Photos by Johnnie Daniels/The Dillon Herald
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VETERANS OF THE YEAR
Two Veterans of the Year received their awards at the annual Veterans Day ceremony on Thursday.
Asa McDuffie was presented the Veteran of the Year award for 2020. McDuffie was drafted in the Army on July 10, 1970. He was at Fort Jackson for basic training and was then transferred to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, an artillery base. There he was trained on the Pershing Missile System and then transferred to a small base in Schwabisch-Gmund, Germany. He was part of a team that would move the 45 ft. Pershing missiles around the countryside in large trucks that served as a transporter and missile system.
In February 1972, he received an early release from the Army and was transferred back to the United States. He joined the Dillon Armor Company B. 1st Bn. 63 Armor SCARING. He served in the National Guard for one year. He received an honorable discharge from the Army, the National Defense Service Medal, and the Expert Rifle Ribbon.
He is an active member of the American Legion and has served as second Vice-Commander and now is in his fourth year as Post 0032 Commander in Dillon. He is also part of the team who places flags on the graves of veterans. He was very grateful to receive this honor.
Joe Melvin Manning is the 2021 recipient. He was unable to attend the ceremony, but his sister spoke on his behalf. He will receive his award in January at a special program at the Dillon County Theatre.
He was drafted into the U.S. Army. He completed his basic training and advanced training at Fort Gordon, Georgia. On April 14th, 1968, he found himself in the jungle of Vietnam where he was involved in several combat missions. He was seriously injured by several scrap metals and was hospitalized for 15 months. He sustained the loss of one arm, one eye,a nd some hearing loss.
After his military service, he completed his college degree at Claflin and has made Dillon his home.
REMARKS FROM GUEST SPEAKER
By Betsy Finklea
The Dillon High School Senior Army instructor gave timely and pertinent remarks at the annual Veterans Day ceremony held at Veterans Square at the Dillon City-County Complex on Thursday.
Leroy Sharpe, Jr., said that Veterans Day officially became a holiday in 1938 and here 83 years later on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, we are still observing this momentous occasion. Sharpe said he served in the greatest, most powerful military in the world. He thanked everyone for coming out to celebrate those heroes past and present.
Sharpe said South Carolina has a rich military history. He said South Carolina is home to eight military bases. Each branch of the military has a footprint in South Carolina. Ten percent of the adult population in South Carolina are veterans.
Sharpe said he would touch on key events during his active duty and lessons learned. He said the cornerstones of a veteran are about upholding democracy and defending the Constitution. He said it make a veteran who they are. He said the values of his branch of service, The Army, include loyalty, duty, responsibility, honor, integrity, personal courage, and selfless service. As an instructor, he tries to teach those values to his cadets.
Sharpe said the JROTC is not necessarily about directing young people toward a military career, but about “citizenship” and making young folks better citizens.
Veterans are faced with unique challenges that their civilian counterparts may not understand.
He said one war they are fighting is the war against unemployment he said some don’t have the education of their peers because they joined the military at an early age.
Another thing veterans face is living with PTSD. He said they face various types of discrimination.
Some veterans deal with physical and emotional scars.
Female veterans are the fastest growing population of veterans.
Sharpe challenged the audience not only to recognize the sacrifices of veterans on Veterans day, but every day of the year. He said veterans are dependable, loyal, and able to work and contribute.
SPRADLEY SCHOLARSHIP WINNER
The winner of the George F. Spradley: Veterans of Foreign Wars 2021-2022 Essay Contest is Rainie Stroud of Latta High School. She read the essay at the Dillon County Veterans Day Ceremony. Below is her winning essay:
By Rainie Stroud
My grandfather, Fred Melvin Moore was a veteran of the Vietnam War and Desert Storm. Just like Mr. Spradley, my grandfather left behind a wife and four children in Dillon County when he went to protect his country. He was a brave and strong man and I am more than honored to share his story.
My grandfather Fred was known for his never swaying bravery and growing up there was always one story that always put me in total awe of him. As the Vietnam War raged on, a battalion was sent out to fight the enemy and it was called company A. Sadly, every one of the brave souls in company A passed away. Soon after on February 2nd, 1969, company B, containing my Papa Fred, was sent out on the same mission. There were only two survivors of company B, one was my grandfather and one was the man he carried on his shoulder to safety. The man my grandfather carried had been shot and was not able to stand, but Papa Fred knew that it was his duty to save his fellow man and he did just that.
My grandfather, with his fellow soldier over his shoulder, turned his rifle around and began to shoot backwards towards the enemy as he turned around to get he and the wounded man to safety. In the process, my grandfather was wounded by a gunshot to his arm. Due to his courage, honor, and bravery, Fred Moore received the Purple Heart on February 14th, 1969 in Washington D.C. After the Vietnam War and suffering from his wound, my grandfather continued his service on to fight in Desert Storm.
Soon after returning home from battle, my grandmother, mother, and aunts began to see that my grandfather was beginning to come disoriented and that his health was deteriorating. Certain doctors tried to say that he was suffering from dementia, but later it was discovered he has been exposed to Agent Orange, a herbicide used by the United States during the Vietnam War.
He became very sick, but he still enjoyed every second of his life that he could.
Papa Fred, also known as SP4 E-4 Moore, passed away on May 2nd, 2003, just months before I was born. I consider myself to be at a disadvantage due to the fact that I never met him. From my grandfather, I learned that it is important to protect yourself and others while also not turning your back on the enemy. I am proud to be the granddaughter of a hero and I hope that he can be more properly honored as time progresses.