Twenty-six World War II veterans leave Thursday for a three-day whirlwind tour of Washington, D.C., as special guests on the eighth Brookshire’s/Super 1 Foods Heroes Flight.
Brookshire’s officials and a team of volunteers will escort the veterans as they visit the World War II Memorial, tour the Capitol Building with U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, witness the changing of the guard at Arlington National Cemetery and visit a host of memorials and museums in the nation’s capital.
The trip will take place Thursday through Saturday, starting with a 6 a.m. flight from Tyler Pounds Regional Airport. Another group of veterans from Louisiana will leave from Shreveport and join the East Texas group at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. From there, the group will leave together for Washington.
The public is invited to come to the airport and welcome the East Texas veterans home Saturday evening. Their flight is expected to arrive at 9:25 p.m.
Going on the trip from East Texas and the Shreveport vicinity are:
Archie Allen (Coast Guard) — Mineola. Served as port security specialist in New Orlean; Boston, Mass.; and St. Louis, Mo. (August 1943 – December 1945)
Bill Bagwell (Army) — Homer, La. Entered into service from Choudrant, La. Trained at North Camp Hood in Texas then served in Germany as occupation forces in the 1st Armored Division. (February 1945 – February 1947)
Liston Barber (Navy) — Martin’s Mill. Served as Seaman First Class in San Diego and Twenty-nine Palms, Calif., for 18 months. Spent a year in the Philippines, Okinawa, Korea and China aboard landing ship LSM-433. Rode out typhoon off Okinawa. (February 1944 – June 1946)
G.A. “Bo” Bobo (Navy) — Longview. Served in U.S. Naval Reserve Aviation Cadet Program. Commissioned as a lieutenant (j.g). Flew anti-submarine patrols in Northern and Southwest Pacific in land-based and sea planes. (February 1943 – November 1945)
Allen Brown (Navy) – Tyler. Served as Fireman First Class in the Pacific Theater, specifically at U.S. Naval Base 213 in Corinto, Nicaragua, then on submarine chasers USS PC-616 and USS PC-570. (January 1944 – June 1946).
Paul Franklin (Army) – Doyline, La. Served as first sergeant, Headquarters Battery. 124th Field Artillery Battalion, 33rd Division, Sixth Army. Then served as first sergeant at Sugamo prison in Tokyo, Japan. (November 1943 – April 1946)
J.B. Glaspie (Navy) – Tyler. Served on destroyer USS Lofberg (DD-759) in South Pacific training for Tokyo invasion. Was in Tokyo Bay for signing of Japanese surrender. Later served on occupation force then mail run (China, Korea and Okinawa). During Korean War, served aboard destroyer USS Walker DD723. (World War II October 1944 – June 1946; Korean War October 1950 – February 1952)
Carl Griffin (Marines) – Winnsboro. Served as a Private First Class with the Marine Corps 3rd Division in the South Pacific. Saw action at Guadalcanal, Vella Lavella, Bougainville and Guam. Automotive equipment operator. (September 1942 – November 1945)
Claude Grisham (Army) – Holly Lake Ranch. Served in K Company, 315th Infantry Regiment as platoon sergeant on Utah Beach (France). Part of D-Day invasion force and fought with First Army to Cherbourg, France. Was part of Patton’s Third Army on front lines. Wounded July 19, 1944, and spent rest of war in Army hospital. (May 1942 – September 1945)
Jack Hawkins (Navy) – Tyler. Spent two years aboard USS Missoula (APA-211) as driver of landing craft boat. Participated in assault wave to capture Iwo Jima. Also landed with the Army to take Okinawa and was in Tokyo Bay when the surrender was signed. (April 1944 – May 1946)
Charles H. Higgs (Marines) — Shreveport, La. Entered service in Texarkana, Ark. Corporal with 1st Marine Division for two years seagoing duty aboard USS Wyoming, and USS Mississippi. During Korean War, served with 3rd Battalion, 11th Marines as a 105mm cannoneer and forward observer. Involved in capture and securing of Seoul, Korea, then participated in Wonsan-Hungnam-Chosin campaign in Northern Korea. (April 1946 – August 1954)
Howard Hunt (Air Force) – Holly Lake Ranch. Attended basic infantry, pilot, navigation and gunnery training and bombardier training on a B-17. Was assigned to B-29 as commissioned flight officer headed for the Pacific when atom bomb was dropped. (December 1942 – November 1945)
John Jackson (Navy) — Winnfield, La. Entered into service from Alexandria, La., then trained in San Diego, Calif. Served as Seaman 2nd Class with the Seabees doing construction work. Was in the first occupation forces in Sasebo in Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan. (July 1944 – June 1946)
R.J. Johns (Navy) – Longview. Entered into service in Winnsboro, La. Served as Seaman First Class on USS Ault (DD-698). Deckhand on landing craft delivering soldiers to the beach. Served in both Pacific and Atlantic. (September 1944 – June 1946)
Bob Kent (Navy) – Bullard. Aviation Machinist Mate 2nd class petty officer, served on Hilo, Eniwetok and Saipan in the South Pacific as a combat air crewman, Torpedo Squadron 2, Carrier Air Group 2, USS Shangri-La. Was at Tokyo Bay for signing of Armistice and a member of first Liberty Party in Tokyo, Japan. (June 1943 - May 1946)
Taylor Paul (Army Medical Corps) – Tyler. Served in the United States as first lieutenant, company commander, Chief of Officer Personnel. (January 1944 – December 1946)
Lee Solice (Army) — Shreveport, La. In basic training when war ended. Sent to Germany in March 1946, served there six years with the 6th Armored Cavalry Regiment and U.S. Constabulary from 1949 -1952. Retired with 22 years service.
Mel Toalston (Navy) – Mooringsport, La. Served in the Pacific on USS Guam (CB-2) battle cruiser. (January 1945 – July 1946)
Lewis Vawter, Jr. (Army) – Marshall. Served as an airplane mechanic on the B-24 Liberator Bomber. (October 1942 – October 1945)
Don Warbritton, Jr. (Navy) – Marshall. Attended gunnery school in Seattle. Served on construction battalion at Patrol Torpedo Boat Advanced Base 3 in the Philippines, then in Korea, Japan, Australia and Hawaii. (April 1944 – February 1946)
Ben Weber (Army) – Pollok. Assigned to the Fourth Marine Division as a medic at Iwo Jima. Returned stateside as military police at POW camp in Huntsville. Escorted prisoners to other camps in other states. (November 1942 – February 1946)
Fred Wernette (Army) – Tyler. Attended basic training at Camp Lee in Virginia. Served as staff sergeant in the 12th Corps of Patton’s Third Army in the European Theater. He later serviced International Business Machines (IBM) equipment. (October 1943 – January 1946)
Dick Whittington (Navy) – Shreveport, La. Served as deck hand and gunner’s mate on destroyer USS Hughes (DD-410) in the South Pacific. (March 1943 – May 1945)
Marcus Wren, Jr. (Army) – Minden, La. Served as staff sergeant in the 32nd Infantry Division, participated in battle of Luzon, Philippines. Liberated Japanese POW camp on island of Kyushu. Served as MP during occupation of Japan. (October 1944 – November 1946)
David Yarbrough (Army) – Tyler. Served as staff sergeant with 1st Cavalry 5th Regiment and supervised two squads using 81mm mortars in the Philippines, New Guinea and Admiralty Islands. Training instructor in El Paso in all forms of sharpshooting. (February 1941 – September 1945)
Zeke Ziober (Navy) – Tyler. Served aboard the minesweeper USS YMS-425 for 19 months in the Pacific. Was preparing to invade Japan when the atomic bombs were dropped and Japan surrendered. Rode out a typhoon in October 1945 at Okinawa. (March 1944 – July 1946)