The Passing of a Great Legionnaire

Before I begin my article, I want to take time to share the passing of a wonderful man, veteran, and citizen of Hominy. WWII Navy vet John Fields passed last week, and it was difficult time for all of us who attend the Monday morning breakfasts and general meetings. His funeral was last Saturday, and he is laid to rest at the Hominy cemetery. We had nine Legion members who attended the funeral. He will be sorely missed. Salute John, greet Rex, Dick and the rest and keep the Joe warm at the campfires. We all follow the final orders f our Supreme Commander to the final bivouac.

There was exciting news. The City Council has passed the resolution for Hominy to be recognized by the Purple Heart Society. Our Commander talked with John Henry Mashunkashey with the Purple Heart Society; he said things will move forward to establish signs at the entrances of our city as a Purple Heart city. Those who bore wounds of war or died due to them in service to their country are honored.

Okay Sherry and Babo with respect and a salute. I have lived in and loved Texas, our southernmost brethren have a history of independence and fierce patriotism not exceeded by any other. For a Sooner like me, that only day is the Red River Rivalry. However, a Texan transplant stood strong in Vietnam this day in 1967. I want to honor him.

David McHerney was a hero and performed amazing acts of heroism. Let me tell you the details. He was a First Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company A, 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry, 4th Infantry Division. He fought in Polei Doc, Republic of Vietnam on 22 March 1967. He first entered service at Fort Bliss, Tex. Born a Yankee n Massachusetts he was assigned to Texas. Texas, like so many other states, embrace those that come from the outside. 1st Sgt. McNerney distinguished himself when his unit was attacked by a North Vietnamese battalion near Polei Doc.

Running through the hail of enemy fire to the area of heaviest contact, he was assisting in the development of a defensive perimeter when he encountered several enemy at close range. He killed the enemy but was painfully injured when blown from his feet by a grenade. In spite of this injury, he assaulted and destroyed an enemy machinegun position that had pinned down 5 of his comrades beyond the defensive line.

Upon learning his commander and artillery forward observer had been killed, he assumed command of the company. He adjusted artillery fire to within 20 meters of the position in a daring measure to repulse enemy assaults. When the smoke grenades used to mark the position were gone, he moved into a nearby clearing to designate the location to friendly aircraft. In spite of enemy fire, he remained exposed until he was certain the position was spotted and then climbed into a tree and tied the identification panel to its highest branches.

Then he moved among his men readjusting their position, encouraging the defenders and checking the wounded. As the hostile assaults slackened, he began clearing a helicopter landing site to evacuate the wounded. When explosives were needed to remove large trees, he crawled outside the relative safety of his perimeter to collect demolition material from abandoned rucksacks. Moving through a fusillade of fire he returned with the explosives that were vital to the clearing of the landing zone. He disregarded the pain of his injury and refused medical evacuation. He remained with his unit until the next day when the new commander arrived. First Sgt. McNerney’s outstanding heroism and leadership were inspirational to his comrades. His actions resulted in the award of Medal of Honor.

On the here and now local, we continue to have two efforts to raise funds that come back to the community. The Department of Oklahoma in OKC has Legion 100th Anniversary coins for sale at $15 each. We also have another 10-gun raffle going on at Post 142, for only $10 you can get one of 10 different guns being raffled off. Last week I listed a Henry 17 HMR Rifle. A Thompson 50 Caliber Bone Collector. The Mossberg 935 Turkey Shotgun. Also, the Ruger AR 556. Here are the rest up for grabs. SIG Model 1911 “We the people” handgun. A Weatherbly PA-08 12 Gauge. Add to that a Henry lever action 22 rifle, a Ruger 380ACPhandgun with laser, Henry .45 Big Boy, and a Thompson .50 Cal Muzzleloader. You know a Legionnaire? Ask them to get you in the raffle!

Next Legion Meeting will be Thursday April 5th, usually with inner at 6:00 PM and meeting at 7:00 PM. If there is a change I will get the word out. Monday morning Koffee Klatch meetings in March are still scheduled for biscuits and gravy with always a cup of Joe (coffee to the civilians). Keep your eye on the weather in case things must be postponed (like freezing weather). If you are a veteran come on by. If you have a good story it may end up in print. Also keep up with us at website “americanlegion142.org”.

 

About Gary Lanham

Authors the weekly article "News from the Hut", about local American Legion Post #142 in Hominy, OK. Read his weekly articles in the "Hominy News Progress".
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