Monday, September 01, 2014

W.B. RICE

CAPTAIN WILLIAM B. RICE
A Distinguished Innovator



William B. Rice was arguably the most important farmer, naval stores operator, businessman and financier that Laurens County has ever known.  Known simply as "Captain Rice," he was one of the most respected men of his day.  Never one to seek political office, he served his community by pursuing his business interests.  In  building his own substantial fortune  in the process, Rice pumped the economic engine which catapulted Dublin and Laurens County to become one of the most preeminent economic markets in Georgia in the first two decades of the 20th Century.

William Brooks Rice, son of Benjamin F. Rice,  was born on Edisto Island, South Carolina on October 2, 1856, one hundred and fifty years ago yesterday.  His mother, Rebecca Sauls Rice,  died when he was  only two years old. The young William was sent to live with his aunt.  His early years were spent in the maelstrom of South Carolina's secession from the Union and the resulting turbulence of the Civil War which nearly consumed Charleston.

Toward the end of the 19th Century, William and his brothers Dan G. Rice and Samuel Percy Rice, migrated from Florida to the western end of Emanuel County, Georgia.  The Rice brothers established a highly successful naval stores operation near Rixville, located  at the far limits of the county below Adrian.  Pine trees in the area were highly suitable for the production of gum turpentine, especially in the forests  between Adrian, Rockledge and Soperton.    It was during this time when William Rice earned the title of "Captain Rice."  Turpentining was a labor intensive operation requiring the employment of many men, usually black men, who worked for humble wages just to survive.   The title of captain was usually bestowed as an honorary title to a man who was the boss of a group of laborers.

Captain Rice began to diversify his interests by engaging in farming.  In 1901, he made the headlines in the Atlanta Constitution by earning nearly two thousand dollars on a 40-acre hay field.  By 1902, as Captain Rice's fortunes began to mount, it became apparent that he needed to move to Dublin to keep up with his station in life.   Though he was no longer a resident of Adrian, Captain Rice offered his services to the movement to establish the new county of James surrounding the town of Adrian.  Rice served as vice president of the organization along with Captain T.J. James, Adrian's most influential and powerful businessman.

Captain Rice and his family moved to Dublin in the summer of 1904.  He moved to a fine home which he called "Brookwood" on the western outskirts of Dublin along the Macon Road.  His  home was located on the site of the Carl Vinson V.A. Medical Center.  Following the resignation of J.E. "Banjo" Smith as vice president of the First National Bank of Dublin, Captain Rice and his business partner, William S. Phillips, were appointed as co-vice presidents of the bank.  The First National was Dublin's largest and most prosperous bank and was known as the largest country bank in Georgia.

One of Captain Rice's greatest contributions to Dublin and Laurens County was his leadership in the establishment of the Twelfth Congressional District Fair in 1911.  Rice chairmaned the 1913 event.  Perhaps the greatest in the fair's brief history, the exposition recorded twelve thousand admissions in a single day.  

Always a strong spiritual and monetary supporter of business interests in Dublin and Laurens County, Captain Rice joined his colleagues J.M. Finn, R.M. Arnau, R.F. Deese, Izzie Bashinski and D.S. Brandon in incorporating the Dublin Chamber of Commerce in 1914.  Rice was involved in other business ventures as a director of the Dublin Buggy Company, the Chamber of Commerce Warehouse Company, the Citizen Loan and Guaranty Company (the region's largest insurance company,) and the Thompson Horse and Mule Powder Company.  Rice partnered with W.S. Phillips and W.T. Phelps in a stable business on the north side of the courthouse square in the first decade of the 20th Century.  Known as a man with great foresight, Rice purchased one of the first automobiles in Dublin, a thirty horsepower Cadillac from the Miller Brothers in 1907.

But without any doubt, W.B. Rice's greatest contribution to Laurens County came in the field of agriculture.  He sought out and studied new methods of farming to improve crop production and profits.    Within five years of cotton farming in the county, Rice boasted that he could harvest 800 bales of cotton on an 800-acre farm.  In 1913, he studied the use of new irrigation techniques.  Rice believed that a network of terra cotta pipes delivering water evenly throughout his fields would greatly increase profits.  During World War I, Captain Rice urged his fellow farmers to plan a more diversified array of foodstuffs to support the war effort.   On his Brookwood plantation, he maintained one of this section's finest herd of cattle, many of them registered Herefords.  He annually maintained a passel of hogs weighing more than fifty thousand pounds.    A kine of a hundred dairy cattle grazed on his farm supplying his dairy, bringing him an annual profit of more than twelve thousand dollars.

In the disastrous years following World War I, Georgia's agricultural economy began to collapse.   The near annihilation of the cotton crop and the beginning of a vast migration of Negro farm workers to the North forced farmers to diversify their crops and livestock operations by banding together to take advantage of farm cooperatives.  One of the first national organizations to form in Georgia after the war was the American Association of Farm Bureaus.    The Farm Bureau was formed to provide opportunities for information on production, conservation, distribution and better living conditions  for farmers.  Captain Rice was selected as the initial 12th Congressional District member of the Georgia Farm Bureau Advisory Board in 1920.

Captain Rice was a fervent leader of the Baptist church.   He moved his membership from the Adrian Baptist Church to the First Baptist Church of Dublin in 1905.   A century ago, Rice was one of the leading contributors to the erection of the present church in Dublin.

Captain William Brooks Rice died on the morning of December 9, 1929.  He was buried with his family in a vault in the Mausoleum in Northview Cemetery in a funeral attended by hundreds of friends, family and admirers.   He was described by a biographer as one of those people you like the first time you meet them.  He always spoke what was on his mind, without shuffling or evasion.  Able to converse with any person on his level, Rice was a bright blue-eyed man, frequently humorous and habitually smiling, except when being photographed.   Perhaps these words in his obituary aptly symbolized his character:  superb strength of character, most generous helpfulness of hand and great kindness of heart.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

MORE THAN JUST A NAME ON THE WALL


War is a horrible thing.  When you are a twenty-year-old bride and your prince and the love of your life is nearly half way around the world, it is a long and lonely time.  Dianne Cooper loved her husband James more than anyone she had ever loved.  To this day, more than forty-six years later, after an exploding grenade ended their fairy tale love, Dianne still remembers the twinkle in his eye and cherishes the love they shared a lifetime ago.

With the coming of the Moving Vietnam Wall to Dublin a few weeks ago, those cherished memories burst forth once again.  Memories of the days of waiting, hungering for his touch, waiting, waiting, for her darling prince to come home to her flashed through her mind as if it was 1968 all over again.

Dianne sat down and remembered the grand times before Vietnam and the lonesome days after James had to go away;


"When the moving wall arrived in Dublin, it inspired me to write my story.  

James and I became engaged during Christmas of 1965.  He was the man of my dreams.  We married on August 12, 1966.  I was 18 and he was 22.  As my father escorted me to him the night of our wedding, I thought "finally we are going to be together forever."

Mr. and Mrs. James Cooper left that night for our honeymoon in a brand new automobile - a gold Plymouth Fury right off the show room floor!  Someone had written on the windows - JUST MARRIED! WATCH GEORGIA GROW!  Tin cans were tied to the back.  We rode down what was called "the strip" in our town of Dublin.  Then we headed to Savannah.  We stayed at the Thunderbird Inn.  They welcomed us with moon pies and RC colas.

In the early spring of 1967, James received the letter informing him that he was being drafted.  He was sent to Ft. Benning for training, then received orders for Vietnam.  When he arrived there, I began to receive letters.  He told me he was at a base camp, weapons platoon, living in a tent and it was so hot.  But he would always tell me that he was okay.

I wrote him daily while counting the days as the song rang over in my head, Unchained Melody, Wait for me I'll be home.

In late December 1967, he received a week of R&R in Hawaii.  I couldn't wait to board the plane to see him!  It would be our last Christmas together.  After a wonderful week together, with bags packed, it was time to say goodbye again. He called a cab to take him to the airport.  He would not let me go.  We both fervently waved as I stood on the balcony looking down and he stood on the street looking up at me.  Afterwards, it was like he was thinking that we would never see each other again.  I cried for days on end.  I tried to think positive and focus my thought that he would be home in July.

In the late afternoon of May 9, 1968, my world shattered.  Two men in uniform knocked on my parent's door.  They came in, took their hats off and asked me to have a seat.  I immediately asked, "what is it?"  All I remember was that he said, "Your husband has been killed."  The song, Unchained Melody ended.  No more waiting.  A widow at 20.

It took two weeks to get his body home.  We had lots of friends and family who came to support us.  He was buried with full military honors.

In his last letter he talked about coming home to me and his family and how he couldn't wait to see us when he got off the plane.  Oh, to read his letter what he was saying and knowing he was gone.  It was the worst time ever in my life.

Although after 46 years, I have moved on with my life.  I still miss James to this day.  I remember the twinkle in his eye and will always cherish the love we shared.

Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, but love leaves a memory no one can steal.

My eight-year old granddaughter looked at our wedding pictures and asked me if that was a crown I was wearing. I said yes, I was his princess and he was my prince.  It was a true fairy tale that ended too soon.


You will find SP4 James E. Cooper on Line 37 of Panel 56E on the wall.

He for me, was more than just a name on the wall."


There are nearly 58,300 names carved on the reflective black, 493- foot Vietnam Wall.  There are ten thousand fold more victims of that war: parents, wives, children, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.

Dianne is one of those victims.  She still carries the scars of her fallen hero and prince.  For those of us who didn't lose a friend, a relative or a husband, we can not begin to fathom the unbearable pain, the endless loneliness, and the urge to be bitter.

In a small way, maybe the coming of the wall to Dublin can begin to heal the wounds of those who lost something of themselves back in the dismal days of the war in Vietnam.  For those who did lose loved ones, rest assured that the more than 15,000 people who came to the wall at the Carl Vinson VA Medical Center came there to pay their deeply sincere respects of eternal gratitude and abiding love to more than just the names on the wall.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

LAURENS COUNTIANS WHO WENT OVER THERE FOR UNCLE SAM

WORLD WAR I
The War to End All Wars


They once called it the “War to End All Wars.”  It came nearly fifty years after the cataclysmic American Civil War and nearly 100 years after the end of the War of 1812.  Unlike the bombing of Pearl Harbor or Fort Sumpter, this war, which resulted in the direct deaths of 16 million people, including 116,000 Americans and 50 Laurens Countians, began somewhat inauspiciously with a Serbian national’s  assassination of Archduke Ferdinand Franz and his wife Sophie  on June 28, 1914.    A month later on June 28, Austria-Serbia declared war on Serbia.  Three days later on the last day of July, Germany declared war on Russia. Then one by one, the powers of Europe chose sides and declared war against one another.

Within a week, troops from the United Kingdom moved into France. By the 12th of August, the first World War began.  The United States remained somewhat neutral until the beginning of 1917.  Troubles south of the border in Mexico led to the reestablishment of the Local Guards in Dublin in May of 1917.  Judge R. D. Flynt and Captain W.C. Davis, a former commander of the unit, helped to organize local men, who anticipated that they would be going overseas within a few months. A couple of months later,  Lt. J.C. Minnenant, organizer of the Dublin Guards, left for France. Lewis Cleveland Pope was elected Captain of the Home Guards, the senior home guard organization in Georgia at the beginning of the War.   At the end of 1917, the Guards were led by Captain, L.C. Pope; First Lieutenant, Dr. E.R. Jordan; Second Lieutenant, W.M. Breedlove.  Lieutenants Jordan and Breedlove had replaced C.F. Ludwig and R.D. Flynt.  Carl Hilbun was elected First Sergeant.

On June 5, 1918, a large celebration, complete with a parade, speeches and a flag raising ceremony, was held on the first Draft Registration Day.

Within a week, patriotic Laurens Countians had already purchased more than $30,000.00 in war bonds.  Some of Dublin’s more prominent Yankee Doodle Dandies, Dr. C, A, Hodges, Peter S. Twitty, Mayor of Dublin, Dr. Sidney Walker, Dr. Landrum Page, Judge  Roy A. Flynt and Theron Burts, Gratton Corker, and Turner Schaufele signed up to go over there for Uncle Sam.

Even Dublin's mayor, Peter S. Twitty, Jr., enlisted in the U.S. Army.  Both Twitty and his  successor, Ozzie Bashinski, donated their salaries to the Red Cross and the Y.M.C.A..
The first men drafted were:  Early L. Miller, Alva D. Rozar, R.C. Dawkins, Herbert T. Pullen, Charles G. Payne, Horace C. Spivey, Albert A. Rountree, John Johnson, Willie C. Smith, W.H. Horton, Gordon F. Daniel, C.B. Brantley, D.W. Knight, W.H. Flanders, A.G. Murray and Raymond Bennett.  The first alternates were:  J. Aurice Keen, Floyd Murray, C.P. Perry, James H. Pritchett, and George W. Jackson.

Among the first Negroes in Georgia to be drafted in the Army were a contingent of Laurens County men.  Many Negro soldiers were used primarily in support and transportation units.  Few were assigned to actual combat duties.

Civilians, Mrs. T.H. Smith, Dr. U.S. Johnson  and T.R. Ramsay led the local chapters of the American Red Cross.  By May 7, 1918, War Bond sales, under the direction of James M. Finn, exceeded a half million dollars.  Laurens County was ninth among Georgia counties in war bonds sold and third in Georgia counties which had exceed their quotas.

Not all Laurens Countians were excited about the entry of the United States into a world war.   By mid August, the city council was vowing to fight any anti draft meetings which might be held.   Chief among the opponents  was the highly respected and admired jeweler and optometrist, Dr. C.H. Kittrell, who was forced to resign his position on the school board at the request of the city council because of his unpatriotic  stand against the way America got into World War I.

Dublin and Laurens County furnished nearly 1100 men to the armed forces in World War I.   Corporal Walter Warren of Dexter was the first American aviator to be wounded in France in early December 1917.  

Cecil Preston Perry became the first Laurens Countian to die in action in the summer of 1918.  James Mason, who first served in the Mexican War of 1916,  was the first Dubliner to die in action. He died in France on July 29, 1918.  James L. Weddington, Jr., of the 6th Marine Corps Regiment, was awarded the French Croix de Guerre on July 10, 1918 for his heroism in carrying many wounded men off the battle field to field hospitals for several hours, risking his own safety in the process.  Lt. Col. Pat Stevens was awarded the Belgian Croix de Guerre for extraordinary heroism in action south of Spitaal Bosschen, Belgium, on October 31, 1918.  Lt. Ossie F. Keen was awarded the Silver Star.

Sgt. Bill Brown of Dexter was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and was one of only 34 Americans to be awarded the French Cross with a Star for his heroism on October 14, 1918 at the battle of Cote de Chattelon.    

Coley B. White survived the sinking of HMS Otranto.   Four hundred thirty-one other American and British soldiers and sailors did not.  Oscar K. Jolley survived a stint as a prisoner in a German P.O.W. camp.  Fortunately, the war was relatively short and only  fifty Laurens County men lost their lives.

Even as the war was ending the work of draft board continued.  It would be another six months before things in Dublin and Laurens County returned to some semblance of normality.

A nationwide influenza epidemic  killed many of the county's older citizens during the months before and after the end of World War I.  The county board of health closed schools and banned public meetings for several weeks. The epidemic finally waned in the spring of 1919.

Two lasting impacts of the war were the reorganization of the Dublin Guards, a state militia unit, as  Co. A. of the 1st Battalion of the Georgia National Guard.  The unit, which was the first National Guard unit in the Southeast,   has evolved to a support company and is still active today.  The company's first captain, Lewis C. Pope of Dublin, served as Adjutant General of the Georgia National Guard in the 1920's.   Another, highly negative impact of war was the rapid decline of Dublin and Laurens County’s stature as one of the largest cities and counties in Georgia.

An ephemeral legacy of America’s victory against Germany came during the euphoria following the end of the war.  Enough residents of Academy Avenue convinced the city council to rename the avenue in honor of Woodrow Wilson.  A few weeks later, more prominent and powerful residents persuaded the council to reverse their hasty decision.  To compensate for the hasty faux pas, the city planted a tree on the grounds of the high school, which has long since died or cut down.


Some of the casualties from Laurens County.
















THE ROLL OF HONOR

 John W. Adams, George L. Attaway, Walter Berry, James Bradley, Leon F. Brannon, Fisher Brazeal,  Linton T. (Leonard) Bostwick, Joseph J. Bracewell, James Brown, Tom Watson Bryant, Sammie Burke, David Burton Camp, Freeman Coley, Ashley Collins, William Coney, Alvin T. Coxwell, Samuel Evans, James W. Flanders, Clarence David Fordham, Oscar Fulwood, John W. Green, James C. Hall, Archie Hinson, Syril P. Hodges, Delmar M. Howard, Ben F. Howell, Wallace C. Huffman, Jesse Kelley, Frazier Linder, Dewitt Lindsay, Ed McLendon, Walter E. Martin, James Mason, George McLoud, Jessie Mercer, Rayfield Meacham, George C. Mitchell, Robbie  New, Cecil Preston Perry, Wilbur Pope, John H. Sanders, Roger O. Sellers, John Stevens, Ed Stuckey, Louis M. Thompson, Edgar Towns, Fleming du Bignon Vaughn, Ed Washington, George Windham, James A. Williams, Henry K. Womack, Wayman Woodard, and McKinley Yopp.

Friday, August 22, 2014

SARAH FROST

SARAH FROST: A Tale of an Unlikely Veteran


Sarah Frost, Teacher of Geometry
and Life, Dublin High School, 1974



SARAH:
A TALE OF AN UNLIKELY VETERAN

Sarah was an average girl, one who grew up in the Great Depression and one who knew the value of hard work and a good education. Like many young women of her generation who were lucky enough to obtain a post secondary education, Sarah decided she wanted to teach. One of her first assignments found her in Pine Hall, North Carolina, a small community, not large enough to be called a town, and situated a good half hour or so north of Winston - Salem in those days of slower cars and dirt highways.

Returning from a trip back home to Monroe, Sarah was standing in the bus station on a Sunday afternoon in Winston-Salem. School was about to be out for Christmas holidays. A nervous voice came out of the loud speaker. The passengers paused. "All service personnel report to their bases immediately! The Japanese have bombed Pearl Harbor," the announcer quivered. Sarah and other stunned civilians were diverted to other buses while the soldiers and sailors boarded the first available buses back to their posts.

Following the dramatic attack on the United States, men across the country began signing up for volunteer service or selective service through the draft. The officials of the Stokes County draft board figured that teachers were good at taking names and putting them on lists, so Sarah and the other teachers were assigned to register the men of the county for the draft.

The young teacher had heard that a new organization was being formed to aid the war effort. The Marine Corps Women's Reserve was established in February 1943. These women were given hundreds of tasks to perform, serving as radio operators, cooks, truck drivers, map makers and hundreds more. By D-day, five of six enlisted personnel serving in the Marine Corps Headquarters were women. Two of three Marines manning major posts in the United States and Hawaii were female in the last years of the war.

It was time to serve her country Sarah decided. She traveled down the road to Camp Lejeune, a bustling military installation, which two years earlier had been nothing but a sandy forest of natural pines along the Atlantic Seaboard Railroad. The First Marine Division had come there two years prior to train for the eminent war.

The camp would be Sarah's home for six weeks. Though it looked like a college campus with beautiful buildings, the Marine post was specifically designed to train men and women to go to war, which meant that some would kill and some would be killed. Her fellow Marine reservists were an assortment of women from all walks of life. Sarah and the other women were subjected to a battery of tests. When they weren't testing and being taught in some facet of military science, they marched.

They marched to eat. They marched to classes. They even practiced marching just to learn how to march with no destination. They stopped marching when the drill instructor was too tired to watch the women march any more. Sarah was taught how to walk, talk, run, eat, sleep, drink, dress and think like a Marine. After boot camp, Sarah wanted an assignment somewhere at an air base. To get there, she first had to go to Cherry Point, just across the river. Much to Sarah's astonishment when she arrived at Cherry Point, she was assigned duty in the kitchen. Turkeys for Thanksgiving, turkeys for Christmas, and leftover turkeys for New Year's Day are still ingrained in Sarah's memory of her first real days in the Marine Corps. She did get New Year's Eve off to celebrate the coming of the year 1944, a year in which the war, both in Europe and Pacific, would soon turn in favor of the Allies.

Just a few days later, Sarah rode a troop train to Oxford, Ohio, where she began taking courses in the operation of radios, learning how to type and send messages in Morse code. Sarah trained alongside her counterparts, the WAVES of the United States Navy. She had hoped that her marching days were behind her, but on nearly every Saturday the Marine women joined the WAVES and practically every sailor and marine on an old athletic field for a weekly parade. The marching subsided after that, although Sarah does remember a blistering hot day when she marched in her wool uniform, a disastrous result because the military too frequently goes by the calendar and not the thermometer when assigning uniforms for the day.

On May 27, 1944, Sarah was promoted to corporal and assigned to the Radio Material School in Omaha, Nebraska. She learned how to put radios together, take them apart and fix them when they were broken. Sarah delighted in the fact that she had two friends who accompanied her through both Camp Lejeune and Oxford. One was an English teacher. Sarah taught math before she enlisted.

In October 1944, Sarah traveled across the country to report for duty in Santa Barbara, California. During her 14-month stay in the Golden State, Sarah earned a third stripe on her sleeves. She continued to repair radios at naval and coast guard stations, enjoying the latter the best because of the great food they served. Southern California is, and was then, a great place to visit. Sarah and her friends often hitch hiked, with absolutely no fear of harm, to Los Angeles and San Francisco for a weekend of entertainment.

Just a dozen days before Christmas, with their discharges in their hands, Sarah, her friends Avis and Ann, Avis' nephew and his dog piled into a '39 Plymouth set out for their homes along the route. They drove through glamorous Los Angeles, the frozen deserts of Arizona and the snowy plains of Nebraska. They slept in their cars and $3 a night dingy cabins, though they did spend one warm night at Ann's house in Nebraska.

As Avis and Sarah got closer to North Carolina, they began to notice snow on the ground. But Sarah couldn't make herself believe there was any chance of a snowball at her home in Monroe. There was snow in Asheville. Sarah's hopes of a white Christmas swelled. As Sarah and Ann pulled into the Austin home in Monroe, it was snowing. It snowed so much that Ann had to spend a couple of days with the Austins, a delay she minded very little with all of the southern holiday hospitality which was heaped upon her. Sarah said goodbye to the last of her trio as she began the last leg of her cross country trip back home to Boston. The girls were home. The war was over. All was good in Nebraska, Boston and especially in Monroe, North Carolina where this young school teacher turned Marine was home for Christmas.

Sarah taught school in Winston-Salem for 17 years. She married Bill and moved to Dublin. I was lucky enough to have been her student for two of the twenty-one years she taught math in Dublin. Sarah had a passion for geometry and geometric shapes. At Dublin High she was legendary for her assignments of geometric art. While we struggled to construct our 3-D stellated polyhedron stars, we would have sworn such an arduous task would only have come from a demanding Marine Corps sergeant. Little did we know that our teacher was actually a Marine sergeant in World War II three decades before.

Like most members of "the greatest generation" whose greatest feats came after they left the service, Sarah's greatest contribution to our country came not in radio repair rooms, but in the classrooms of Dublin High School, where this meek, gentle, kind and caring teacher shaped our young minds and taught us the theorems of life. So on this Veteran's Day, please join me in saluting Mrs. Sarah Austin Frost, the most unlikely Marine sergeant I ever knew. And for the rest of you men and women who have served our country in the Armed Forces, I thank you on behalf of a grateful nation for a job well done.

(Compiled from an interview of Sarah Frost by Mac Fowler for the Laurens County Historical Society)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

LAURENS COUNTY GEORGIANS ON THE VIETNAM WALL


     Inscribed on the black granite panels of the Vietnam Wall are the names of fifteen Laurens Countians.   The typical man was a 26 year old white male, a  Baptist, married and one hundred and sixty one days into his tour.  The average commissioned and non-commissioned officer was a 37 year old white male, a Baptist, married and more than one year into his tour.  The typical private was a 22 year old white male, a Baptist, single and 154 days into his tour.

The oldest Laurens Countian killed in Vietnam was forty four year old Lt. Col, Harlow Gary Clark, Jr.  The youngest was Cpl. David Lee Copeland, some two months short of his 20th birthday.  The first man killed was Sgt. First Class James A. Starley, who was killed in an explosion on Feb. 22, 1965.  The last man killed was PFC George Wayne Baker on June 9, 1970.  Both Specialist Four Bobby Finney and PFC George Baker were killed in action on the 21st day of their tour.

The highest ranking officers killed were Lt. Col. Harlow Gary Clark, Jr., who was killed when his helicopter crashed on March 7, 1966. Lt. Col. William Clyde Stinson, Jr., who was awarded two Silver Star Medals for heroism, was killed in his helicopter while attempting to rescue some of his wounded soldiers.




GEORGE WAYNE BAKER
Panel 09W - Line 31 

(Photo Missing)

Age: 20
Race: Negro
Sex: Male
Date of Birth Apr 30, 1950
Date of Death June 9, 1970
Religion: BAPTIST
Marital Status: Married
PFC - E3 - Army - Regular
USARV

His tour began on May 20, 1970
Casualty was on Jun 9, 1970
In GO CONG, SOUTH VIETNAM
NON-HOSTILE, GROUND CASUALTY
DROWNED, SUFFOCATED
Body was recovered.

Burial:
Robinson Chapel Cemetery
Dublin
Laurens County
Georgia, USA



JIMMY BEDGOOD
Panel 55E - Line 39 



Age: 21
Race: Caucasian
Sex: Male
Date of Birth May 20, 1946
Date of Death May 6, 1968
Religion: BAPTIST
Marital Status: Married
 SSGT - E6 - Army - Regular

Length of service 3 years
His tour began on Mar 24, 1967
Casualty was on May 6, 1968
In GIA DINH, SOUTH VIETNAM
HOSTILE, GROUND CASUALTY
OTHER CAUSES
Body was recovered

Graduate of East Laurens High School

United States Army Staff Sergeant. He died while serving in action in Gia Dinh, South Vietnam.

Burial:
Andersonville National Cemetery
Andersonville (Sumter County)
Sumter County
Georgia, USA
Plot: Section P Site 243



HARLOW GARY CLARK JR
Panel 05E - Line 128 


Age: 44
Race: Caucasian
Sex: Male
Date of Birth Jul 4, 1921
Date of Death, May 7, 1 966
From: SAVANNAH, GA
Religion: METHODIST
Marital Status: Married
LTC - O5 - Army - Regular
1st Cav Div

Length of service 22 years
His tour began on Aug 18, 1965
Casualty was on Mar 7, 1966
In , SOUTH VIETNAM
HOSTILE, HELICOPTER - PILOT
AIR LOSS, CRASH ON LAND
Body was recovered


Family:
 Parents:
  Harlow Gary Clark (1893 - 1964)
  Flora V Clark (1896 - 1978)

 Siblings:
  Clemoth Lamar Clark (1915 - 1984)*
  Pansy Eudora Clark Watts (1919 - 1995)*
  Harlow Gary Clark (1921 - 1966)

Married Mary Y. Clark

Burial:
Jeffersonville Cemetery
Jeffersonville
Twiggs County
Georgia, USA




JAMES EDWARD COOK
Panel 06E - Line 129 

Age: 29
Race: Caucasian
Sex: Male
Date of Birth Sep 4, 1936
Date of Death, April 23, 1966
Religion: BAPTIST
Marital Status: Married
SGT - E5 - Army - Regular
101st ABN Div

Length of service 12 years
His tour began on Dec 31, 1965
Casualty was on Apr 23, 1966
In , SOUTH VIETNAM
HOSTILE, GROUND CASUALTY
GUN, SMALL ARMS FIRE
Body was recovered

Burial:
Brewton Cemetery
Laurens County
Georgia, USA



JAMES ENNIS COOPER
Panel 56E - Line 37 

Age: 24
Race: Caucasian
Sex: Male
Date of Birth Feb 10, 1944
From: DUBLIN, GA
Religion: BAPTIST
Marital Status: Married
Graduated East Laurens High School, 1963
SP4 - E4 - Army - Selective Service
1st Infantry Division

Length of service 1 years
His tour began on Aug 10, 1967
Casualty was on May 8, 1968
In BINH DUONG, SOUTH VIETNAM
Hostile, died of wounds, GROUND CASUALTY
MULTIPLE FRAGMENTATION WOUNDS
Body was recovered






DAVID LEE COPELAND
Panel 17W - Line 22 


Age: 19
Race: Negro
Sex: Male
Date of Birth Nov 29, 1949
Date of Death, October 1, 1969
From: DUDLEY, GA
Religion: BAPTIST
Marital Status: Single
CPL - E4 - Army - Regular

Length of service 1 years
His tour began on Apr 4, 1969
Casualty was on Oct 1, 1969
In BA XUGEN, SOUTH VIETNAM
NON-HOSTILE, GROUND CASUALTY
DROWNED, SUFFOCATED
Body was recovered

United States Army Corporal. He was killed in action after he drowned in Ba Xugen, South Vietnam.

Burial:
New Providence Cemetery
Cadwell
Laurens County
Georgia, USA




BOBBY LEE FINNEY
Panel 22E - Line 40 

Age: 21
Race: Negro
Sex: Male
Date of Birth Jul 4, 1945
From: BOSTON, MA
Religion: BAPTIST
Marital Status: Single
SP4 - E4 - Army - Regular
173rd Airborne Brigade
Length of service 1 years
His tour began on Jun 2, 1967
Casualty was on Jun 22, 1967
In KONTUM, SOUTH VIETNAM
HOSTILE, GROUND CASUALTY
GUN, SMALL ARMS FIRE
Body was recovered

Burial:
Laurens Memorial Gardens
East Dublin
Laurens County
Georgia, USA




JAMES LINDER JR
Panel 19W - Line 17  

(Photo Missing)

Age: 21
Race: Negro
Sex: Male
Date of Birth Jun 6, 1948
From: MIAMI, FL
Religion: PROTESTANT
Marital Status: Single
PFC - E3 - Army - Regular
1st Cav Division (AMBL)

Length of service 0 years
His tour began on Jun 22, 1969
Casualty was on Aug 12, 1969
In QUANG TIN, SOUTH VIETNAM
HOSTILE, GROUND CASUALTY
MULTIPLE FRAGMENTATION WOUNDS
Body was recovered





EDWARD BYRON LINDSEY
Panel 54W - Line 17 

Age: 23
Race: Caucasian
Sex: Male
Date of Birth Mar 8, 1945
From: DUBLIN, GA
Religion: BAPTIST
Marital Status: Single
SP4 - E4 - Army - Selective Service
9th Infantry Division

Length of service 0 years
His tour began on Dec 22, 1967
Casualty was on Jun 29, 1968
In GO CONG, SOUTH VIETNAM
HOSTILE, GROUND CASUALTY
MISADVENTURE
Body was recovered

Buried in Memorial Gardens, Dublin, Georgia






J.D.  MILLER
Panel 13W - Line 19

(Photo Missing)

 Age: 29
Race: Negro
Sex: Male
Date of Birth May 28, 1940
Date of Death, Feb. 16, 1970
From: MONTROSE, GA
Religion: BAPTIST
Marital Status: Married
SFC - E7 - Army - Regular
101st Airborne Division

Length of service 6 years
His tour began on Jul 17, 1969
In THUA THIEN, SOUTH VIETNAM
HOSTILE, GROUND CASUALTY
MULTIPLE FRAGMENTATION WOUNDS
Body was recovered




BILLY (BILLIE)  MIMBS
Panel 23E - Line 82 

Age: 19
Race: Caucasian
Sex: Male
Date of Birth Mar 5, 1948
Date of Death July 18, 1967
From: LOLLIE, GA
Religion: BAPTIST
Marital Status: Single
PFC - E3 - Army - Regular
9th Infantry Division

Length of service 1 years
His tour began on Jan 20, 1967
Casualty was on Jul 17, 1967
In LONG AN, SOUTH VIETNAM
HOSTILE, GROUND CASUALTY
GUN, SMALL ARMS FIRE
Body was recovered

Birth: Mar. 5, 1948
Death: Jul. 17, 1967
Ha Nam, Vietnam

United States Army Private First Class served with Company B, 47th Infantry, Ninth Infantry Division. He was killed in action from small arms fire while serving in South Vietnam.

Burial:
Union Baptist Cemetery
East Dublin
Laurens County
Georgia, USA





FELTON LEE MIMS
Panel 29W - Line 21 

Age: 22
Race: Caucasian
Sex: Male
Date of Birth Oct 14, 1946
Date of Death, Mar 12, 1969
From: DALLAS, TX
Religion: PROTESTANT
Marital Status: Single
RD3 - E4 - Navy - Regular

Length of service 3 years
Casualty was on Mar 12, 1969
In GO CONG, SOUTH VIETNAM
NON-HOSTILE, GROUND CASUALTY
DROWNED, SUFFOCATED
Body was recovered

Birth: Oct. 14, 1946
Death: Mar. 12, 1969


Burial:
Restland Memorial Park
Dallas
Dallas County
Texas, USA
Plot: Field of Honor





EDDIE LEE SMITH
Panel 22W - Line 8 

Age: 26
Race: Negro
Sex: Male
Date of Birth May 29, 1943
Date of Death, June 9, 1969
From: RENTZ, GA
Religion: BAPTIST
Marital Status: Married
1LT - O2 - Army - Reserve

Length of service 2 years
His tour began on Dec 4, 1968
Casualty was on Jun 9, 1969
In THUA THIEN, SOUTH VIETNAM
Hostile, died of wounds, GROUND CASUALTY
ARTILLERY, ROCKET, or MORTAR
Body was recovered




JAMES ARTHUR STARLEY
Panel 01E - Line 94 

Age: 39
Race: Caucasian
Sex: Male
Date of Birth Aug 1, 1925
Date of Death, Feb. 22, 1965
From: DUBLIN, GA
Religion: PROTESTANT
Marital Status: Married

FC - E7 - Army - Regular
MACV Advisors

Length of service 14 years
Casualty was on Feb 22, 1965
In , SOUTH VIETNAM
HOSTILE, GROUND CASUALTY
BOMB EXPLOSION
Body was recovered

Birth: Wilkinson County
Georgia, USA

Family:
 Parents:
  James Harrison Starley (1880 - 1962)
  Mary Carolyn Elizabeth Daniel Starley (1883 - 1962)

 Spouse:
  Anne Lola Starley (1930 - 2010)

 Siblings:
  Pansy Bell Starley Wheeler (1904 - 1980)*
  Ralph Walter Starley (1905 - 1977)*
  Mills Jackson ''M.J.'' Starley (1910 - 1959)*
  Roy Grady Starley (1912 - 1977)*
  Lillian Starley Tarpley (1916 - 2013)*
  Otis H. Starley (1918 - 1971)*
  James Arthur Starley (1925 - 1965)


Burial:
Northview Cemetery
Dublin
Laurens County
Georgia, USA




William CLYDE IKE STINSON, JR. 
Panel 30W - Line 32 

Age: 40
Race: Caucasian
Sex: Male
Date of Birth Sep 8, 1928
Date of Death May 3, 1969
From: DUBLIN, GA
Religion: BAPTIST
Marital Status: Married
LTC - O5 - Army - Regular
198th Inf Bde

Length of service 18 years
His tour began on Sep 3, 1968
Casualty was on Mar 3, 1969
In , SOUTH VIETNAM
HOSTILE, HELICOPTER - NONCREW
AIR LOSS, CRASH ON LAND
Body was recovered

Burial:
United States Military Academy Post Cemetery
West Point
Orange County
New York, USA





Tuesday, August 19, 2014

THE CHAUTAUQUA AUDITORIUM


                 If You Build It, He Will Come
                               
     Chautauqua fever was spreading across the country around the turn of the 20th Century.  No, Chautauqua fever wasn't some rare and deadly tropical disease, a Chautauqua was a summer festival which featured a week of educational, scientific, social, and musical programs.  The City of Dublin presented its first Chautauqua festival in 1901.  Every year the planning committee struggled with ideas and the necessary funds to secure the most popular performers and speakers on the Chautauqua circuit.  The most sought after speaker was William Jennings Bryan.  But Bryan didn't perform in just any one-horse town and any shoddy lecture hall. To lure the country's most famous orator to its festival, the committee had to build an impressive auditorium designed to hold hundreds if not more than a thousand paying patrons.

     When the committee on entertainment met in the winter of 1904, those who believed strongly in the future of the festival knew that a permanent home for the festival must be built and to ensure that the festival would grow into a profitable event, the appearance of William Jennings Bryan was critical.  At first, the committee believed that the hall should seat at least three thousand.  To save money, it was decided that the building be rough on the exterior, but comfortable on the inside.   The dreamers knew that the building could also house a large number of other attractions throughout the year.

     At a meeting at the jewelry store of Dr. Charles H. Kittrell, those present appointed Hal M. Stanley, H.G. Stevens, Herman Hesse, T.L. Griner, C. Grier and Dr. Kittrell to a fund-raising committee.  The committee hoped to have "some of the brainiest, most entertaining lecturers on the American platform appear before Dublin audiences" in time for the festival in the summer of 1904.   Despite the untiring efforts of Dr. Kittrell and Messers Hesse and Stevens, the building could not be readied in time.  After a profitable return was paid to the festival's investors, interest in building an auditorium swelled.  

     After two years of planning, plans to build an auditorium began in earnest in the
spring of 1906.  Dublin tycoon J.D. Smith, the first person outside of the organizing
committee to be solicited about the endeavor, pledged $200.00 of the estimated $2500.00 cost of construction.    H.G. Stevens, Hal M. Stanley and W.L. Mason were appointed to the building committee.  Local contractor John A. Kelley was awarded the contract to build the auditorium in time for the festival in June.  

     Many who doubted the feasibility of the project believed that the building would be nothing more than an outdoor pavilion.  The architect designed the building to be one of the coolest in town. Remember central air conditioning was decades away.  To alleviate the accumulation of hot air in the building, Kelley and his crew built an unbroken series of five- foot tall windows around the perimeter of the building, which faced and abutted the western side of South Monroe Street, across from the former location of the studios of TV-35.  The building went back for a short distance before turning in a fan shape to the right in the main auditorium area.  

     After the remaining roofing materials arrived in late May, the contractors began to complete the major portions of the building by  the first of June.  The first  major portion of the building to be completed was the stage.  With the dimensions of twenty-four by forty-eight feet, it was proclaimed that it would be the best in this section of the state.  The stage would accommodate one hundred seated musicians.  The dressing rooms, first intended to be placed adjoining the stage floor, were moved to the rear of the building instead.  In the interest of time, the committee decided to install a temporary dirt floor covered with sawdust and line with primitive benches.   Reserved seats, no better than any other seat except for their proximity to the stage, were sold for $3.00 per seat during the Chautauqua. Once the stage and floor were completed, Kelley and his men began installing the fifty windows, which opened in transform form to create a breeze throughout the facility.   Kelley installed the windows as high as possible to allow the hot air to flow out and the cooler air to flow in from as close to ground level as possible.

     Though one-third smaller than originally planned, the completed building could house nearly two thousand patrons.  The well-ventilated building was illuminated at night by ten dozen electric lights.  All of the window sash was not installed in time for the opening night of the festival.  Contractor Kelley improvised and installed a canvas above the windows which ran down at a 45-degree angle to prevent any rain from coming inside, but at the same time allowing the hot air to leave the building and the cooler air in. 

     Season tickets for the week were sold for $3 for the 508 reserved seats and $2 for the 1114 regular seats.  Chautauqua times were always busy ones in town for the innkeepers as well as the merchants. Thousands of persons came into town by foot, wagon and train to see the shows.  The musicians were housed in the Patillo House on East Gaines Street and the rest of the performers stayed at the more luxurious New Dublin Hotel, just two blocks away from the auditorium on the corner of North Jefferson and East Madison streets.   Special trains hauling hundreds of customers came from Eastman, Tennille and Hawkinsville.  

     The fifth annual session, billed as the best ever, was held from June 17 through June 22, 1906.   The session opened with the sermon "Seeing Him Who is Invisible" by Dr. L.G. Herbert on Sunday morning.  Dr. Herbert, a relative newcomer to the Chautauqua circuit, was known as a forceful orator, a humorist of rare ability and a lecturer of power.  Edward Amherst Ott, of Chicago, Illinois, opened the first full day with his lecture "The Spenders." Dr. Herbert returned to the podium on Monday night with his lecture "A Man Among Men" and again on Wednesday morning with his most popular lecture "A Trinity of Power."
  
     A large crowd attended the Tuesday morning session to listen to the return of Prof. Kaler to Dublin.  Kaler, a former popular music teacher in Dublin, had to leave the city on account of his ill health.  After his recovery, Kaler assembled some of the state's best musicians to form Kaler's Orchestra out of Macon.  The orchestra was joined by The Royal Male Quartette of Des Moines, Iowa and the Star Entertainers of Danville, Michigan.  The members of the quartette also entertained the audiences with solos, duos and trios playing the trombone and the piano as they performed.   The Star Entertainers, led by C.L. Abbott and H.G. Morris, featured players playing twenty musical instruments and musical comedy skits.  Encore performances were held on Wednesday morning and Thursday night. Professor Ott, at the request of those who attended the 1905 lecture,  returned for an repeat of his lecture "The Haunted House" on Tuesday night.  

The highlight of the festival came on Wednesday night with the appearance of Congressman Richard Pearson Hobson.  Congressman Hobson, of Alabama, was one of the country's greatest heroes of the Spanish-American War in 1898.  Hobson risked his own life in sinking the Merrimac in an effort to bottle up Spanish admiral Cevera's fleet.  He was arrested and placed in a Spanish prison but was soon released on account of his bravery. Upon his return to civilian life, Hobson entered the political ring and defeated long time Alabama congressman Bankhead.  Nearly fifteen hundred people paid to hear one of the most popular lecturers in the history of the Chautauqua in Dublin. 

     Herbert L. Cope, the well-known humorist from Chicago, entertained a large audience on Thursday morning with his monologue, "The Smile That Won't Come Off."   At the appointed time, Cope was a no show and nervous directors kept the orchestra on the stage while anxious audience members wanted to stop the music and get on with the fun.  But just as the orchestra ended its first number, the whistle of the M.D. & S train signaled the arrival of the main act.   The final day of the festival featured an old-fashioned song service led by J.A. Warren.  Singers from all church choirs were invited to participate.  Mr. Warren was assisted by C.C. Hutto, E.W. McDaniel, J.R. Daniel and G.N. McLeod.  The afternoon session featured an inter-public school declamation contest by students in the city  and county systems as well as those from Washington, Johnson and Bulloch Counties.  Medals were awarded to the best boy and best girl in the 6-11and 12-20 year old categories.  Mr. Cope returned to close the festival with his hilarious program "The Religion of Laughter."

     By design the annual convention of the Georgia County Officer's Association was held in conjunction with the festival.  Mayor A.R. Arnau, along with L.Q. Stubbs, John M. Williams, R.H. Stanley and Dr. C.H. Kittrell, entertained the visitors with a boat ride on "The Louisa"  down the Oconee River and a barbecue  at the picnic grounds at Wilkes Springs, one of the usual destinations for prominent guests in Dublin.  

     The festival was a critical, as well as a financial success. Investors enjoyed a return of 42 cents on every dollar invested.   After the last person left the building and all the profits were calculated, it was time to finish the project.  On September 12, 1906, the directors of the Chautauqua voted to contract with the Garing Scenic Company to improve the stage.   Scenery, totaling forty-five pieces,  for a street, a garden, a parlor and a kitchen was ordered.  A new drop curtain was purchased.  The old one was retained for scenery. It was said that the new curtain was the second largest in the state, only smaller than the one used in the Grand Opera House in Atlanta.  Mr. Garing suggested that the sides of the building be clothed and painted. The supports and the roof were painted a white or light color.  Two large stoves were put in to keep the customers warm in the winter months. 

     Dr. C.H. Kittrell, the guiding force behind the auditorium, wasted no time and booked a variety of acts for the fall season.  The first show, "A Trip to Atlantic City," was performed by the John B. Willis Company.  Next up was the "The Denver Express."  During the rest of the season, there were performances of "The King of Tramps"  and one by the Edwin Weeks Company.      More improvements were made in 1908. Two thousand dollars was spent on a new floor.  Five hundred opera seats were placed near the stage.  A vestibule was installed in the front of the building.  A
twelve-man orchestra pit was improved to enhance the view of the stage.  The number of lights was increased three fold. The stage was enlarged by twenty feet to the rear.  Two large dressing rooms were added.  

     The results of the democratic primary in Georgia were announced in the auditorium in the spring of 1908.  Musical entertainment filled the intermissions between the announcements of vote totals.  In the fall of that year there were performances of "At the Village Post Office," "La Pooh," and "The Other Woman."   Manager Schiff announced that the Star Theater relocated to the building after its facility on Jackson Street became too small.  To boost business some suggested that the management install a roller skating rink in the building. 

     The successes of the Chautauqua festivals finally came to an end.  The first five sessions were profitable, but after the auditorium was constructed, the profits decreased slowly, then rapidly.   The property was sold for $5,500.00, but the levy and sale was invalidated as being too excessive.   In December of 1909, the Chautauqua Association was forced into receivership.  Dr. Kittrell and J.E. Burch
were named as receivers to gather up and dispose all of the assets of the association.  On the first Tuesday in January 1910, the receivers sold the building and all of its contents to Thomas W. Hooks for $3,377.50, a figure which represented half of its original cost.  Hooks, a public minded man, resisted suggestions that he convert the building into a warehouse and sell the furnishings.  

     Hooks might have asked himself, what about Bryan?  In the beginning, it was believed that if the city built a large building, Bryan would come.   The dream was still alive, but barely.    The convention of the Laymen's Missionary and Christian Workers Association was held in the auditorium in March. It was enough to pay the bills and keep the building in operation.

     A year went by and still no Bryan.  And then it happened.  Bryan had agreed to the terms of an appearance during his tour of Georgia in June 1911.   With the Chautauqua Association out of business, it was decided to name the program "The Summer Festival."  The program was composed of a concert by the Dublin Concert Band, a performance by the DeKoven Male Quartette and a solo presentation by Mrs. William C. Chilton.  There was also a stage performance by the Porter-Johnson Company and arousing performance by Tom Corwine, billed as the greatest one man act in America.   The festival ended with a program of local actors, led by Maggie Rawls.  Among those participating were Teddie Grier, Candler Brooks, William Brandon, Leah Kittrell, John Shewmake, Elizabeth Garrett, Freeman Deese, Joe Mahoney, Florence Simmons, Harrison Fuller, Saralyn Peacock, Elizabeth Arnau, Frederica Wade, Ethel Pritchett, Vince Mahoney, Pickette Bush, Maud Powell, Pauline Brigham and Ray Ballard, the pianist. 

     But the highlight of the festival and the highlight of the existence of the auditorium came on the evening of June 12, 1911.  Bryan, a four-time presidential candidate, was the country's most famous orator. Five special trains from Macon, Hawkinsville, Tennille, Eastman and Vidalia were scheduled.   Bryan spoke to the largest crowd in the history of the city.  His subject was "The Prince of Peace," which was well received by the throng in attendance.  After spending the night in Dublin, Bryan traveled east on the Central of Georgia railroad for appearances in Claxton and Statesboro the following day.  

     He was here! William Jennings Bryan, the ultimate oratory master, admired by millions actually came.  Then in a matter of weeks, perhaps months, the auditorium fell silent.  At some unknown date the auditorium burned.  Whether it met its death by arson or accident, the dreams of Bryan had come true.  So now, when you attend outdoor concerts at the new Farmers Market and sit in your lawn chairs as you listen to the music coming from the stage, turn back your thoughts to a century ago when the country's greatest performers entertained thousands and thousands of us a century ago.

FAREWELL TO THE OLD 988TH


Goodbye to a Part of the Team

Just when Lieutenant Colonel David Johnson was asking around for a copy of the company's lineage of military service, the lineage came walking through the door. One by one, grayer and somewhat heavier than they were decades ago, a column of former members of the 988th Supply Company filed in through the door marked "authorized personnel only." Today, on Sunday, September 10, 2006, they were not only authorized, but welcomed as well. They came to be with the current members of their old company, now the "988th Quartermaster Company," on its last day of existence. As they met, they hugged, smiled, and cried just a tear or two. Memories of old friends, good times and doing good things erupted, just like they happened last weekend. They were citizen soldiers, regular men who gave up their weekends and families to serve their country. 

The foyer of the Army Reserve building on Martin Luther King Drive is filled with plaques of the unit's outstanding service to the Army. As the 988th Service and Supply Company, they were the Most Improved Unit in 1981. They were the Supply Unit of the Year. The 988th was presented a plaque for their outstanding service in providing hurricane relief in El Salvador in 1999. Among the honors on the wall is a Supply Excellence Award for Category C, Level II. The 988th Supply Company was activated in 1957 in Dublin.

A descendant of the all black 988th Supply Company in World War II, the 988th was located first in the old Coca Cola Building on South Jefferson Street which later housed the distribution facilities of Royal Crown Cola. The first company commander was Captain John Q. Adams. J.C. Lord was the company's initial first sergeant. Many of those present at the inactivation ceremony joined the company in the 1960s. They were responsible for providing spare parts and supplies to nearly two hundred army units in Georgia and Florida. 

Among those present at the ceremony were former company commanders, John Griffin and Gene Carr, both of Chester, Georgia. One of the company's most popular commanders was the late Major Paul Wilkes, who served in the reserve in his spare time and taught thousands of Dublin High School kids the elements of chemistry and physics in his day job. Another popular commander of the unit was Bill Roberts of Dublin. Ernie Fultz and some of the others joined the company in January 1966 when the McRae company and other smaller units merged to form a consolidated unit. With a larger force, the company relocated to an armory on Central Drive in East Dublin in 1967. In 1968 at the height of the Vietnam War, the 988th Supply Company was on the list to be activated for duty in Vietnam. There were C-105 aircraft dispatched, ready to ferry the men across the Pacific for the company's first truly hazardous duty. After a careful scrutiny of the cost involved, Army officials decided to keep the 988th in Dublin. 

Ralph Page, who served in the company from 1974 to 1993, remembered that some of the members helped build roads in Panama during the 1980s. The crowning achievement of the units service came during Operation Desert Storm in 1990-1991, when the company was awarded a Meritorious Unit Commendation for extraordinary meritorious service. 

The 988th was called to active duty in the first Gulf War in 1991. David Bell remembered that they flew to New York, where they joined other units from across the country. From New York, they flew to England, where they made a short stop before flying on to Saudi Arabia. They arrived in the middle of the night. There was no one there to greet them. "There were no buses. No one had expected us to arrive," Bell said. He fondly remembered the next afternoon turning on the radio and listening to the Atlanta Falcons game. "On the 22nd day of December we headed north into the desert. We spent our Christmas there in the desert. We had plenty of Claxton fruitcake to eat, maybe 200,000 pounds of it," Bell added. 

During the ceremonies, Billy Harrell rose to speak on behalf of the guys from the past. Harrell spent twenty-six years in the Army Reserve, twenty one of them in the 988th. He thanked Ernie Fultz for "being a daddy to all of us." Harrell proclaimed that if they had enough trenching tools and enough liquid refreshments they could have conquered the world back in the 1960s. Harrell emotionally expressed his pride in being a member of the company. 

Private Wright, the newest member of the company, opened the ceremonies with a stirring rendition of the "National Anthem." First Sergeant Henry James, the temporary commander of the 988th in the absence of Captain Beverly Rackston, explained the mission of the unit. James read a letter from Captain Rackston, now stationed in Kuwait, which saluted the men and women of the company and stated that "Every soldier must realize that they are part of the team." 

Lieutenant Colonel David Johnson, commander of the 352nd CSB in Macon, rose to speak next. Colonel Johnson, who drove down from his Marietta home at six o'clock this morning, spoke of his love for command. His love for being a commander is derived from the appreciation he has for his soldiers. Finding it hard to believe, Johnson told the audience that the Army is transforming itself into a more modular expeditionary force to fight terrorism. "This does not end your careers," he told the soldiers. Some of the soldiers will stay in Dublin as a part of the 803rd QM company , based in Opelika, Alabama. Others will be sent to Macon to join Colonel Johnson's command. Still others will join units across South Georgia. Johnson concluded his comments by saying that in his travels around the world, the supply units and the American soldiers are truly appreciated. 

The guest speaker for the day was Laurens County Sheriff Bill Harrell. Sheriff Harrell thanked the soldiers for their willingness to answer the call. He said that many don't realize the commitments that these soldiers make. In wishing the new and old members of the company well and applauding them for their sacrifices, Harrell concluded by saying that these men sacrifice themselves and their families to help a country realize their freedoms, which we, in this country, too often take for granted. 

After the colors were officially retired, the ceremony was completed. Someone finally found two stacks of old pictures of the company back in the good old days. Memories began to flow again. For as long as there is a member of the 988th Supply Company, the memories, well, they will always be there. 

The Army is not leaving Dublin; the 988th Supply Company is being transformed from a company to a platoon, which will from now forward be under the command of the 803rd Quartermaster Company. Many of the company's soldiers are now deployed overseas in support of Operations Endurance and Iraqi Freedom as a part of the team protecting the world from terrorism.