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 Show of Shows Special Guests
2018 GUEST LIST COMING SOON

2017 Show of Shows Special Guests 
Please note: This is a list of our special veteran guests as of 2/10/2017.  We ask everyone attending the show to understand that their plans are subject to change without notice.      
  Staff Sergeant Don J. Jenkins
Co. A, 39th Infantry, 9th Division
Medal of Honor
Vietnam
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Staff Sergeant Jenkins (then Private First Class.), Alpha Company, distinguished himself while serving as a machine gunner on a reconnaissance mission. When his company came under heavy crossfire from an enemy complex, Staff Sergeant Jenkins unhesitatingly maneuvered forward to a perilously exposed position and began placing suppressive fire on the enemy. When his own machine gun jammed, he immediately obtained a rifle and continued to fire into the enemy bunkers until his machine gun was made operative by his assistant. He exposed himself to extremely heavy fire when he repeatedly both ran and crawled across open terrain to obtain resupplies of ammunition until he had exhausted all that was available for his machine gun. Displaying tremendous presence of mind, he then armed himself with 2 antitank weapons and, by himself, maneuvered through the hostile fusillade to within 20 meters of an enemy bunker to destroy that position. After moving back to the friendly defensive perimeter long enough to secure yet another weapon, a grenade launcher, Staff Sergeant Jenkins moved forward to a position providing no protection and resumed placing accurate fire on the enemy until his ammunition was again exhausted. During this time he was seriously wounded by shrapnel. Undaunted and displaying great courage, he moved forward 100 meters to aid a friendly element that was pinned down only a few meters from the enemy. This he did with complete disregard for his own wound and despite having been advised that several previous rescue attempts had failed at the cost of the life of 1 and the wounding of others. Ignoring the continuing intense fire and his painful wounds, and hindered by darkness, he made 3 trips to the beleaguered unit, each time pulling a wounded comrade back to safety. Staff Sergeant Jenkins' extraordinary valor, dedication, and indomitable spirit inspired his fellow soldiers to repulse the determined enemy attack and ultimately to defeat the larger force. Staff Sergeant Jenkins risk of his life reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.
 
 
Sgt. Sammy L. Davis
Battery C, 4th Artillery, 9th Division
Medal of Honor
Vietnam
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life and beyond the call of duty. Sgt. Davis (then Pfc.) distinguished himself during the early morning hours while serving as a cannoneer with Battery C, at a remote fire support base. At approximately 0200 hours, the fire support base was under heavy enemy mortar attack. Simultaneously, an estimated reinforced Viet Cong battalion launched a fierce ground assault upon the fire support base. The attacking enemy drove to within 25 meters of the friendly positions. Only a river separated the Viet Cong from the fire support base. Detecting a nearby enemy position, Sgt. Davis seized a machine gun and provided covering fire for his guncrew, as they attempted to bring direct artillery fire on the enemy. Despite his efforts, an enemy recoilless rifle round scored a direct hit upon the artillery piece. The resultant blast hurled the guncrew from their weapon and blew Sgt. Davis into a foxhole. He struggled to his feet and returned to the howitzer, which was burning furiously. Ignoring repeated warnings to seek cover, Sgt. Davis rammed a shell into the gun. Disregarding a withering hail of enemy fire directed against his position, he aimed and fired the howitzer which rolled backward, knocking Sgt. Davis violently to the ground. Undaunted, he returned to the weapon to fire again when an enemy mortar round exploded within 20 meters of his position, injuring him painfully. Nevertheless, Sgt. Davis loaded the artillery piece, aimed and fired. Again he was knocked down by the recoil. In complete disregard for his safety, Sgt. Davis loaded and fired 3 more shells into the enemy. Disregarding his extensive injuries and his inability to swim, Sgt. Davis picked up an air mattress and struck out across the deep river to rescue 3 wounded comrades on the far side. Upon reaching the 3 wounded men, he stood upright and fired into the dense vegetation to prevent the Viet Cong from advancing. While the most seriously wounded soldier was helped across the river, Sgt. Davis protected the 2 remaining casualties until he could pull them across the river to the fire support base. Though suffering from painful wounds, he refused medical attention, joining another howitzer crew which fired at the large Viet Cong force until it broke contact and fled. Sgt. Davis' extraordinary heroism, at the risk of his life, are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself and the U.S. Army. 
*OVMS thanks Mr. Robert Landies of Ohio Ordinance for sponsoring the participation of Sammy L. Davis
 
 
Lieutenant Colonel Richard Cole
Doolittle Raiders
WWII 
Lieutenant Colonel Richard Cole was co-pilot to Lt Col Jimmy Doolittle on the legendary Doolittle Tokyo Raid on Japan, Apr. 18, 1942. He bailed out over China at night during a rainstorm after his plane ran out of fuel.  The Chinese rescued him and several other Raiders. After the raid, he remained in China-Burma-India Theater and flew supply missions over the “Hump.” His decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Air Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, the Bronze Star, the Air Force Commendation Medal, and the Chinese Army, Navy, Air Corps Medal. Lieutenant Colonel Cole retired from the United States Air Force in 1967 after 27 years of distinguished military service. 
*OVMS thanks Mr. Bill Shea of the Ruptured Duck for sponsoring the participation of Richard Cole 
 
Sergeant First Class Bob VandeLinde
11th Airborne Division
Korea
Bob VandeLinde graduated from Hamlin High School in 1947 and enlisted in the U.S. Army the subsequent year.  Bob took basic training at Fort Bragg, North Carolina and then continued to Fort Benning, Georgia for jump school.  After earning his airborne wings in April 1949, Bob was posted to Fort Campbell, Kentucky as a member of  the 11th Airborne Division.  When North Korea invaded South Korea in June 1950, he was activated for combat duty and dispatched overseas shortly thereafter.  Bob made two combat jumps into Korea (Sukchon & Munsan-ni) as a member of the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team.  He saw plenty of action in multiple vicious battles, including Wonju and “Bloody Inje.”  At Sukchon, Bob was wounded in the right leg by grenade shrapnel, as well as in the chin by a bayonet!  Despite his grievous wounds, using a rifle as a make-shift crutch, Bob painfully made his way back to the command post in time to warn his commanding officer of an impending attack by numerically superior North Korean forces.  In July 2011, he was finally decorated with the Silver Star for his gallantry in the midst of tremendous odds which resulted in saving his unit from being surprised by the enemy assault.  Bob currently lives in Moneta, Virginia with his wife, Jean and volunteers as a tour guide at the National D-Day Memorial located in nearby Bedford.  In addition to being a distinguished soldier, Bob is also an accomplished author.  So far, he has written three books: 1. A Tribute To Lincoln County Veterans © 2006, 2. Respect: Forgotten Heroes © 2008, 3. Korea © 2012.
 
 
Jim 'Pee Wee' Martin
Co. G, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment
WWII 
​Jim Martin joined the now famous 506th PIR at Camp Toccoa, GA, in July 1942. He was soon given the nickname “Pee Wee” due to being the lightest man in the regiment. He accepted the moniker with a badge of respect. After completing their initial training at Camp Toccoa, the 506th moved to Ft. Benning, GA, for jump training and then on to Camp Mackall, GA, for further training.  In anticipation of the coming invasion of Hitler’s “fortress europe,” the unit crossed the Atlantic on the HMS Samaria. After arriving in England in September 1943, G Company was stationed in the town of Ramsbury where they completed their pre-invasion training.  Jim parachuted into Normandy, landing near Saint-Côme-du-Mont behind Utah Beach, at 00:12, on June 6, 1944. “Pee Wee” Martin fought in the Normandy campaign for thirty-three days until the 101st Airborne was relieved and returned to England in July.  On September 17, 1944, the 101st Airborne Division jumped into Holland in the leading wave of “Operation Market Garden.” Jim Martin landed near the town of Son. G Company fought to secure “Hell’s Highway” during this ill-fated operation. The 506th PIR was sent to Mourmelon, France, in November after more than sixty days of fighting in Holland.  On December 16, 1944, Germany launched its last major offensive in the West, The Ardennes Offensive, soon to be known as the “Battle of the Bulge.” Jim Martin and the 101st Airborne Division were trucked over 100 miles to the Belgium crossroads town of Bastogne. G Company and the 506th established defensive positions at the edge of the Bois Jacques Woods. Jim Martin and his comrades endured bitter cold and some of the most difficult fighting on the Western Front during their time defending Bastogne.  After participating in operations in Germany early in 1945, the 101st ended their war by occupying Adolph Hitler’s mountain home in Berchtesgarden, in Bavaria, in April 1945.  Being a “high points man,” Jim Martin shipped home out of Marseilles in September 1945. In early 1946, Jim married Donna Vereka of Newtown, IA. They built their own home, had five children, and have lived on the same fifty acres in Sugarcreek Township, Ohio, since 1946.
 
 

 
Staff Sergeant Albert Mampre
Co. E, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment
WWII
Staff Sergeant Albert Mampre was born in Oak Park, Illinois, in 1922.  He enlisted in the Army during 1942 and volunteered for the paratroopers.  He was assigned to Easy Company, 506th PIR, 101st Airborne, as a medic at Toccoa, Georgia.  Prior to D-Day, Mampre developed a serious infection and was sent to the hospital, thus missing that jump.  He rejoined Easy Company in time for Operation Market Garden, his first combat jump.  Soon after, Easy Company Lieutenant Bob Brewer was shot by a sniper outside of Eindhoven.  Mampre immediately jumped to his aid and while providing medical assistance to Brewer, was also shot by the sniper, through the leg.  This incident was depicted in “Band of Brothers” during Episode 4, “Replacements.”  With the assistance of several Dutch citizens, both Mampre and Brewer were evacuated to an aid station.  After several weeks of recovery, Mampre rejoined Easy Company in Mourmelon, France, in time to accompany them into Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge.  Towards the end of the war, Mampre was reassigned as a medic to regimental headquarters and continued to serve in this role during the 101st Airborne’s time in Berchtesgaden and later in Austria.  Mampre returned home in September, 1945, and married his wife, Virginia, that November.  He went on to study psychology at the University of Chicago and worked as a psychologist until retiring in the 1970’s.
 
 
Private First Class Bradford C. Freeman
Co. E, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment
WWII
Bradford Freeman was born and raised in the lush Mississippi farmlands of Lowndes County, near Columbus. He was one of 8 children, 3 of whom fought in the war. After high school graduation he enrolled in Mississippi State University, which he attended for one semester before enlisting in the US Army on December 12, 1942.  He joined the paratroopers, following in the footsteps of his older brother, who became an officer in the 11th Airborne. Freeman was assigned to the 506th PIR,101st Airborne at Alderbourne, England in February 1944. There, he trained under the watchful eye of mortar squad leader Don Malarkey and platoon leader Bill Guarnere, both of whom he describes as great fighting men.  On D-Day Freeman parachuted into Normandy in Malarkey’s stick, forming up and fighting with Sgt. Chuck Grant until they joined the company near Brecourt Manor. Freeman vividly remembers the fierce fighting at Carentan, where he feels E-Company came together as a combat unit.  Freeman participated in the invasion of Holland, and recalls endless patrols and scary night outpost duty on the banks of the Rhine.  Following Market Garden Freeman survived the brutal weather and constant shelling in the Bois Jacques woods at Bastogne only to be wounded by a screaming mimi (Nebelwerfer rocket)  in Easy Company,s attack on Foy. Following release from a hospital in England, Freeman joined up with HQ Staff in Berchtesgaden in April 1945, and later with his E-Company comrades in Kaprun, Austria. After the war Brad Freeman went back to Mississippi State University for a semester, and then returned to help run a 197 acre family farm in Lowndes County.  He later worked with the US Postal Service, retiring after 32 years of service. 
 
 
Sergeant Don Jakeway
Co. H, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment
WWII
 
Don Jakeway entered the United States Army on November 28, 1942. He took his initial basic training at Camp Toccoa, Georgia with additional extended training in demolitions at Camp Blanding, Florida. The total was thirteen weeks.  His unit went through jump school at Fort Benning, Georgia. This training included five qualifying jumps - enough to earn the coveted paratrooper wings. More training was done at Camp Mackall, North Carolina prior to transferring to Camp Shanks, New York in preparation for shipment overseas.  The eleven-day crossing of the Atlantic began on December 23, 1943. The ship arrived in Belfast, Northern Ireland where the unit would stay until it was shipped to Knottingham, England in March 1944. Once in Knottingham final training preparations for the D-Day jump began.  Don Jakeway jumped into Normandy on June 6, 1944 landing near Chef–du-Pont outside of St. Mere Eglise. On July 4th, “H” Company lost several men in an attack across an open field in the Carentan Peninsula. The 508th PIR fought in the Normandy campaign until July 13th it was pulled back to England.  While in England, more training ensued until September 17, 1944 when the 82nd Airborne Division jumped into Holland in the leading elements of “Operation Market Garden.” Five days into the Holland operation Don Jakeway was severely wounded (near the town of Beek) by artillery shrapnel. He received wounds in the face, head and back requiring his evacuation. He was hospitalized for an extended period, recovering barely in time to be returned to duty as the “Battle of the Bulge” began in mid December 1944. The 82nd Airborne was sent to the town of Werbomont where it was to shield against a German attack. On January 31, 1945 during the closing days of the Ardennes Offensive Don was shot through the lung by a German sniper. He was carried to an aid station, by two German prisoners and loaded into an ambulance for the trip to the division hospital at Leige. During the trip, the driver lost control and the ambulance rolled over and over down the side of a mountain landing upside down in a river. Everyone was killed except Jakeway. He was rescued when American soldiers spotted the wreckage in the river. Don recovered and was released on August 25, 1945, from Memphis General Hospital. This ended his active participation in the war.  After the war, he married, had four children and had a career in international sales. Don has always taken an active interest in local community affairs around Johnstown, Ohio. 
*OVMS thanks Mr. Stuart Parsons for sponsoring the participation of Don Jakeway
 
   
Master Sergeant Wes Fields
USAF AC-130H Spectre Gunship Aerial Gunner
Somalia, 1991 Gulf War, Bosnia
MSgt Wes Fields is a 24 year decorated combat veteran in the United States Air Force as an Aerial Gunner on the AC-130H Spectre Gunship assigned to the United States Air Force Special Operations Command. He participated in numerous special operation missions throughout the world. These missions include supporting the emergency evacuation of a United States Embassy in Somalia, supporting the United States Marines on the ground by providing suppression fire during the first attack by Iraqi forces against collation forces during the Gulf War of 1991, and destroying targets during the largest air campaign in North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) history. During Operation “Eastern Exit” on January 1, 1991, the United States Ambassador to Somalia requested military assistance to evacuate the Embassy. Americans and other foreign nationals had sought shelter in the Embassy compound. Sergeant Fields and crew provided fire support and intelligent to other special operation teams bringing the operation to a successful conclusion.  During Operation “Desert Storm” in 1991, while flying a combat mission over southern Kuwait and northern Saudi Arabia, Sergeant Fields and crew provided critical nighttime air support to counter the first Iraqi offensive against coalition forces. They attacked and destroyed an Iraqi border post, command and control center, and numerous fuel trucks while dodging heavy antiaircraft artillery fire.  During Operation “Deliberate Force” in Bosnia-Herzegovina during the Bosnian War in 1995, Sergeant Fields and crew suppressed enemy air defenses and seriously damaged all targets assigned near the city of Sarajevo. This operation was the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) biggest combat undertaking since it was founded in 1949 and the largest air operation in Europe since World War II.  Sergeant Fields also served 3 years as an Aircraft Armament System Specialist loading munitions on the F-111A and F-16 A/B/C/D fighter aircrafts.  Master Sergeant Fields has earned 62 awards and decorations including the Meritorious Service Medal, 4 Air Medals, 4 Aerial Achievement Medals, and 7 Combat Readiness Medals. 
 
 
Private First Class Guy Whidden
HQ Co., 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment
WWII 
Guy Whidden was born in Wyncote, PA (near Philadelphia) to Rendol and Myrtle Whidden.
He served as a paratrooper in HQ Company, 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division in World War 2. Guy was a machine gunner and jumped into Normandy in the early hours of June 6, 1944. He also jumped into Holland during operation Market Garden in September, 1944. During a mortar attack near Best, he was severely wounded and three of his best friends were killed. Guy was still recovering in a hospital during the Battle of the Bulge. After his recovery, he was sent back to Fort Benning, becoming a jump school instructor.  Guy has written a book about his WWII experiences titled: “Between the Lines and Beyond.” This book recounts his time served in World War II through letters written home to his mother. As the title suggests, Guy’s censored letters often forced his family to read “between the lines” to figure out the many subtle messages he was sending. Through these letters and Guy’s narrative, we relive many of his experiences: Army training and the voyage to England on the S.S. Strathnaver; his historic jumps into Normandy on D-Day and into Holland during Operation Market Garden; and being seriously wounded by a German mortar shell that killed three of his friends...nearly causing his own leg to be amputated. These letters show the progression of a young man as he grew in maturity and the resilience of the true and honorable soldier that emerged.  This book gives a realistic and yet lighthearted look at what Guy went through during that period of his life so many years ago. But it does not stop there. Guy is still busy! An epilogue relates his activities since WWII including his “re-jump” into Normandy in 1994. 
*OVMS thanks Mr. Kenneth Osen for sponsoring the participation of Guy Whidden  
 
 
First Lieutenant James T. Lawrence
Delta Co., 2nd Bn., 7th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division
Vietnam 
James T. Lawrence was a 1st Lieutenant and Executive officer of Delta Company, at the very front of the column of the 2nd Battalion 7th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) at the battles of Landing Zones X-ray and Albany, Ia Drang Valley on November 14-17 1965.  On November 17 the 2nd Battalion of the 7th suffered 155 Americans killed and another 134 wounded, more one day casualties than any unit in the Vietnam War. This operation was a part of the larger Battle of Ia Drang, which has been depicted in the book, “We Were Soldiers Once … And Young,” by Harold G. Moore and Joseph Galloway, as well as the film, “We Were Soldiers,” starring Mel Gibson.  Following a hospital stay for wounds in action on the 17th Lawrence returned to the battalion in time for Operation Masher White Wing in February before his active duty time was up.  After attending graduate school and obtaining an MA in English, Lawrence went into real estate in Alabama.  He was a founder of LAH real estate.  In 2011 he sold his interest in the firm and is now the Education Director for the Alabama Center for Real Estate for the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.  He is named one of Birmingham’s 100 Most Influential People.  James Lawrence is the author of “Reflections on LZ Albany: The Agony of Vietnam” in which he documents his Vietnam experience in a series of thoughtful essays of men faceing death and includes his personal observations of the wounds of war.  
 
 
Donald Cobb
USS Murphy DD-603
United States Navy
WWII
 
Donald Cobb was born in Evansville, Indiana, on April 28, 1925, and moved with his family to Detroit, Michigan, when he was three weeks old.  His father became ill and died when he was five, so his mother took her three children and moved to Calhoun, Kentucky, to be closer to her family.  Don advance a grade in school and graduated in 1942 at the age of 17.  He moved to Detroit to seek employment at Coca Cola and later was employed at Fisher Body division of General Motors working on B-29 blueprints.  Upon turning 18, he was immediately drafted. The infantry life was not appealing to Don, so he volunteered for the Navy and went to basic training at Great Lakes.  He attended radio school at the University of Chicago and special training on Diamond Island on the German Codes.  He was then sent to the USS Murphy as part of a special three man crew to monitor sub transmissions.  The Germans were wise to their monitoring so his job evaporated and he became part of the regular radio crew.  
While he was on Murphy he was involved in Operation Overlord and Operation Dragoon.  His ship also escorted USS Quincy, with President Roosevelt on board during the Malta talks and also picked up the Saudi King, along with about 40 of his staff, and delivered them to the 
Quincy.  When the war ended, his ship returned to the US and prepared to go to the Pacific, but he was then sent to Pugets Sound for his final six months in the Navy. Donald then went to Evansville, Indiana, and went to college to become a mechanical engineer with International Harvester and retired from Whirlpool Corporation. 
 
  Douglas C. Dillard
551st Parachute Infantry Battalion
WWII, Korea, Vietnam
Douglas C. Dillard was only 16 years old when he enlisted in the Army on July 3, 1942. He wanted to be a paratrooper!  His mother reluctantly signed the papers allowing him to enlist.  Pvt. Dillard was assigned to the newly formed 551st Parachute Infantry Battalion, completing their training in November, 1942.  On Aug. 15, 1944, Dillard and the 551st PIB made their first combat jump into southern France as part of Operation Dragoon.  The unit then fought along the Mediterranean coast of France for 3 months until they were relieved in early winter.  Afterwards, the 551st was sent to Northern France to rest, re-equip, and prepare for an airborne assault across the Rhine.  This preparation was interrupted by Battle of the Bulge.   During the battle they joined parts of the 82nd Airborne.  The 551st PIB took heavy casualties while fighting in the first counter attacks that helped to stop the German advance.  On Jan. 4, 1945, at Dairomont, Belgium, Sgt. Dillard and his platoon took part in one of the last bayonet charges of the war.  Doug, however, didn’t have a bayonet.  His Thompson submachine gun was frozen--useless.  He only had his sidearm.  Sgt. Dillard and two platoons charged two German machine gun positions.  They overtook the positions with 64 dead Germans and only one U.S. casualty.
On Jan. 7, 1945, the 551st PIB lost many men while taking the heavily fortified town of Rochelinval. Sgt. Dillard’s company lost all but five men at the end of the fight. By Jan. 8, 1945, only 14 officers and 96 enlisted men remained in the 551st.  In early 1945 Sgt. Dillard was transferred to the 508th PIR, serving with that unit until VE day.  After the war, Doug qualified as a Master Parachutist and Pathfinder.  As an Intelligence Officer he studied the Czech and German languages in preparation for duty in Europe.  He went on to have a distinguished military career while serving in both the Infantry and Military Intelligence Branches. Combat service also included Korea where Doug served with the North Korean partisans and Agents behind the lines. He saw service in Vietnam including two tours: one with the MACV Detachment in the Mekong Delta the other as Commander of the Army Intelligence unit for SE Asia.
 
   
First Sergeant Malcolm Marsh
Co. A, 36th Armored Infantry Regiment
3rd Armored Division
WWII
Malcolm “Buck” Marsh was born May 16, 1923, in Florence, Alabama.  Buck graduated in 1941 from Rockwood, Tennessee, High School and the following fall entered Tennessee Tech.  After his sophomore year, he entered the Army Specialized Training Program and reported to Fort Benning, Georgia, on August 2, 1943, for infantry training.  After extensive infantry training, he boarded a troop ship bound for the European Theater of Operations as an infantry replacement.
He arrived in Belgium in December, 1944, just as the Battle of the Bulge had begun and was assigned to “A” Company, 36th Infantry Regiment--an integral regiment of the 3rd Armored Division.  After surviving cold, snow, and German shells, his division moved into western Germany in early February, 1945.  On February 26, the division moved into the Rhineland, seizing and securing numerous small towns and ultimately capturing the city of Cologne on March 6.  After crossing the Rhine River and enduring weeks of bitter fighting and suffering casualties, the division took the fortified city of Paderborn on April 1, thereby closing the Ruhr Pocket and sealing off some 350,000 German prisoners.  From Paderborn, the division turned toward the Elbe River city of Dessau, some 150 kilometers to the east, and took control of many small hamlets and cities, including the concentration camps at Nordhausen, on the way.  After fierce fighting and significant casualties, Dessau was secured on April 24, 1945, thereby ending combat for the 3rd Armored Division.  During his four months of combat, Buck earned three battle stars.  He also received the Purple Heart medal for action at the village of Mellendorf, Germany, on April 16, 1945.  Buck entered “A” Company as a PFC, became a squad leader during combat, and eventually rose to the rank of 1st Sergeant.  Upon being discharged, Buck entered Auburn University, receiving a BS degree in Building Technology.  Shortly thereafter, he was married.  Buck retired in December, 2007, from the construction industry, allowing him and his wife Wanda time to travel, play with grandchildren, and enjoy their special home in the woods.
 
  T/5 Rodney Ray Stewart, Jr.
Co. F, 66th Armored Infantry Regiment
2nd Armored Division
WWII
Rodney Ray Stewart, Jr., was drafted into the Army on July 9, 1943, at age 19.  After completing basic training at Ft. Knox, Kentucky, he continued onto Bath, England, then on to Europe via Normandy Beach on D+5.  Assigned to the famed “Hell on Wheels” division, Ray joined the 2nd Armored, 66th Regiment, Company F in Carentan, France, as a replacement gunner and then tank driver.  During the war he fought in five campaigns—Normandy, Northern France, the Ardennes, Rhineland, and Central Europe.  He had two of his tanks destroyed, and he participated in the battle to take the Adolph Hitler Bridge where 15 of 17 tanks of the 2nd were knocked out.  He was discharged at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, on December 31, 1945, and received five Campaign Ribbons, the Presidential Unit Citation with OLC, French and Belgium Fourragere, Good Conduct Medal, and Victory Medal.  He retired from General Tire and Rubber Company where he was a mechanical engineer.  In 2013, Ray and his wife, Dottie, were flown by Sony Pictures to Los Angeles to meet with the cast and crew of the WWII movie, “Fury.”  Ray and three other 2nd Armored veterans participated in a roundtable discussion with the movie’s stars, including Brad Pitt and Shia LaBeouf.  He served as an historical consultant for the movie and was also flown out for the film’s premiere.  It is said Ray “was something like the character of young Norman Ellison in the film” as the production notes mention that Ray told them he “had four guys in there who were trained by Patton, and I was the new guy.”  Brad Pitt said the following about meeting Ray and the three other 2nd Armored veterans:  “We got to meet several vets who were all in their 90’s; they had survived D-Day landings, and the Battle of the Bulge…it was a very humbling experience to sit in their presence and listen to their stories.  They had very visceral descriptions of what it was like to be in the tank:  the heat, the exhaust, it was oily, the smell of death was always in the air.  Most of them were undertrained, they were underequipped, they were dealing with incredible hardships and weather, lack of food, lack of sleep.  And they had to push on under the most harrowing of conditions.”
 
  Lieutenant Bud Alley
2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry
Vietnam
Bud Alley grew up in Greenville, South Carolina, and graduated with an ROTC commission in June, 1964.  He was assigned to the Infantry as part of an experimental program called the U2.  This meant he was sent directly to a unit without going to the Officer Basic course.  In the winter of 1965, he was selected to attend the Combat Communication Officer’s school in Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, as a Second Lt.  This normally was a Senior Captain’s job.  Shortly after his return from Ft. Sill, he found himself part of the newly minted First Cavalry Division Airmobile assigned to the Second Battalion Seventh Cavalry.  General George Custer’s old unit.  On August 17, they deployed by ship to Vietnam, landing 30 days later in Qhi Nhon.  Sixty days later, the Second of the Seventh Cavalry was in action in the central highlands of Vietnam in a valley called the Ia Drang.  The first major encounter of the ten year war beginning at Landing Zone X-ray and its subsequent disastrous battle beside the Ia Drang River called the Battle of LZ Albany.  The Albany battle was the bloodiest day of the war and the Second Battalion lost 155 men that day and had 134 wounded—the most Purple Hearts awarded to one unit for one day’s action in the entire war.  After a seven week stint in the hospital, he returned to the unit in time for its next big operation:  Masher White Wing, on the coast of Vietnam where they again encountered large losses.  During that operation, he spent four days fighting with the VN 1st Airborne Battalion advised by Captain Pete Dawkins.  He continued to serve a complete 12-month tour participating in every operation of the battalion, and returning to Greenville on 1 August 1966 where he married Caroline Davis, his fiancée who waited for him.  His awards include the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Air Medal and others.  He retired from the packaging industry and holds Master’s Degrees in Business and in History.
In 2015, he released his book about those first five months in Custer’s old unit in 1965, “The Ghosts of the Green Grass” at Fort Benning, Georgia.
 
 
Lieutenant George Patton 'Pat' Waters
United States Navy
Vietnam 
George Patton “Pat” Waters is the son of Gen. John Knight Waters and Beatrice Patton Waters, daughter of WWII Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.  Born in 1941, Pat Waters has several childhood memories of his famous grandfather.  Pat’s father, Gen. John K. Waters, was a member of the U.S. Military Academy Class of 1931.  While fighting in Tunisia in 1943, he became a POW and subsequently was interned in Germany.  In March of 1945, Gen. Patton sent Task Force BAUM to liberate the American prisoners at Hammelburg where John Waters was being held prisoner.  Although shot and severely wounded during the rescue attempt, he survived the war to become a 4-Star General in 1966.  Breaking a long line of family tradition after college, Pat Waters joined the Navy in 1965.  After graduating from OCS, he reported to San Diego for air controller training.  He then reported to the USS Braine as combat information center officer.  He remained CI commanding officer until his departure in August, 1968.  His cruise time included Westpac and service in the Gulf of Tonkin.   Pat’s last year with the Navy was at Glencoe Naval Air Station where he taught anti-submarine warfare.  He left the Navy in 1969 with an Honorable Discharge as a Lieutenant.  Pat Waters is often called upon to serve as a representative of the Patton family in events around the country and in Europe.  He is involved in real estate development, is also an accomplished pilot, and serves on many aviation related boards.  He also is a board member of the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation and the Indiana Military Museum.
*OVMS thanks Mr.Jim McDuff of ASMIC for sponsoring the participation of Pat Waters 
 
In addition to the individual veteran sponsors mentioned above, the Ohio Valley Military Society would like to thank the following individuals, businesses, and organizations for their contributions of hard work and financial support which makes it possible to bring our Veteran Guests to the Show-of-Shows:
Valor Studios
Mr. Jim Osborne (Indiana Military Museum)
Mr. Bob Kraus
Mr. Larry Eads
Mr. Walter Dudgeon
Mr. Bill Wise
Mr. Robert Wilson   

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