for American Legion Post #142; Hominy, Oklahoma.
>>> by Gary Lanham
I had the privilege of attending the District 1A and 1B American Legion
Convention in Pryor, Oklahoma last Saturday. I ran into Our Post Commander
Jim Frazier and his wife Polly, as well as Jack Cross (Post Treasurer)
and Charles O’Leary. I also saw an old acquaintance from my military
duty days, I had not seen since 1997. This was a first for me, and I was
impressed with the organization and productiveness of the meeting. We
had a guest speaker who, retired now, was the first Marine to return to
combat duty after losing a leg in Iraq. He continues to press for
respect, assistance, and utilization for wounded warriors. What an
inspiration he was.
I think the overall single thought that dominated my morning was the
love of country and patriotism of the meeting. As my thoughts wandered,
I reflected on Charles comments at the last Hominy Post 142 get
together. He had mentioned that April is Vietnam Remembrance Month. As
I looked across the room I thought of those who were in attendance.
Veterans both men and women, who over seventy five years served through
peace time, as well as the difficult times. I was also proud of the
robust attendance of the Auxiliary who stand by their spouses and
country. Of course, the logical path of these thoughts were of those
who rendered the final and greatest sacrifice, our fallen heroes.
Here in Hominy, we two lost in the Vietnam conflict. Sammy Joe Cross and
James Harvey Shelton. James held the rank of 2nd Lieutenant in the USMC
(United States Marine Corp) and on the famous Vietnam Memorial in DC
his name is immortalized on Panel 1 8E Line 64. He was assigned to Fox
Company, 2nd battalion, 1st Marines and manned an outpost on a hill at
Nui Loc Son. Their mission was to deny passage to the valley below, to
the enemy by way of night and day patrols. It was during one of these
patrols, they were ambushed in what was described as a “hornet’s nest”
of crossfire. With heavy casualties, they held the enemy at bay until
other elements of the 1st Marines as well as 3rd Battalion 5th Marines
arrived to flank the enemy and crush them. Twenty nine Marines were
lost that day (April 21st, 1967) but they are remembered and honored here
forty six years later.
Sammy Joe Cross was the brother of our good friend and Hut Treasurer
Jack Cross. Sammy served in the USN (United States Navy) as a Gunner
Third Class. Many were not aware of the critical role the Navy served
in Vietnam patrolling rivers. He is immortalized at the memorial in DC
at Panel W39, Line 43. He served with the River Assault Squadron 9, TF
117. He was the typical Hominy boy, he loved horses, hunting and
fishing. He was on his second tour “in country”. He was on an inland
river patrol near the Kien Hoa Province when attacked by rocket or
mortar. We lost him November 10th, 1968. As is in most cases mothers
lost sons and sweethearts and wives at home lost their beloved.
These are our heroes who paid the ultimate sacrifice, and as we approach
Memorial Day, it is important to recognize those who served and paid a
price, some less, some more, but all gave some. A special thanks to
Charlie for sharing is important information.
In keeping with the spirit of this information, Memorial Day weekend
and Armed Forces day approaches. Babo reported that high winds and bad
weather last year destroyed over six hundred flags the Post had placed
in various places. Now we find ourselves in need of donations to
replace those flags so we can honor our past patriots. If you are a
current patriot that believes in recognizing the service of our past
defenders of freedom, and want to contribute call Babo at 918-885-6041.
It will be appreciated!
Our regular meetings are the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of each month at
1900 hours (7:00 PM) and our Monday morning Koffee Klatch meetings
waffles where we keep up on each other’s mischievous doings run
generally from 7 am to 9:30 am.