American Legion Post 173 held its awards ceremony on Friday, March 18, 2016, honoring six individuals who served their country with pride and have contributed a combined 400 years to the organization.
"When I started calculating the years, I decided these gentlemen deserved more than just for me to hand them their certificates during a meeting, take it to their house or mail it to them," said Post 173 Commandeer John A. Davis. "They deserve far more than that. These men have provided 400 cumulative years in The American Legion. That's amazing. Five of them are World War II veterans and one of them is a Vietnam veteran."
Honored during the event were:
* Bruce E Baldwin, Vietnam - U.S. Navy 1964-1966; Air Man Flight Crew Patrol Squadron 44. He has served 50 continuous years in the Legion.
* Hubert P Boyd, World War II - U.S. Army 1943-1945; Private First Class; drafted his high school senior year; served in North Africa, England, France and Italy and was involved in the invasion of Southern France in the 45th Division. He received two Purple Hearts - one for being wounded by machine gun fire and one when wounded by shrapnel. He has served for 70 continuous years in the Legion.
* Billy Magness Jordan, World War II - U.S. Army June 17, 1943 to Oct 14, 1945; Private First Class; served in England and France and was involved in the D-Day invasion going ashore on Omaha Beach. He was later captured and was a POW until August 1945 when he escaped and went to Italy. He received the Purple Heart, World War II Victory Ribbon, and the American Defense Ribbon. He has served 70 continuous years in the Legion.
* Howard E Locke, World War II - U.S. Army Air Corps 1942-1946; Captain; served in England, France and Italy, served as an Air Force Pilot; and served during the D Day landing. He is currently 97 years old. He has served 70 continuous years in the Legion.
* James A "Jack" Puckett. World War II - U.S. Army October 1944 to August 22, 1946; Sergeant; served in World War II in the Pacific Theater of Operations; received the WW II Victory Medal, American Defense Medal, and Overseas Ribbon. He has served 70 continuous years in the Legion.
* Charles L Smith, World War II - U.S. Navy April 1, 1943 to March 1946; Petty Officer 2nd Class; served in North Africa, Italy, and later in the Pacific Theater of Operations. He received two battle stars among the other ribbons issued for service in Europe and the Pacific Theater. He has served 70 continuous years in the Legion.
Along with family, friends and other American Legion members in attendance to honor the men, present were Warren County Executive Herschel Wells, State Reps. Judd Matheny and Kevin Dunlap, and State Sen. Janice Bowling.
" I would like to personally congratulate each of these recipients," said Davis. "Surpassing this milestone in The American Legion exemplifies the endurance of our organization as the leading advocate for our veterans' rights and benefits. Your American Legion very much appreciates this continuing support, and your achievement proves you are still serving America."
Wells presented a proclamation: " Warren County is forever appreciative of, and indebted to, all veterans who have represented our county, state, and nation with utmost honor and integrity through service in various branches of the United States military" and specifically recognizing the "six Warren County veterans who have achieved significant milestones through continuous membership in the American Legion"; each of the six was given a copy.
The event was held at Warren County Administrative Building on Locust Street with American Legion Lady's Auxiliary Unit 173 providing refreshments.