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Tombstone Tuesday – Houston National Cemetery Visit

March 3rd, 2010 2 comments

Houston National Cemetery Hemicycle

Although no direct family relations are buried there, my family and I visited the Houston National Cemetery in Houston, Texas yesterday. The cemetery is beautiful and very well maintained. It was a nice, sunny day, although a bit windy and chilly. We hope to visit again this summer when the grass is greener and the flowers are in bloom. Click here for the entire picture set from our visit.

My wife’s co-worker, Bruce Alan Johnson, recently passed away, and is buried there. His obituary appeared in the Houston Chronicle 12/21/2009:

Bruce Alan Johnson Headstone

BRUCE A. JOHNSON, 62, of Houston, passed away on Friday, Dec. 18, 2009. He was born on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 27, 1947, in Galesburg, IL to Floy and Herman Johnson. After years of service to the US Military and Texas Children’s Hospital, he leaves behind four sisters and two brothers, Leslie Fletcher of Houston, TX, Kathy (Donald) Bell of Aledo, IL, Randi (Bruce) Richardson of El Cajon, CA, and Sue (Rob) Carey of Katy, TX, Steve (Kristy) Johnson of Galesburg, IL, and Craig Johnson of Pittsburg, PA, along with several nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by both his mother and father.Visitation will be at Earthman Bellaire Funeral Home from 6-8 p.m., 6700 Ferris St., Tues., Dec. 22, 2009. The funeral will be held Wed., Dec. 23rd, 2009 11 a.m., at Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church, 4930 West Belfort, Houston, Texas 77035. Donations may be made to the Texas Children’s Auxillary and Voluntary Services and Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church, both of Houston, Texas. On-line condolences may be made at MEM.com

There are also three Congressional Medal of Honor recipients and a renowned veteran/Congressman buried in the cemetery:

From the Houston National Cemetery website:

First Lieutenant Raymond L. Knight, (World War II), U.S. Army Air Corps. Northern Po Valley, Italy, on April 25, 1945. His remains were relocated to Houston National Cemetery on April 25, 1992.

Staff Sergeant Macario Garcia, (World War II), U.S. Army, Company B, 22nd Infantry, 4th Infantry Division. Grosshau, Germany, Nov. 27, 1944.

Captain James H. Fields, (World War II), U.S. Army, 10th Armored Infantry, 4th Armored Division. Near Rechicourt, France, Sept. 27, 1944.

Albert Thomas Headstone

From the Houston National Cemetery website:

The most renowned veteran buried in the cemetery is the late Honorable Albert Thomas, United States Congressman from Texas. Congressman Thomas served as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Army during World War I, and served almost 30 years in the U.S. House of Representatives. He was instrumental in getting this cemetery established by Congress. “Congressman Albert,” as his many friends knew him, died in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 15, 1966, and was buried in the mall area of the Houston National Cemetery, on Feb. 18, 1966.

Categories: Military, Tombstone

Treasure Chest Thursday – Nellie Ruth Williams Son-In-Service Navy Pin

February 25th, 2010 No comments
Nellie Ruth Williams Son-In-Service Navy Pin

Nellie Ruth Williams Son-In-Service Navy Pin

Nellie Ruth Williams Navy Flag Picture

This pin belonged to my great grandmother, Nellie Ruth Williams.  The one blue star on the flag denoted that one son (or husband) was serving in the Armed Forces. A gold star was used to indicate that the family member was killed or had died during the war. Her son (my grandfather), Ralph Scott Williams Jr. served in the United States Navy (USN on the pin) during World War II.  In the second picture, you can see my great grandmother and the Son-In-Service United States Navy flag hanging in their window.

If you have any family treasures you’d like to contribute, please take a picture of the item and email it to me.

Brian Davis – Christine Davis (Williams) – Ralph Scott Williams Jr. – Nellie Ruth Williams (Waits)

Categories: Military, Treasure, Williams

Lancaster, Ohio Obituary – Charles Richard “Dick” Waits

February 4th, 2010 1 comment

This obituary is of my great grand uncle, Charles Richard “Dick” Waits. At the time, he was the 90th Fairfield County, Ohio serviceman killed in action, and the 109th war death from that county since Pearl Harbor. The article was featured in the 4/20/1945 edition of the Lancaster Eagle Gazette:

Three Lancastrians Lose Lives At War

… T-5 Corporal Charles Richard (Dick) Waits, 25, husband of Mrs. Margaret Ann Waits, 111 North Pearl-av, and only son of Mr. and Mrs. Harmon C. Waits, 702 Eastwood-av. A tank gunner in an armored division of the Seventh Army, Cpl. Waits was reported by the War Department as killed in action April 6 in Germany.

T-5 Corporal Waits, who would have been 26 years old on April 27, has been reported by the War Department as killed in action April 6, somewhere in Germany. His wife is the former Margaret Ann Phillips, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ross Phillips of the Pearl-av address. For the past year, Mrs. Waits has been helping her sister, Mrs. Paul Hang (Betty Phillips) operate the Isaly Company store in Circleville during the absence of Paul Hang, formerly of Lancaster, who has been serving overseas. Twice wounded, Pvt. Hang has been returned to the States and is now visiting his family in Circleville.

Cpl. Waits entered the Army here December 9, 1941, received training at Fort Knox, Ky. and Camp Polk, La., in the Armored Force, then was at Temple, Texas, Camp Hood, Texas, receiving further instruction in tank and tank destroyer operation and maintenance, and also at Camp Pickett, Va. He sailed overseas in April, 1943, two years ago; arriving in North Africa where he served in the North African campaign.

Waits took part in the invasion of Sicily in July, 1943 and also in the invasion of Italy at Salerno in September, 1943, attached to a unit of the 45th Division, then a part of the U.S. 5th Army.

He also saw service at Cassino, Gela, Palermo and during the drive on Rome with the armored force. Last August Waits participated in the invasion of Southern France. He was in maintenance, then a half-track crew member, then a tank driver, and at the time of his death was a tank gunner attached to the 753rd Tank battalion of an armored division in the 7th Army, possibly in the Nuermberg (sic) sector of Germany.

Battalion Honored

Cpl. Waits and other members of the battalion had received the French Croix de Guerre, and the Vermillion Star recently for their outstanding operations with French units during a phase of the Italian campaign last year.

Prior to his induction T/5 Cpl. Waits was employed at the Sohio filling station, corner Broad and Chestnut-sts. He was a graduate of Lancaster High School, where he played football.

In addition to his wife and parents, Cpl. Waits leaves three sisters, Miss May Waits, chief telephone operator here, Mrs. Ernest Miller, Muskegon, Mich., and Mrs. Ralph Williams, Columbus.

The last letter Mrs. Waits received from her husband was dated March 30, from somewhere inside Germany.

I’d also like to mention the other two servicemen mentioned in the article:

First Lieutenant William S. Massey (5/9/1917 – 3/26/1945), 187th Glider Infantry, 11th Airborne, United States Army, died of battle wounds in the Philippines. He is buried in the Manila American Cemetery.

Corporal Kenneth Kinney Metcalf (8/15/1922 – 4/5/1945), 6th Division, United States Marine Corps, was KIA at Okinawa in the Ryukyu Islands, 350 miles from Japan. He is buried in Forest Rose Cemetery in Lancaster, Ohio.

Through my many internet wanderings and various Ohio contacts, I had never been able to locate this newspaper article. Many, many thanks to Jane Mason (Miller) for locating and mailing a copy!

Brian Davis – Christine Davis (Williams) – Ralph Scott Williams Jr. – Nellie Ruth Williams (Waits/sister of Charles Richard Waits)

Categories: Military, Williams

Charles Richard “Dick” Waits – The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor Enrollment Letter

January 25th, 2010 No comments
Purple Heart Hall of Honor Letter

Purple Heart Hall of Honor Letter

Last week, I received the following letter from the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor regarding the enrollment of my great grand uncle, Charles Richard “Dick” Waits:

Re: Charles R. Waits

Thank you for sending us information for enrollment in the Roll of Honor at the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor. We truly appreciate your interest and support in helping us further our goal to collect, preserve and share the record of all Purple Heart recipients.

We are pleased and honored to let you know that the enrollment process is completed. The profile will be on both versions of the Roll of Honor. There is an on-line version and a more complete version here in the Hall of Honor. The on-line version will be available on our website within the next few weeks. Please visit our website at www.thepurpleheart.com and search the Roll of Honor database to view the profile. That version is a single page commemoration for each recipient, and includes a photo, (if you have sent one) and basic information about the recipient.

The version viewable here at the Hall of Honor is more comprehensive. It can include additional pictures you have sent, as well as narrative information and a more complete story of the recipient’s experiences. If you would like to send additional material, we will include that in the Hall based Roll of Honor. We can include a maximum of six images or pages in the Hall itself. Please send copies, as we cannot return materials that have been sent to us.

So far, more than 149,000 recipients have been enrolled. While this is a significant number, it is small compared to the estimated 1.7 million Purple Hearts that have been awarded since 1932, so your efforts are all the more appreciated. Again, thank you for helping us honor all Purple Heart recipients.

Sincerely,

Mary C. Presutti
The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor
Enrollment Staff

The on-line version of Dick’s enrollment is available on their website.  I greatly appreciate the efforts of this organization in honoring Purple Heart recipients.

Brian Davis – Christine Davis (Williams) – Ralph Scott Williams Jr. – Nellie Ruth Williams (Waits/sister of Charles Richard Waits)

Categories: Military, Williams

Pearl Harbor Day 2009 – John Cameron “Jack” Parsons Obituary

December 7th, 2009 No comments

Today is the 68th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.  I’ve posted the obituary of my great grand uncle, John Cameron “Jack” Parsons, which was featured in the 11/23/1989 edition of the Corpus Christi Caller-Times.  “Big Jack” was married to my great grand aunt, Erby Katheryn Parsons (Davis) and a Pearl Harbor survivor. He served with the United States Navy during World War II and the Korean War.  Erby was a ”Rosie the Riveter”, a term used to describe the women who worked in the maufacturing plants during World War II, bulding munitions and materiel, in Fort Worth, Texas:

 John Cameron (Jack) Parsons, 73, died November 21, 1989 at his residence.

He was a member of the Lily Baptist Church of Lily, Kentucky.

Mr. Parsons had been a resident of Corpus Christi since 1953.  He was a veteran of WWII and the Korean Conflict and retired from the Navy with the following decorations: American Heart Defense Medal, American Theatre Medal and the Korean Service Ribbon.

He was the President of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, Member of the Fleet Reserve Association in Flour Bluff, Member of American Legion Bill Roper Post #364, Past Commander of American Legion Gragg-Sherrill Post #248, and a member of the Mayor’s Veterans Council.

He is survived by his wife, Erby Parsons, his son, Jack Cameron Parsons, his daughter, Carolyn Jean Sullivan, all of Corpus Christi, two brothers, Bill Parsons of Fairfield, Ohio and Harold Parsons of Hamilton, Ohio, four sisters, Lucy Hopkins of Lily, Kentucky, Evelyn Martin of Oceanside, California, Doris Jean Grimes and Allie [illegible] of Hamilton, Ohio, one stepdaughter, Janice Pate of Mexia, Texas, 11 grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews.

The family will receive friends from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. Thursday evening, November 23, 1989 at the Everhart Chapel.  Funeral services will be conducted at 2 p.m. Friday, November 24, 1989 at the Everhart Chapel with Chaplain Richard C. Hettish, Dr. Loren White, Rev. Richard D. Worden and Chaplain Abel Chapa officiating.

Members of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association will act as Honorary Pallbearers.

For those wishing to make donations, the family has designated the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, Local Chapter #5, c/o A.J. Dunn, Treasurer, 3105 Seafoam, Corpus Christi, Texas 78418.

Brian Davis – James Michael Davis – James Nead Davis – Sherman Harry Davis (brother-in-law of John Cameron Parsons)

Categories: Davis, Military

Charles Richard “Dick” Waits – The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor

December 4th, 2009 1 comment
The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor

The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor

This afternoon, I completed The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor enrollment application for my great grand uncle, Charles Richard “Dick” Waits.  I enclosed three photographs, two letters, supporting documentation, and a short narrative with the application.  Here is the narrative I submitted on his behalf:

Charles Richard “Dick” Waits (4/27/1919-4/6/1945)

Charles Richard “Dick” Waits was born in Lancaster, Ohio, on 4/27/1919.  He was the only son of Harmon Clay “H.C.” Waits and Mellie Waits (Milligan).  Dick later attended Lancaster High School and enlisted with the United States Army on 12/9/1941 in Columbus, Ohio, two days after the attack on Pearl Harbor.  While on leave from training at Fort Knox, Kentucky, Dick married Margaret Anne “Peggy” Phillips on 6/16/1942.

After returning to Fort Knox, Dick was eventually shipped overseas to fight in the European Theater of World War II with the 753rd Tank Battalion.  From his letters, it seems he had been in the war for quite some time and was very anxious to return home after all he’d been through.  He was killed by a shrapnel fragment wound to the head when his tank was shelled on 4/6/1945 near Kressbach, Germany in the Battle Between the Jagst and Kocher Rivers. 

At the time of his death, Dick was a corporal and tank gunner in Company C of the 753rd Tank Battalion.  He was buried in the United States Military Bensheim Cemetery in Germany on 4/13/1945.  He would later be reburied in the Lorraine American Cemetery in St. Avold, France, his final resting place, on 9/20/1945.

Brian M. Davis
12/4/2009

From their website: “The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor commemorates the extraordinary sacrifices of America’s servicemen and servicewomen who were killed or wounded in combat. The mission of the Hall of Honor is to collect and preserve the stories of Purple Heart recipients from all branches of service and across generations to ensure that all recipients are represented.”

Please send any information you have on a family member that was wounded or killed in combat, and I would be honored to submit it on their behalf.

Brian Davis – Christine Davis (Williams) – Ralph Scott Williams Jr. – Nellie Ruth Williams (Waits/sister of Charles Richard Waits)

Categories: Military, Williams

Ralph Scott Williams Jr. – LCI(L)-11 D-Day Action Report

December 4th, 2009 No comments

On 10/28/09, I sent the following request to the National Archives and Records Administration:

Modern Military Records Unit (NWCTM)
National Archives and Records Administration
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20740-6001

Dear Sir or Madam:
I have been researching my grandfather (Ralph Scott Williams Jr., USNR, 570 06 78)’s service in World War II for several years.  I am writing to find what records are available pertaining to the ship that he served on overseas. 
He served on USS LCI(L)-11 from 5/21/1943 to 11/4/1944.  In his military file, it states he took part in the invasion of Sicily, Italy, the assault landings at Anzio, Italy, and the D-Day assault in Normandy, France.
I would greatly appreciate any help in locating records pertaining to this ship.

Thank you,
Brian M. Davis

I recently received the vessel’s action report from Operation Overlord, dated 7/12/1944.  It states the following:

[LCI(L)-11] participated in transporting officers and men to Utah assault area – invasion of Normandy from 6-13 June 1944 – in task force 125.

Click on the above images for more detailed information pertaining to LCI(L)-11 and its role in Operation Overlord. I am currently piecing together a short history of my grandfather’s naval service for my World War 2 project, which should be posted sometime next year.

Brian Davis – Christine Davis (Williams) – Ralph Scott Williams Jr.

Categories: Military, Williams

Tombstone Tuesday – Charles Richard “Dick” Waits (1919 – 1945) (Color)

November 24th, 2009 No comments

This morning, I received a booklet with a color picture of Charles Richard “Dick” Waits’ headstone.  Recently, I sent a request (with payment) to the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) to place a floral spray at Dick’s headstone.  They placed the flowers on November 11, Veterans Day, and took the above picture.  Please visit my other blog posts for more information on Dick’s life and his military service.

Brian Davis – Christine Davis (Williams) – Ralph Scott Williams Jr. – Nellie Ruth Williams (Waits/sister of Charles Richard Waits)

Categories: Military, Tombstone, Williams

Charles Richard “Dick” Waits Headstone

November 20th, 2009 2 comments
Charles Richard Waits Headstone

Charles Richard "Dick" Waits Headstone

I received this picture from the American Battle Momuments Commission (ABMC).  They also included a very nice color lithograph (too big to scan) of the Lorraine American Cemetery in St. Avold, France, where Dick is buried.

Brian Davis – Christine Davis (Williams) – Ralph Scott Williams Jr. – Nellie Ruth Williams (Waits/sister of Charles Richard Waits)

Categories: Military, Williams

Tombstone Tuesday – Woody Burl Davis (1925 – 2001)

November 17th, 2009 No comments

Woody Burl Davis, my grand uncle, was born 9/26/1925 in Mexia, Texas, to Sherman and Margie Davis (Kirkpatrick.)  The oldest of four children, Woody served as a Private with the United States Marine Corps during World War II (see earlier post.) 

“W. B.” married Marjorie Ann Johnson and had three children: Judy Kay, Cheryl, and John.  He worked for the Mexia State School, a residential facility for those with developmental disabilities.  Woody passed away on June 22, 2001, in College Station, Texas.  He was buried in Point Enterprise Cemetery, located in Mexia.

I remember visiting the Point Enterprise Cemetery while living in College Station.  My wife and I took a short road trip to visit Woody’s gravesite and took the pictures just before sunset. 

Brian Davis – James Michael Davis – James Nead Davis (brother of Woody Burl Davis)

Categories: Davis, Military, Tombstone