Local World War II and Korean War veterans honored by patriotic group

Published 5:08 pm Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Joel Early Chapter of Iron City, along with the Valdosta Chapter and the William Dunaway Chapter of Marianna, Florida, (the premier patriotic lineage organization), Sons of the American Revolution (SAR), had some very special guests at their monthly meeting and supper, March 18, in Iron City.  The Joel Early Chapter invited all (known to them} local WWII and Korean War vets to attend their meeting and receive the SAR Military Service Medal award in recognition for service in the U.S. armed services.  Each of the recipients were asked to speak of their experiences.

While many of the memories they shared were riveting, several were indeed notable in our nation’s military history. For example, Roger Spooner(Iron City, Ga.) told of his ship, the aircraft carrier, USS Yorktown, being sunk by the Japanese Navy. He was a lucky survivor who immediately volunteered to return to the fight in the submarine service where his boat sank five Japanese ships in a single night of fighting.  Al Lane (Greenwood, Fla.) was a bomber pilot in the U.S. Army Air Corps (the predecessor of the Air Force which was not established until 1947) over Germany and under heavy attack by German fighter planes when P-51’s piloted by Tuskegee Airmen came to their rescue and chased the Germans away.  He later got the chance to thank some of them personally. Perhaps the most poignant story was told by Fletcher Dunaway(Greenwood, Fla.) who served in what is now called a “Graves Registration” unit in Korea.  One of his unenviable tasks was to escort dozens of American service men’s bodies home for burial; he being the only living person in the large, cavernous storage compartment of a major transport aircraft for those trans-pacific flights.  Hal Meadows(Cuthbert, Ga.) served in two wars (Korea and Vietnam) while Garland Roberts(Colquitt, Ga.) served in three (WWII, Korean and Vietnam).

Email newsletter signup