Al "Tex" Dunnam
Tex was wounded while on patrol on Luzon Island, a shot that went through his helmet and hit his head. Six weeks later he was sent back to combat. "He came within a quarter of an inch of giving his life for you and me, and when he could walk again, he returned to the front lines . . . Dunnam will never be forgotten by me or the men that he served with. He was a good soldier."
Dennis Hebert, Company A, 126th Regiment, 32nd Division.
W.H. Greene, Martin Hickman and Dennis Hebert trained together at Camp Fannin, Texas, before shipping out to the Philippines. Dennis, at age 19, was killed on Leyte Island in December of 1944, and Martin was injured by the same grenade. W.H. placed an engraved brick at the Belcher Veterans Memorial to honor Dennis. “The Belcher Veterans Memorial was built so that people like you who fought so hard and died so young will not be forgotten when your close friends are gone.” A brick was placed at the memorial for Smitty.
T/Sgt Roy Johnson - Olivia, MN
W.H. and Roy met at Aitape, New Guinea. "I never fought with anyone that I felt safer being next to. . . "
"They wanted to give Roy a battlefield commission but he would have had to go to some kind of training for a few weeks and would have to be transferred to al different unit. He would not accept the commission because he wanted to stay with the men he had been fighting with. We were very thankful he stayed with us." W.H. Greene
Roy fought for more than three and a half years with the division that had more combat time than any U.S. Division in any U.S. war. He was awarded the Silver Star.
John E. "Smitty" Smith
“I knew this 19-year old PFC Smith, better known as “Smitty” who went through some of the jungles of New Guinea and the mud on Leyte. He faced rifles, machine guns, mortars and hand grenades. In my eyes he was a true hero who gave it his all.
“It was amazing to see such a spectacular memorial located in a place many have never heard of . . . Thank you for taking the time, having the strength and dedication to honor so many that have been forgotten, that are currently serving or have served in our Armed Forces and on our Space Shuttles.” Minnie Barkley, TSgt. (Ret).
“It is quite encouraging to see people so devoted to recognizing the sacrifices of those that have given so much to create and protect the greatest nation ever known.” David Jeanfreau
“I have my own personal war stories dating back to Vietnam but I have had the privilege of passing through time to be personal experiences of hundreds of heroes from too many wars . . . Thank you, JoAnn and Whayland for honoring me with a brick at your Veterans Memorial. You are a small town of big hearts.” Lt. Col. Oliver L. North, USMC (retired)
“Just wanted you gentlemen to know his (John Elmer Smith’) family appreciates your efforts at the tribute you paid to him.” Linda Lee Cooksey
“Another Memorial day, and I keep remembering back to the day we were on patrol in the Phillippines, Luzon Island. We were in the mountains on the northern section near the city of Bangued. We were single file working our way up through mountain side rice patios. Awana was in the lead and I was one step behind him. I heard the rifle fire and saw Awana slump down, he had been hit several times in his knees. Man from our patrol returned firm on the Japanese and I don’t think we had any more wounded. Two days later the atomic bombs were dropped on Japan, and the war ended. I truly believe the atomic bombs saved thousands of lives, including my life. We did not start war and I am graftful that it ended the way that it did.” Thomas J. Davis, 1st Platoon, Company “C”, 126th Reg., 32 Div.
“I wish I could be there with you to lay a wreath for my Grandfather (Col. Merle H. Howe) and all the other Red Arrow men who have gone ahead “on point. My family is very proud that you invited us to participate in some small way . . . We feel very lucky to have made contact with you. We are honored and humbled to be included in your town’s memorial . . . We embrace join you from a distance and we embrace you and all your brave comrades.” Greg Howe and the entire Howe family.”
“I believe you may have served in WWII with my grandfather, Roy Johnson from Olivia, MN . . . The war was a subject my grandpa never wanted to talk about and I really wish I had been able to learn more about him and what he went through. He was a wonderful person and I miss him greatly.” Tracy Johnson-Levering
A special thanks to Mayor Jennifer Fant for all your help with the Belcher Veterans Memorial. What a great job of planning and directing the dedication service.
Dedicated on November 17 2002