NEWS FROM THE HUT by John Hamilton
This is going to be a “Flashback” series about veterans who have been part of the history of the HUT, Post 142 in Hominy, Oklahoma, and part of the history of the Hominy community. All veterans are special patriots and deserve to be honored, but the veterans who are no longer with us also deserve to be honored, and that is the purpose of this “Flashback” series for veterans that have passed into the Hominy Post 142 Post Everlasting Memorial in our hearts
Sgt. Louis Marvin Hale, Sr.
Sgt. Louis Marvin Hale, Sr. was born April 2, 1926, in Pecos, Texas to Joseph L. and Vera Amerson Hale and lived in Amber, OK and Hominy OK. Louis M. Hale enlisted in the United States Naval Reserve (USNR) on March 30, 1944, at the Naval Reserve Station in Oklahoma City, and then entered into active duty on April 8, 1944, in the United States Navy (USN) at the Naval Training School in Williamsburg, Virginia. He continued to the NTADC at Camp Peary in Williamsburg. The first ship Louis was stationed on was the USS Lake Champlain and then the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt. Louis attained the rank of E-5 or Yeoman Second Class (Y2C), aka Petty Officer Second Class (PO2). Louis M. Hale PO2 received an Honorable Discharge from the Navy at the USN Personnel Separation Center at Lido Beach, Long Island, New York on June 7, 1946. Louis received the American Theater Medal and the Victory Medal for his service while in the Navy.
Not long after getting discharged from the Navy, Louis married a local Hominy lady named Zelda Cody on August 17, 1946. Zelda was born and raised in Hominy, OK. To this union were born six children, four boys and two girls. Three of the sons, Louis M Hale, Jr., Jim Hale, and Pat Hale followed their father into the Oklahoma Army National Guard.
After experiencing civilian life for a little over eight years, Louis Hale enlisted in the Oklahoma Army National Guard (OKANG) in November of 1954. While Louis was enlisted in the Guard, he was appointed as the Administrative Supply Technician at Hominy, Oklahoma in Company B, First Battalion, 179th Infantry, 45th Infantry Brigade. He was able to advance to E-8, First Sergeant (1SG). Louis’ MOS was 11B50, Infantryman. Louis requested to be assigned to the United States Army Reserve (USAR) prior to his honorable retirement from the service on the November 24, 1976. Louis M. Hale, Sr. retired from the OKANG with 20 years of federal service and a total of 24 years of service. Sgt. Louis M. Hale, Sr. was an active member of the American Legion, Post 142 in Hominy, Oklahoma and was the Post Commander from 1962 to 1963. Sgt. Louis Marvin Hale, Sr. passed away July 21, 1991, in Ada, Pontotoc County, Oklahoma at the Valley View Hospital at the age of 65. At the time of his death, he lived in Lula, OK. Sgt. Hale is buried at A. J. Powell Memorial Cemetery in Hominy, Oklahoma.
Bill Gene Starks, Sr.
Bill Gene Starks, Sr. was born March 22, 1924, in Sapulpa, OK. Later the family moved to a farm north of Hominy. They later moved out of original house into, what they referred to as “the big house” at the same location. The original home is now gone. It still exists on the West side of the road, West of the prison. Bill attended school at Mound Valley School near Highway 99 where he played basketball and finally graduated from Mound Valley School. Bill’s family continued to live there until the 1960’s or early 70’s. Bill has one sister, Ann Starks (Smith), still alive, but she was just a few years old when he was killed in action overseas.
Billy, as he was called by the love of his life, Sylvia Faye Field, which he met on October 26, 1940, on one of his very infrequent trips to town due to Billy’s parents need for his help on their farm located about five miles north of town. Billy was excited to have run into Sylvia on a ride she took with some of her friends to Cleveland, Oklahoma. It was twist of fate that Billy and Sylvia both made the trip to Cleveland on the same day at the same time. Billy was not able to get back to town for another two weeks. Billy took Sylvia to the show and walked her home afterwards and then the five mile walk to his home. After that first meeting Billy was not able to get to town for a month. Billy was eventually able to get a ride to town once a week with his friend Jim Elam, but still had to make that five mile walk home. By the time Billy walked Sylvia home, and went on to his house, he would get there about time to do the early morning chores. Billy totally realized that Sylvia was absolutely worth the long walk home and no sleep once a week. Sylvia graduated from Hominy High School, the old one on South Wood Avenue and Fifth Street.
Billy and Sylvia caught a bus to Sapulpa and were married on February 16, 1942, by a justice of the piece at the courthouse. Billy and Sylvia were so happy, but afraid of what their families would say. On the bus trip back, they separated on the bus and Billy’s stop was before Sylvia’s, so he got off and blew her a kiss. Sylvia went on to her stop and they did not see each other or got to talk for the next six weeks, as neither of them had a phone. Only nine months after Billy and Sylvia were married, Bill was drafted into the US Army on December 21, 1942. Bill received his physical notice of induction on February 11, 1943, and on June 17, 1943, Bill and Sylvia were blessed with a baby girl that they named Bonnie Jean. Two months later, on August 23, 1943, Bill had to report to boot camp and spent two months on firing range training from September to November. After boot camp Bill was given ten days home leave that Bill and Sylvia spent together and their seven-month-old baby girl, Bonnie Jean. Bill reluctantly has to end his short home leave and report to Fort Ord, CA on January 19, 1944.
Bill Starks Sr. was shipped overseas on January 26, 1944, to serve in the Philippines. Two months after arriving he was decorated for service as a member of Company F, 129th Infantry, 37th Division. The unit received the Presidential Unit Citation for the defense of Hill 700 that repelled 8 major attacks by two Japanese divisions.
On October 19, 1944, Bill Gene Starks Jr. was born to Bill and Sylvia while Bill was in the Philippines. A year later he received a Bronze Star for Individual Heroism in January 1945. A month later he participated in the Lingayen beachhead north of Manilla, Luzon, Philippines. The unit proceeded to fight street to street and building to building in their fight to take Manila. On February 12, 1945, Bill Gene Starks Sr. was killed instantly by a mortar as he entered a building. His unit was pulled from the fighting the next day.
During his service, Starks qualified for seven different weapons and received two battle stars, one beachhead arrowhead, Good Conduct medal, WWII Victory medal, Pacific Campaign medal, Presidential Unit Citation, Bronze Star and Purple Heart.
Billy Gene Starks Sr.’s remains were brought back to Hominy, Oklahoma in 1948 and interred in his current resting place at the A.J. Powell Memorial Cemetery in Hominy, Oklahoma.
Until further notice, our regular Legion meeting will be the third Thursday of each month. Our next meeting will be on Thursday, June 17th at 7:00 PM. The Sons of the American Legion meetings have been suspended until further notice, depending on the future COVID-19 situation. We have resumed the tradition of the dinner at the meetings now on the third Thursday of each month. The Monday morning Koffee Klatch meetings have been resumed at 8:00 AM. If you are a veteran, come by for our monthly meeting, and/or the Monday morning Koffee Klatch meetings. Several of the Post 142 members meet on Wednesday’s at Daylight Donuts on OK-99 around 8:00 AM in Hominy for coffee and breakfast treats. If you have a good story, it may end up in print. Also, keep up with us at the Post 142 website “americanlegion142.org” and Hominy Legion on Facebook.