Welve he­roes from New­ton County and 11 of their broth­ers from Rock­dale County are com­ing home. Be­fit­ting the 40th An­niver­sary of the end­ing of the Viet­nam War, the Viet­nam Mov­ing Wall will be on dis­play in May at the Walk of He­roes War Me­mo­rial. And thank

The Covington News - - LIVING - Pete Mecca is a Viet­nam vet­eran, colum­nist and free­lance writer. You can reach him at avet­er­ansstory@gmail. com or avet­er­ansstory.us.

Sose­bee is the most rec­og­nized vet­eran in Rock­dale County. Folks may not have known his name, but un­told thou­sands have seen Bud in his World War II uni­form at var­i­ous events. Al­ways smil­ing, al­ways wel­com­ing. Bud’s easy­go­ing dis­po­si­tion was sorely tested when he wit­nessed the treat­ment Viet­nam vet­er­ans re­ceived when they re­turned home from an un­pop­u­lar war. He de­cided to do some­thing about it.

His vi­sion was to honor Viet­nam vet­er­ans by hon­or­ing all vet­er­ans with the Walk of He­roes War Me­mo­rial. The me­mo­rial is his baby, his vi­sion, and now, be­cause of this great man and pa­triot, we all have a me­mo­rial to be proud of, a place to honor the brave, a place to show our re­spect for the fallen.

Be­fore hon­or­ing our re­turn­ing he­roes, a brief ex­pla­na­tion con­cern­ing re­search is apro­pos. The in­ter­net Vir­tual Wall of­fers a ‘full pro­file’ on ev­ery vet­eran on The Wall in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., yet that in­for­ma­tion is ba­sic and of­fers lit­tle about the hu­man be­ing be­hind the name. A few vet­er­ans have longer pro­files in­clud­ing com­ments by loved ones and/or a brother from Southeast Asia. Fur­ther re­search in­di­cated that the war me­mo­rial on Cov­ing­ton Square in New­ton County and the one in front of the Rock­dale County Court­house may both be miss­ing one vet­er­ans’ name ac­cord­ing to the Ge­or­gia Reg­istry. This is not un­usual nor due to neg­li­gence. Vet­er­ans may have moved, been rec­og­nized else­where, or given their point of en­try into the mil­i­tary as their home town. Pho­tos are limited. The names of two vet­er­ans ap­pear on both mon­u­ments. I re­spect­fully of­fer the fol­low­ing trib­utes.

James Ter­rell Cofer — US Army, he­li­copter re­pairer, Spe­cial­ist Five. Spec five Cofer died in a he­li­copter crash in Pleiku Prov­ince on May 18, 1969. He was 21 years old.

Ray­mond Jack­son (two Ray Jack­sons listed on Vir­tual Wall) — both US Army, both in­fantry­men, both Pri­vate First Class. Pfc. Ray­mond Colum­bus Jack­son per­ished in a he­li­copter crash on Jan­uary 15, 1967 in Phong Dinh Prov­ince. He was 21 years old. Ray­mond Lee Jack­son died from en­emy small arms fire on Au­gust 25, 1968 in Quang Ngai Prov­ince. He was 20 years old.

Jerry John­son — US Army, in­fantry­man, Pri­vate First Class. Pfc. John­son lost his life to small arms fire on March 6, 1969 in Tay Ninh Prov­ince. He was 22 years old.

Ge­orge E. McMullen, III — US Air Force, he­li­copter crew­man, Tech­ni­cal Sergeant. Tech Sgt. McMullen per- ished in a he­li­copter crash on May 13, 1975 in Thai­land. He was 31 years old. Note: Tech Sgt. McMullen was as­signed to a spe­cial op­er­a­tions wing, clas­si­fied mis­sions.

Robert Lit­tle­ton Phillips — US Army, in­fantry unit com­man­der, Cap­tain. Cap­tain Phillips died from mul­ti­ple frag­men­ta­tion wounds on May 6, 1970 in Cam­bo­dia. Prov­ince not re­ported. He was 23 years old.

Robert An­thony Piper — US Army, in­fantry­man, Cor­po­ral. Cor­po­ral Piper died from en­emy small arms fire on July 31, 1971 in Quang Nam Prov­ince. He was 20 years old.

Danny Joe Richard­son — US Army, Tac­ti­cal Wire Op­er­a­tions Spe­cial­ist, Spe­cial­ist Four. Spec four Richard­son suf­fered mul­ti­ple frag­men­ta­tion wounds on April 3, 1968 in Binh Dinh Prov­ince. He was 20 years old.

James Terry Sav­age — US Army, Aerial Sen­sor Spe­cial­ist, Sergeant. Sgt. Sav­age lost his life on Oc­to­ber 14, 1969 in an air­plane crash in Khanh Hoa Prov­ince. He was 20 years old.

Earl Thomas Shaf­fer, Sr. (on both mon­u­ments) — US Army, in­fantry se­nior sergeant, First Sergeant. First Sergeant Shaf­fer was killed by en­emy small arms fire on De­cem­ber 9, 1968 in Binh Long Prov­ince. He was 45 years old.

Roy Lee Sin­gle­tary (not on the Cov­ing­ton Mon­u­ment) — US Army, light air de­fense ar­tillery crewmem­ber, Pri­vate First Class. Pfc. Sin­gle­tary died in­stantly from an ex­plo­sive de­vice on July 8, 1969 in Binh Dinh Prov­ince. He was 21 years old.

Isaac Thomas, Jr — US Marine Corps, ri­fle­man, Pri­vate First Class. Pfc. Thomas died from hos­tile frag­men­ta­tion wounds on June 7, 1969 in Quang Nam Prov­ince. He was 21 years old.

Mil­lard L. Tread­well — US Army, Op­er­a­tions and Train­ing Staff Of­fi­cer, Ma­jor. Ma­jor Tread­well per­ished in a he­li­copter crash on June 6, 1967 in Bien Hoa Prov­ince. He was 34 years old. A note on the Vir­tual Wall: “Oh Daddy, how your lit­tle girl misses you.”

Har­low Gary Clark, Jr. — US Army, chop­per pi­lot, Lieu­tenant Colonel. Lt. Col. Clark lost his life in a he­li­copter crash due to hos­tile fire on March 7, 1966. The prov­ince in Viet­nam was not re­ported. He was 44 years old.

Don­ald Wayne Gar­rett — US Army, in­fantry­man, Pri­vate First Class. On May 12, 1969, Pfc. Gar­rett died from mul­ti­ple frag­men­ta­tion wounds in Binh Long Prov­ince. He was 23 years old.

Robert Wayne Ham­lin — US Army, 82nd Air­borne, Sergeant. Sgt. Ham­lin died from en­emy small arms fire near Hua Nghia on Fe­bru­ary 5, 1969. He was 20 years old. A note from the Vir­tual Wall: “I re­mem­ber you be­ing a quiet easy-go­ing per­son. I looked at the signatures in the book at Danny McGee’s fu­neral and there was your name where you paid your re­spects for a fallen brother. Months later you lost your life in Nam also. I know you did your best and I thank you. You are missed still and will al­ways be missed. Thank you, my brother.”

Melvin Dou­glas Hol­comb - US Marine Corps, ra­dio op­er­a­tor, Staff Sgt. SSgt. Hol­comb per­ished from en­emy ar­tillery, rocket, or mor­tar fire in Quang Tri Prov­ince. He was 28 years old.

Wil­liam McCaskill - US Marine Corps, ri­fle­man, Pri­vate First Class. On April 26, 1967, Wil­liam was hit by en­emy small arms fire in Quang Tri Prov­ince. He died im­me­di­ately. Wil­liam was 23 years old.

Danny Dean McGee (ap­pears on both mon­u­ments) — US Marine Corps, com­bat en­gi­neer, Lance Cor­po­ral. Lance Cor­po­ral McGee died from hos­tile small arms fire on Jan­uary 23, 1967 near Thua Thien. He was 21 years old. A note from the Vir­tual Wall: “You are missed by all, Danny. Your laugh­ter, your kind­ness, and love of life were not taken in the jun­gles of Viet­nam. Those who love you have not al­lowed that to hap­pen. You live on in our hearts and minds. You left be­hind a mother, fa­ther, sis­ter, three half-sis­ters, and a fi­ancé. When you went away you had plans like the rest of us grunts. All we wanted was to do our jobs, come home to our white houses on our tree-lined streets, and take up where we left off. Who would have known the hand of fate would take you and leave me? Per­haps heaven needed you. Those of us who came home were for­ever changed. The houses were not as white, and the trees didn’t look the same. Tak­ing up where we left off was not an op­tion. Some­times, I thought you were the lucky one. I guess heaven will need me even­tu­ally, and when it does, we will meet again and talk of old times (I hope heaven has foot­balls). One day, both of us, along with Galen, will stand at the gate and pull duty to­gether, wel­com­ing our brethren into the fold. Sem­per Fi.”

Thomas Ron­nie Range, Jr. (not on the Rock­dale Mon­u­ment) — US Marine Corps, an­ti­tank as­sault man, Pri­vate First Class. Pfc. Range lost his life in Quang Nam Prov­ince on Septem­ber 17, 1968 from en­emy small arms fire. He was 19 years old.

James Earl Skip­per — US Army, in­fantry­man, spe­cial­ist four. Spec four Skip­per died in­stantly from an ex­plo­sive de­vice in Quang Tri Prov­ince on Fe­bru­ary 3, 1969. He was 20 years old.

Thomas Clin­ton Smith, Jr. — US Army, in­fantry­man, Cor­po­ral. Cor­po­ral Smith per­ished from an ex­plo­sive de­vice in Quang Ngai Prov­ince on April 8, 1970. He was 20 years old.

PETE MECCA COLUM­NIST

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