James R. Bailey - U.S. Merchant Marines 1942-46
James R. Bailey, proudly served his country from 1942 – 1946 in the U.S. Merchant Marines, attaining the rank of Lieutenant. The Merchant Marines were a vital part of W.W. II, delivering all types of supplies to sustain the war efforts. They carried everything from toothpaste to armored vehicles and Lt. Bailey remembers carrying several locomotive engines to Italy. They were constantly on guard for enemy aircraft, whose goal was to sink as many Merchant Marine ships as possible.
Lt. Bailey had two brothers, Maxwell and Newman Bailey, serving in the Merchant Marines at the same time. James and Newman Bailey returned home, but Maxwell was killed and was buried at sea. James was glad to be able to return home in 1946.
Lt. Bailey said, “We never knew where we were going to deliver supplies until we got there, or where we would ship from next.
Loren Beach - U.S. Army 1942-45
Loren Beach served in the U.S. Army from 1942 – 1945. He honorable fought in the Battle of the Bulge in Gen. George Patton’s, Third Armored Division.
Charles Judson Blanks - U.S. Army 1943 - 45
Charles J. Blanks proudly served his country in the U.S. Army as a Private First Class during World War II from 1943 – 1945. P.F.C. Blanks was a Rifleman in the 88th Infantry Division during the Mediterranean Theater and received three Bronze Service Stars for being in action in the Rome-Arno Campaign, the North-Apennines Campaign and the Po Valley Campaign. He was wounded in both legs in Italy and received the Purple Heart Award. He told a friend he had to learn to walk again and went from a bed to a wheelchair, to a walker, to a cane and to recovery.
A special memory to Mr. Blanks was seeing the ship, The Queen Elizabeth, out of a huge window at the Army Hospital. The ship carried him and the other wounded soldiers back to the United States.
Mr. Blanks recently passed away at the age of 89. We humbly thank P. F.C. Blanks for his sacrifice.
William Royal Elder, Jr. (Junior) - U.S. Marines 1943-46
William Royal Elder, Jr., (Junior Elder) served proudly in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1943-46. His wartime assignment was on board the USS New York Battleship. The USS New York is the sister-ship to the USS Arizona that was sunk during the attack on Pearl Harbor. On the USS New York, Elder provided strategic support in the critical battles of Okinawa and Iwo Jima.
Elder remembers being constantly on guard for the hundreds of suicide bomber planes, “Kamikazes” attacking his ship. Many planes crashed next to the ship. Elder stated that, “One suicide bomber crashed into the side of the ship with the planes wings ending up on the deck of the ship.”
Chancey C. Ferguson - Virginia Infantry 1861-65
Mr. Ferguson enlisted in the Confederate Army on June 19, 1861. He was assigned to 2nd Company B, 46th Regiment, Wise Brigade of the Virginia Infantry as a Private.
During his service to the VA Infantry, he was captured on Roanoke Island, NC on Feb 18, 1862 and was paroled in Elizabeth City, NC on Feb 21, 1862.
Mr. Ferguson participated in the “Stacking of Arms” ceremony during the surrender proceedings in Appomattox Court House in April of 1865 and was pardoned by Gen. Grant in November of 1865.
L.H. Foster, Sr. - W.W. I
L.H. Foster, Jr. - W.W. II
Doug George - U.S. Army 1944-46
Doug George was a part of U.S. Army Single Division 3rd Army and was stationed in France and Germany.
Photo was taken in 1946 in Marburg, Germany after war was over.
Herbert Guthrie- U.S. Army 1943-46
Herbert Guthrie, of Brookneal, served in the U.S. Army Medical Corp. from 1943 – 1946.
Richard Maxwell Harper "Mac" - U.S. Navy 1946-47
Richard Maxwell Harper “Mack” served his country in the U.S. Navy from 1946-1947. He patrolled the seas in the “Post WW II – State of Emergency Status”, which lasted for one year after the war’s official end. These brave men maintained a “revered presence” to deter any future uprising by enemy forces.
R. Elwood Holt - U.S. Army 1941-45
Elwood Holt, from Brookneal, served his country in the U.S. Army from 1941 – 1945. He was stationed at Schofield Barricks at Pearl Harbor when attacked by the Japanese on Dec. 7th 1941 *. He also saw action in New Guinea and the Philippines during the war. On returning home, he was nicknamed “Schofield”, which stuck with him his entire life.
*He described the attack on Pearl Harbor as, “the worse day of my life”.
His two brothers, James and Carroll, also were in the U.S. Army during WW II.
Gerald Isaacs - U.S. Army 1943 - 46
Gerald Isaacs, of Rustburg, Va. was born in February of 1919. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in January of 1943 and served his country in China as a crew chief on a P47 in 1944 and 1945. One hair-raising experience Mr. Isaacs endured was when the transport plane he was on went down in the Himalaya Mountains in Burma on his way out of China headed back to India. Thankfully all survived. He was Honorably Discharged in March 1946.
James (Jim) H. Neese - U.S. Marines 1951 - 54
James (Jim) H. Neese proudly served his country from February of 1951 to February of 1954 in the United States Marine Corp. He served in the Korean War from 1951 – 1952.
Hugh Atlee Rader, Jr. – U. S. Marine Corps 1942-1945
Hugh Atlee Rader, Jr. proudly served his country in the United States Marine Corps during World War II from 1942-1945. After basic training at Paris Island and several short stateside assignments, he was deployed to the Pacific Islands. He was a Staff Sergeant and a very proud member of the “Fighting Fourth” Division that was one of the first waves to hit Iwo Jima. He also saw action in Saipan and Tinian.
When interviewed in the 1960’s by a reporter from the Roanoke Times about being at Iwo Jima, Staff Sgt. Rader just said, “It was hell”. He never discussed his time spent overseas.
Hugh Rader recently passed away in April at the age of 90.
Foster Fuels click our heels and salute Mr. Rader for his dedicated service to our country.
James Mason Rucker - U.S. Merchant Marine 1944-46
James Mason Rucker, Gladys (Campbell Co.), served his country as a U.S. Merchant Marine during World War II from October 1944 to December 1946. The Merchant Marines provided a vital and crucial role during the war by delivering all types of supplies including food, clothing, ammunition, fuel and even manpower. The Merchant Marine fleet was constantly under attack by enemy forces to prevent supplies from reaching our troops.
Ensign Rucker was a Radio Officer and saw action in three different war zones: The Pacific, The Atlantic and The Mediterranean Sea. The Merchant Marines suffered the greatest percentage of war-related deaths than all other U.S. Armed Services. It is estimated that there were 9,300 Mariners killed and 833 ships sunk during the war.
Mr. Rucker was actively involved with the American Legion Post 16 Honor Guard.
Bruce Allan Saunders - U.S. Marines 1968 - 69
Submitted by Jim Peters:
Bruce was a neighbor and a friend from Roanoke, VA who became my hero. For his sacrifice he was awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart while giving aid to his comrades in Quang Tri, South Vietnam, on Feb 25, 1969.
David S. Spicer - Army Medic 1951-1953
David S. Spicer, of Charlottesville, Va. proudly served as an Army medic during the Korean War from 1951-1953.
After finishing basic training at Camp Pickett, Spicer was selected to be a combat medic. He was then sent to Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri where he learned rudimentary skills such as giving shots, taking blood and dressing wounds. With only six weeks of training, he was deployed to Fairbanks, Alaska where he served as the doctor to army soldiers and Eskimos located in the remote area villages.
During an interview with the Daily Press Spicer said, “It taught me to face things, and to do what you can, when you can. I was taught a great lesson in that.”
After his honorable discharge, he rejoined his father and brother as co-owner and operator of their family business, Spicer Brother’s Cleaners, which served UVA and the Charlottesville community for nearly 60 years.
Spicer passed away in 2015 at the age of 84.
Thomas E. Spicer Jr. -U.S. Army 1950-1952
Thomas E. “Tommy” Spicer Jr., of Charlottesville, Va. served in the United States Army during the Korean War from December 14th 1950 to November 10th 1952. After his honorable discharge, he rejoined his father and brother as co-owner and operator of their family business, Spicer Brother’s Cleaners, which served UVA and the Charlottesville community for nearly 60 years.
Spicer passed away in 2015 at the age of 86.
Winfred W. Tucker "Doots" - U.S. Army 1945-46
Winfred “Doots” Tucker served in the U.S. Army, Infantry Division from 1945 – 1946,
Julian E. Waller - U.S. Army 1943-46
Mr. Julian E Waller of Nathalie, Va. proudly served in the U.S. Army from 1943- 1946. Private First-Class Waller was a part of the Normandy Invasion, better known as D-Day, on June 6, 1944. He also served in Germany, France, Belgium and Luxenburg.
He is married to Betty Tribble Waller and they have three children.
Lt. Colonel John Woodell (Jack) U.S. Navy/U.S. Air Force 1944-1974
Lt. Colonel John (Jack) Woodell, of Brookneal, served his country in two braches of the U.S. Armed Services. First, he joined the U.S. Navy and served from 1944 – 1946, during World War II. He was assigned to a submarine chaser, a small and fast naval vessel, whose duty was to locate and destroy German U-boats (German submarines) in the Atlantic Ocean.
The famous actor, Ernest Borgnine, was a Gunner’s Mate on the ship with Lt. Col. Woodell. He remembers Borgnine making other crewmembers very anxious by shooting the machine gun at passing sharks. ” Everyone had to take cover to keep from being hit.”
After being discharged from the U.S. Navy, he joined the U.S. Air Force and retired in 1974.
Henry I. Yates, Sr. (Irvin)- U.S. Army 1917 - 18
E.C. (Shorty) Tibbs, Sr.
Colonel Walter Bills - U.S. Air Force (retired) 1951 - 79
Walter Bills started his service with the US Air Force as an aviation cadet in 1951 and worked his way up to Colonel before he retired in 1979. Bills served in the Korean War from 1951 to 1952 and the Vietnam War from 1968 to 1969. Walter flew more than 150 combat missions in a F-4 Phantom and was designated squadron leader during that time.
Joel A. Blumberg - U.S. Navy 1952 - 54
Joel A. Blumberg proudly served his country when he enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1952. After completing boot camp, Mr. Blumberg was assigned to the Naval Hospital in Jacksonville FL. Mr. Blumberg was then sent to Pascagoula, MS to be assigned to a LST Unit. (Tank Landing Ship) During a training maneuver, Mr. Blumberg became seriously ill and was taken by the Coast Guard to a medical unit until he was transferred to the Naval Hospital in Jacksonville, FL. Joel stated the amount of training that he received as the most memorable part of his service.
Thank you for your service.
Clarence William Dawson (Bill) - U.S. Army 1943-45
Clarence William Dawson “Bill”, of Halifax Co., served as a Tank Destroyer Commander in the U.S. Army during World War II from 1943-45. He was assigned to the Tank Destroyer Unit #661, A Company in Germany during the war. His unit fired some of the last shots of the war.
He remembers the German soldiers taking refuge in a heavily fortified building but his Tank Destroyer Unit bombarded the building, forcing the German’s to surrender. He had a pet rabbit that rode on his tank and took cover under the turret when under enemy fire.
His tank unit has a reunion every year in various parts of the country, with Bill always attending.
Buster Edmonds - U.S. Army 1944-46
Buster Edmonds served in the U.S. Army from 1944 – 1946. Edmonds volunteered to keep his younger brother, Wilson, from being drafted. After basic training, Edmonds reported to Camp Pickett and from there was sent to Naples, Italy. Edmonds remembers the long trip across the Atlantic, where the boat took “maneuvers” to avoid contact with Germany U-boats. Upon arrival in Italy, Edmonds sat outside in the rain over a drainage ditch eating corned beef, cabbage, pinto beans and a cup of coffee. “Best meal I ever ate. As muddy as it was, I was off the ocean and back on dry land” he said after the journey from the states.
Then Edmonds started training for the 10th Mountain Division. They were to spearhead the spring offensive in Italy against the Germans in the “PO” Valley. The 10th Mountain Division was a part of the 5th Army under the command of Lt. Gen. Mark W. Clark. The Germans surrendered before Edmonds reached the front line.
After the war, Edmonds was assigned to the 3195th Signal Service Company and stayed as part of the occupying force for an additional year. He achieved the rank of T4 Sgt. and arrived back in July 1946.
Ingrid Grout - U.S. Marines 1977-81
Submitted by M. Elaine Guttemeyer:
Joined in Baltimore, MD and then went to Paris Island. After boot camp was stationed at Camp Pendleton, Okinawa Japan and finally the Finance Ctr in Kansas City.
M. Elaine Guttemeyer - U.S. Coast Guard 10 Years of Service
Submitted by Ingrid Grout:
U.S. Army and then moved to U.S. Coast Guard – Retired / Disabled Veteran.
Curtis E. Hamlett - U.S. Army 1943-45
During World War II, Curtis E. Hamlett, Brookneal, proudly served his country in one of the most famous infantry units in history, the 101st Regiment, 26th Division of the U.S. Army. Staff Sergeant Hamlett served from 1943-1945 and saw heavy action in the initial occupation of Germany. His first battle was at Alsace-Lorraine, Germany and a fierce and violent battle it was. Only 38 out of 162 men who were in the battle came out alive and only 2 out of 38 men in Hamlett’s squadron came out alive. Hamlett said, “I always thought I would get killed or wounded during the war. I hoped the wound or death would not be the result of artillery fire, as those injuries were so violent.”
In November of 1944, during an advancement in Germany, Hamlett and 43 other infantry soldiers found themselves heavily out-numbered and surrounded. All 44 soldiers were captured and spent the next six months in four different Prisoner of War camps. Hamlett felt blessed to return home in 1945.
David L. Herndon - U.S. Army 1940-46
Submitted By Stanley Herndon: Served in the U.S. Army.
William Harry Holland - U.S. Army 1944-46
William Harry Holland served in the U.S. Army in the South Pacific from 1944 – 1946. He saw action in New Guinea and the Philippine Islands.
John Samuel Jennings - U.S. Army 1943-45
John Samuel Jennings, of Brookneal, served in the U.S. Army as an Infantryman from 1943 – 1945.
During this time, Jennings suffered severe shrapnel wound to his leg on Christmas Day, 1944 during the Battle of the Bulge. He laid on the ground for six hours before receiving medical assistance and waited 10 more days before being operated on. After his operation, he stayed in the hospital for eight months.
Captain John Lavra - U.S. Navy (retired) 1944-1970
Exerts from NASGI.net – John Lavra Collection
Capt. John Lavra, married to Marolyn and resides in Charlotte Court House , VA.
Enlisted US Navy 3 June 1944 Detroit, MI as Seaman Second Class. Combat Air Crewman, Aviation Radioman Striker(ARM).
Boot Camp: First all Aircrew Boot Platoon, NATTC, Jacksonville, Fl. Selected for Flight Training, Preflight at St. Mary’s College, Oakland, Ca. Basic Flight Corpus Christi, TX. First flight in an N2S, 18 July 1946. Advanced Flight: Pensacola, Fl., designated Naval Aviator Commissioned as Ensign USNR 20 October 1947.
USS PRINCETON CV-37, first shot down by ground fire on 25 June 1951, 14th mission. Crash-landed in friendly territory, no injuries. Second time shot down ground fire 20 October 1952, 59 mission. Bailed out 32 miles behind enemy lines, burned to a crisp. Rescued by Navy Helo piloted by Chief Aviation Pilot. A.P. West. He and I were in flight training together. He and his crewman were killed attempting another rescue 2 days later. I was back flying combat about 40 days after my rescue.
Survival Report – Second Shootdown – Oct 30 1952
NAS TWIN CITIES as Training Officer. Was there only a year and made Captian and was transferred to NAS Oceana, Virginia Beach, VA as X.O. Was their first four striper X.O. and their only USNR X.O. USNR Officer. cannot command regular Navy Air Station, but when our C.O. was hospitalized, I became acting C.O. That was the end of Reserve Officers serving as X.O. on Regular Navy Air Stations. Retired there 1 November 1970.
Qualified 22 aircraft types, 5,400 hrs. 365 carrier landings.
26 yrs. 4 mos. 24 days service time, 25 yrs. 9 mos 18 days ACTIVE DUTY .
AWARDS: Purple Heart, Air Medal w/2 gold stars, Navy Commendation Medal w/combat “V”, Navy Unit Commendation, Navy Good Conduct Medal, Naval Reserve Medal w/bronze star, American Theater Medal, WW 11, Victory Medal, Navy Occupation Service Medal w/Asia clasp. China Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal w/Bronze star, Korean Service Medal w/bronze stars/Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (Lebanon), Vietnam Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, South Korean Presidential Unit Citation, Korean War Service Medal. ENLISTED COMBAT AIRCREW WINGS.
Lyle Thomas Lee - U.S Army - 1943-46
Lyle T. Lee, of Campbell County, proudly served his country in the U.S. Army as a Tech Sergeant in the 1st Calvary Division. He served from January 1943 through December 1946, first in the Philippines and then in Japan.
A memorable experience for Tech. Sgt. Lee was on September 2, 1945 when his 1st Calvary Division was on Land Barges in the Pacific and ready to land on Japanese soil. On this day, General Douglas A. MacArthur was on-board the USS Missouri battleship and secured the unconditional surrender (Peace Treaty) of Japan to the Allied Forces, thus ending World War II on the Pacific front. Tech. Sgt. Lee remembers the sky being full of B-29 Bombers as a show of force during the surrender.
His unit was the first American Army Division to set foot on Japanese soil. He stayed in Japan until his discharge in 1946.
Foster Fuels salutes Mr. Lyle Lee and all our military veterans for a job well done.
Steven E. Merricks - 2007-2008
Steven E. Merricks served his country from May 2007 – June 2008 while stationed in Iraq during Operation “Iraqi Freedom”.
Thank you for your service.
Phillip Ollie - U.S. Army 1940-45
Mr. Phillip Ollie, who lives in Farmville, proudly served his country from September 1940 to December 1945. He was in the U.S. Army, 45th Infantry Division. He was wounded in Sicily in 1943 and received the Purple Heart. While in the hospital, he was reclassified and transferred to the U.S. Air Force.
In 1945, he was waiting to be sent to Japan, but the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima in August of 1945 and the war ended shortly thereafter.
After the war, Mr. Ollie continued his relationship with the Armed Services by working for the Department of Defense at Camp Pickett and Langley Air Force Base until he retired in 1972.
Lee Rowland - U.S. Navy 1943-46
Mr. Rowland served in the U.S. Navy, aboard the destroyer, USS Chase. He was in the service from March 22, 1943 until February 5, 1946. He is 87 years old.
Charles T. Walker - U.S. Army 1951-1976
Charles T. Walker served in the 2d Inf. Div. in Korea and followed with 23 years service in the active Army Reserve. Originally from Maryland, he has resided in Moneta for 19 years, having built a place on SML over 30 years ago.
L.H. Williams - U.S. Army 1966-68
L.H. Williams, who resides in Campbell Co., served his country in the U.S. Army from 1966-1968. For thirteen months of that time, he spent in Vietnam, where he was wounded on two separate occasions. He received the Soldier’s Medal and the Purple Heart Medal. The Soldier’s Medal is the highest honor a soldier can receive for an act of valor in a non-conflict situation.
Williams humbly states that, “the World War II veterans are the real heroes.” We think all our veterans are heroes.
Lowell Williams - U.S. Navy Reserve 1969-71
Lowell Williams joined the U.S. Naval Reserves in 1967, while still in high school. After graduation, he went on active duty from April of 1969 to February of 1971. He was assigned to the aircraft carrier “The Coral Sea” and stationed in Vietnam, where they supported the ground troops with air support, food and other supplies. He is married to the former Carolyn Dowdy and they reside in Campbell County.
Henry I. Yates, Jr. - U.S. Army 1944-45
Submitted by Terrie Holmes:
My father, Henry, was a radio controller and fought in the Battle of the Bulge in Germany. After Germany surrendered, he helped clear out concentration camps.