attend a summer camp at Fort Benning following our junior year in college. After graduation from college we would receive a commission as 2nd Lt. in the US Army. Then we were required to serve two years active duty followed by reserve duty. The odds and my draft number coming up were definitely in favor of being drafted once college was completed. So, I hedged my bets and joined the ROTC program.

Upon graduation I did receive my commission and was assigned to the Army Signal Corp. I had to begin my active duty within one year so put it off for about nine months while I worked to save a bit of money. Margaret and I were married during this time and my time as a civilian soon expired. Off I went to Ft. Monmouth, NJ for three months Signal Corp. training. Once that was completed I was assigned to a company at Ft. Huachuca, AZ. I had never heard of Ft. Huachuca and certainly could not pronounce it (Wah CHEW Ka). This fort is located about 76 miles below Tucson and is along the Mexican border between Tombstone and Nogales, AZ. It is situated against the Huachuca Mountains which makes the summer temperatures somewhat like Atlanta but dryer. The winters are also much the same. The biggest difference would be the dust. Dust got into everything, even the refrigerator. Being a married officer with a soon to be family we were allowed on-post housing. The catch: There was none available so we had to wait until a house was available. During our wait Margaret, infant Kathi, and I spent a couple of miserable months in a small motel room in Sierra Vista, as small village outside the East gate of the fort.

Ft. Huachuca was home to the secret Army drone units which were unmanned spy planes. I was assigned to a headquarters company pushing paper work and doing busy work, not really to my liking. I did not like marching the troops and I did not like doing inspections. It seemed to be a weekly occurrence to have to bail out troops from our company who got drunk in Nogales and were locked up. Along with the hum-drum daily life on the fort I fell in love with Arizona and the West. Margaret and I were able to travel to all of the western states. Those were certainly fun days.

As I mentioned, I was bored with my duty assignment. So, when I found out that the post small arms range officer was leaving, it became my quest to get his job. There was one fly in the ointment, it was a Captain’s position and I was only a 1st Lt. While on post I had developed a good friendship with people on the post pistol team, and had gone hunting with a Major and a Colonel, so my politicking began. The Colonel agreed that I was better qualified for the range officer’s position than the Captain who was leaving. He arranged to have the rank requirement suspended so that I could fill the slot. Thus my duty was completed as the fort’s small arms range officer, a job that I truly loved.

I did not fight in any war but was on active duty during the Cuban Crises. We were put on high alert and were told to pack our bags and be ready to depart at a moment’s notice. I had to tell Margaret that I might be shipping out but did not know anything more. As it turned out, the Russians backed down and removed their missiles. It was 
soon back to life as it had been.

With my active duty completed we moved to Fairburn, GA and opened a shoe store and men’s clothing store. I asked the Reserve to allow me to drop from their ranks since I had my own business and to be away for two weeks training each summer would impose a severe hardship. They agreed. I had been too young for Korea and was too old for Vietnam. Thus, my military service days came to a close with an honorable discharge.


*** Brinson Phillips - Class of 1954: On a cold and dreary day in January 1960, Jerry Clark ('54), Rip Clark ('56), Charles Ward ('57), Lavon Payton ('57), John Miller (Camilla GA), and myself, Brinson Phillips ('54) left the Albany Trailways bus terminal for an all day ride to Fort Jackson, SC for the start of our Basic Training in the U. S. Army. We were all assigned to the same company, B-19-5 for our training, and it was a real eye opener. We had some good times and some bad times: mostly trying to get enough to eat and to keep warm, cause that is one cold place in the winter. After basic, Lavon and Charles were transferred to Fort Benning, GA while the rest of us stayed at Jackson for our "schooling". Of course the rest of us were jealous of Lavon and Charles because they were able to come home almost every weekend. It's an experience I wouldn't take a million dollars for but wouldn't give you 2 cents for it again.

*** Johnnny Greene - Class of 1961:  I noticed several mentions about the 1961 AHS Reunion; and therein about the death of one member, Johnny Greene. Johnny died in Vietnam in 1972.

I am Johnny’s brother, Mike, from the AHS Class of 1970.

Johnny was killed at that time while a Captain in the Army. He did receive several medals for his service; both US and South Vietnamese medals.


He was a career military guy and on his third tour. He attended North Georgia College where he received his commission. A couple of years ago North Georgia held a ceremony honoring all their graduates that were killed in Vietnam. They published a book with all the graduates in it, a picture, bio and a shot description of how their death happened. There was a fly over and a very moving ceremony.


I was working at Kimbrell-Stern when he was killed and of course K/S handled the arrangements, including a full military funeral. He is buried in Floral Memory Gardens. Thanks to all those who remembered, and for mentioning his name.

*** William Alfred "Bill" Shular, Jr. - Class of 1941: I am the daughter of William Alfred "Bill" Shular, Jr.  Dad graduated from Albany High and then served in the United States Army until his retirement in 1963 at Fort Jackson, SC.  He was a POW in Poland - captured at the battle at Anzio.

Submitted by: Mary Shular Hopper

*** Paul Russell - Class of 1963: On my first tour I had a small advisory team south of Chu Lai and being an advisor and living with the Vietnamese I had quite a few options when it came to close air support. The Marines at Chu Lai were one of those options. Rusty and I eventually connected with each other through our families and met up at Chu Lai. We never could tell whether he was actually one of the Marines that periodically came to my rescue but we liked to think so. That’s the story we’ll tell our grandchildren anyway. There is a picture that I need to find of me, Rusty and my brother Bob, Class of ’65, a gunner’s mate in the Navy who was also stationed at Chu Lai standing together at the base.

*** Doug Dahlgren - Class of 1965: I really like the listing of Veterans.  I am a vet of the U.S. Army from 1968 to 1971


***  Gene Edward Shillcutt, Jr. - Class of 1963: After graduating from UGA in 1968 I joined the Navy and attended OCS in Pensacola, FL. I served as an aviator and fighter pilot during the VietNam era.  My final rank was Lt. Commander and was flying search and rescue helicopters at the time of release from duty from the Naval Reserve in 1976.

*** Brian E. Claypool - Class of 1963: Army, Vietnam era, active, then reserve, leaving as Capt.


*** John Mangum  - Class of 1963:  I served in the USAF from 1963 to 1984 with tours in Viet Nam, Thailand, England, Japan, Oklahoma, Hawaii, Turkey, and twice in Washington, DC.

*** Tom Tarpley - Class of 1952: Served in the US Army 1954- 57 - Korea time.  26 years USPHS/ US Coast Guard, Retired

*** Al Hutchison - Class of 1961: I am an Air Force veteran having served from 1965 - 1968.

*** Donald K. Pollock, CPA - Class of 1966: I served from 1968 to 1974 in the USAF

*** Billy Weekley - Class of 1960 - served in the U.S. Army, Viet Nam from 1965-1966


*** Tommy Weekley - Class of 1966 - served in the U.S.A.F. from 1966-1970  

*** Grady Sceals - Class of l959 - served in the Navy

*** Bob Thrower - Class of 1966 - served 22 years Active duty years in the USAF.  Stationed at George AFB, Ca, Udorn Thailand, Takhli Thailand, again Udorn during Vietnam. Pope AFB, NC, Langley AFB, VA, Khamis Mushayt Saudi Arabia, Holloman AFB, NM
Retired in March 1991.  Married to Dougherty High School Sweetheart Mary Boydston Thrower for 47 years with 2 sons, Robert Shaine Lt. Col USAF active duty and Kevin Thrower comptroller in Mt Pleasant, SC.

*** Randolph W. (Randy) Sammons,  Class of 1960 - U. S. Coast Guard 1963-1969

*** James M. "Mike" Cumbie - Class of 1973 - USAF 1978-1982

***  Wendell Anderson (D) - Class of 1959 - Navy


***  Clarence “Bud” Hopkins -  Class of 1957 - I am proud of my family’s military service and the fact that between the four of us we have over 100 years of combined service. I retired as a Colonel (0-6) from the Medical Service Corps with 26 years of service. I flew helicopters in Vietnam on medical evacuation or “Dustoff” missions. My wife Betty Jones retired as Colonel (0-6) from the Army Nurse Corps with 20 years of service. She passed away November 2013 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

*** Jim Hopkins (my brother) - Class of 1965, retired as a Colonel (0-6) from the Medical Service Corps with 26 years of service. He initially started his Army career as an Infantry Officer where he completed Airborne and Ranger courses. Also, my brother-in-law Jack Baggette retired as a Colonel (0-6) from the Marine Corps with 30 years of service. He is the husband of my sister, Sandra Hopkins Baggette, Class of 1959. That’s our very brief story.

*** Ernest "Ernie" Fordham, Class of 1961 - I served in the US Army from August 1967 to August 1970.  My Military Occupational Specialty was Counterintelligence Agent, 97B40HF2 and I was an instructor at the US Army Military Intelligence School (USAINTS) at Fort Holabird, MD from September 1968 to August 1970.


*** Doug " Butch" Fain, Class of 1962 - I served for 8 years and flew 214 combat missions in Southeast Asia in an F-4 Phantom. I received a Distinguished Flying Cross for Heroism, another for Achievement, 14 air medals, and an Air Force Commendation Medal.

***  Michael "Mike" Harris, Class of 1964 - Active 1969 - 1973, Captain, USMC


***  Charles Ruehl, Class of 1962 -  served in the Navy.

***  Fred Pollard, Class of 1961 -  was a dentist in the Army.

***  Bill Gissendaner (D), Class of 1954 - graduated from North GA College where he was a distinguished military graduate and after graduation was commissioned into the U.S. Army where he went to flight school and flew the Caribou.

***  Ernest "Ernie" Walter Bivens, Class of 1937 -

*** David S. McIntyre, Class of 1952 - U.S. Marine Corps, 1957 - 1977


***  Lee English, Class of 1957 - I served in the US ARMY from November 1957 to November 1959.


***  Tommy Milner, Class of 1966 - I served in the US Air Force from 1969 to 1972.


***  Duffy Frank, Class of 1953 -  served in the US Army, 1957 - 1958.


***  Robert "Bobby" Doan, Class of 1944 -  I am a WWII veteran.  Joined US Navy right after 1944 graduation at age 17 and 8 months.  First day of sea duty was VJ Day aboard the USS Maryland.


*** Joe B. Mann, Class of 1964 - I served in the U.S. Air Force from 1969 to 1978, leaving as a Captain. I served in Vietnam Nam from January to December at Monkey Mountain radar site as a weapons controller (radar controller).  I am 100 per cent disabled due to my exposure to Agent Orange while in country.


***  Joe Greenway (D), Class of 1947 - Army, Korean War and served as a medic

***  John L. Davis, Jr. (D), Class of 1947 - Air Force, Korean


*** Suhayl Rafeedie, Class of 1956 - served in the United States Army 1957 and 1958 - stationed in Germany.

***  Ernest Hall, Class of 1958 - I served in the U.S. Air Force, November 1957 - May 1962.


***  Catherine Dismuke (D), Class of 1948 -  retired as a Major of the USAF.  She was a graduate of the University of Georgia, Air Force Squadron Officer School, Communications-Electronics Staff Officer School and Department of Defense Command and Control School. She served in Air Force units in Europe, Southeast Asia and throughout the United States. Her service awards include the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal and the Vietnam Service Medal.

*** Jim Macolly, Class of 1956 - attended North Georgia Military University after AHS...was commissioned a 2nd Lt in the Infantry Branch, later changing over to the Military Police Police Corps and Criminal Investigative Command. Attended all of the required advanced schools in order to be promoted, the last of which was the Command General and Staff College. Served tours at Ft McClellan AL, then to Germany for 3 years. From there to Ft Gordon GA, then to 3rd Army Headquarters in Atlanta. To Thailand for a year, back to the States and then Viet Nam. Later back to SE Asia on a special mission from the Pentagon. Later served in Regional CID Regional office and took command of a CID field office of Ft Gordon GA. Was the only Major to serve as a Battalion Commander in Vietnam for a while. Last assignment was as both the combat and Installation Provost Marshal for the 24th Infantry Division at Ft Stewart GA. The
24th was one of 3 Army Divisions designated as the Strike forces ... meaning you had to maintain the highest state of readiness to respond to any conflict worldwide at a moments notice. Highest Award: Bronze Star, Meritorious service medal[3] and Army Commendation Medal[4]. Had a great and Blessed career.  Retired in 1982 as a LTC, and started a second career in the Private Security business retiring in 2008.

*** Walter Manning (D), Class of 1935, served in the Navy and was killed at Pearl Harbor.  He was on the USS Oklahoma.

*** Charles Gillespie, Class of 1962 - I served in the US Army from 1967-1970.

*** William Mason Reid (D) (1910-1967) - Col. Reid was pilot of a chartered plane that crashed in Lake Ponchartrain near New Orleans on December 31, 1967.

Col. Reid was born in Albany, Ga, and graduated from Albany High School in 1927. He attended the Citadel and the University of Georgia. He joined the Army Air Corps in the early 1930’s and received his wings as a pilot and his commission as a second lieutenant . He had a distinguished record in WWII as a group commander of the 91st and 92nd Heavy Bomber Groups. He flew over 70 combat missions, and he was awarded the Silver Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Metal, and the Purple Heart. After the war, he graduated from the Air Command and Staff School of the Air University at Maxwell Air Force Base. He retired with thirty years of service.

*** Wayne L Gillstrap, Class of 1964 - Served six years in the U.S. Navy.

 *** Edward W. Fleuren, Class of 1961 - Served in the Army from 1966 to 1963 as an enlisted man and an officer. Retired as an LTC.  Vietnam and Desert Storm.

 *** Robert S. (Bobby) Bartley, Class of 1960 - I was in the Air Force from September 19, 1960 until June 2, 1962.  Medical Discharge ended my service to our Country.

 *** William R. (Dink) Haire, Class of 1960 -  I served in the U. S. Air Force from 1966 to 1970 and discharged at the rank of captain.

*** J Larry Styles, Class 1960 - US Army 3 years.

***  Don E. Callaway, Class of 1964 - served in the Air Force 1969-1972

***  Warren Hackney (D), Class of 1938 - served in the Army during World War II

***  Harry Manning (D), Class of 1938 - was career Army

***  Tommy Manning (D), Class of 1947 - served in the Air Force

***   William Mason Reid (D), Class of 1927 - attended the Citadel and the University of Georgia. He joined the Army Air Corps in the early 1930’s and received his wings as a pilot and his commission as a second lieutenant. He had a distinguished record in WWII as a group commander of the 91st and 92nd Heavy Bomber Groups. He flew over 70 combat missions, and he was awarded the Silver Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Metal, and the Purple Heart. After the war, he graduated from the Air Command and Staff School of the Air University at Maxwell Air Force Base. He retired with thirty years of service.

*** Carlton Fordham, Class of 1955 - served January 1955 - May 1968


*** Alan Folmar (D), Class of 1963 served in the military and died in the service of his country


*** Mabry Stone Phillips, Jr., Class of 1956 - served in the Marine Corps from 1961 - 1964


*** Daniel James Stevens "Dan" Class of 1954 -  My dad entered the USAF in 1955 and served with The Thunderbirds the west coast version of the Blue Angels as a mechanic. Dad was too near sighted to make pilot. Although it was his dream to pilot, he was able to serve in a unit that he loved.
~ Dani Stevens Tippins,
AHS Class of 78 (daughter)


*** Jim Strom, Class of 1957 - served in the Navy