Military News

Middle Georgia readers remember those who died in service to the country

Cpl. Charles Stoy

Stoy was born in Cincinnati in 1925. He enlisted in the Air Force when he was 18 and was a bombardier in World War II. He died with the rest of his crew in a plane crash near Yokohama, Japan, on Sept. 17, 1945. He was buried in Zachary Taylor Cemetery in Louisville, Kentucky. His three brothers remained in service for our country through the Korean War.

-- William J. Stoy, brother, Cochran

Pfc. Jack Anderson Ethridge

Ethridge was born and raised in Macon, on Pierce Avenue across from the Methodist Home for Children and Youth. He was the son of Green Berry and Mildred Knox Ethridge. He graduated from Lanier High School in 1943 and entered the army the day after graduation. He was in Company C, 398th Infantry. The telegram his parents received Jan. 28, 1945, reported him missing in action as of Jan. 9. The second telegram was received March 11 confirming that Jack had been killed in action in eastern France. Jack was buried at a military cemetery in Epinal, France. His body was shipped back to the United States in March 1948, and he was buried next to his grandparents in Riverside Cemetery.

-- Cecil Ethridge, Jr., cousin, Macon

Pvt. Edward Luther Fuller Jr.

Fuller, 22nd infantry, 4th division, was born in Macon on Dec. 22, 1921. He was killed in action Aug. 5, 1944, at Saint-Lo, Normandy. His parents were Edward and Louella Fuller. Edward had always planned to make a career of the Army. In his letters home, he always asked about his brother James, who was also serving in the Army and was less than 75 miles away at the time of Edward’s death. James did not, however, learn about Edward’s death until he received the news in a letter from his parents. The last letter from Edward was posted to his mom and dad on July 14, 1944. In it, he mentioned that he had not received any mail in almost a month. He requested that they “send candy. Any kind of candy -- just send candy!”

-- Ms. James Fuller, sister-in-law, Macon

Tech. Sgt. Tyler Green

Green was born in Macon on June 18, 1920. He proudly served his country during World War II. He was responsible for repairing airplanes damaged in the European Theater. On June 6, 1945, his captain was showing him a German Luger pistol when it accidentally discharged, striking Tyler in the chest. He was originally laid to rest in Germany, but his mother, Ruth Green, had his body returned to Macon three years later and he was interred at Macon Memorial Park. Sadly, his mother received a letter from Tyler dated June 5, 1945, telling her that he would be returning home in a few weeks.

-- Anese Ruth Brown, sister, Macon

Tech Sgt. Eric Birch

Birch, Georgia Air National Guard, died April 28, 2015, after battling stage 4 throat cancer. All through his 15-month fight he never lost his faith. He expressed his strong belief in the following quote written to me a month before his death:

“When you consider all intricacies of the human body and all the detailed stories that are documented in the Bible, there is no way that God is not real. If I live for one more or 100 more years, I will still praise God in life or with Him in eternity” -- EB

Eric loved serving with his J-STARS brothers in the 116th Air Control Wing at Robins Air Force Base. He was touched and thankful for all the support they showed our family while he was ill. He was determined to recover and fly with them again someday. God, family, country. Eric was a man of integrity, strong character and quick wit. He will be greatly missed.

-- Carla Birch, wife, Warner Robins

Sgt. 1st Class Charlie Frank Jones

A native of Monticello and an 11-year Army veteran, Jones trained soldiers for combat at Fort Benning’s Infantry School throughout World War II. He was pictured in an Army training book in 1949 demonstrating his marksmanship skills.

In February 1950, he left for Okinawa with the 29th Infantry Regiment, and at the outbreak of the Korean War this unit would be one of the first to arrive in Korea. On July 31, 1950, he was killed in action in South Korea, but his body never came home.

Through emails to Korean War veterans, a son found his dad’s platoon officer in 1999. It was an emotional moment for both as the former platoon lieutenant shared details of a battlefield death. “He was hit immediately. ... I tried to give him assistance. ... He died shortly after we got him down the hill. ... He was buried near the place where he died. ... and it grieves me not to remember the exact place.”

Today, the family tries to find answers at annual government briefings held in Washington. Recent recovery of remains along with advancements in forensic techniques and DNA offer hope of returning him to American soil. For now, his great-grandson, Charlie Jones, who was born in March, will carry forth a missing soldier’s name.

-- Mike Jones, son, Eatonton

Lt. James ‘Jim’ Kingery

Kingery entered service in April 1918, joining the Army’s Company B, 30th Infantry, 3rd Division. He was dispatched to France, fighting in the Battle of Chateau-Thierry, his unit trying to prevent boats from crossing the Marne River. Emerging from his foxhole on or about July 15, 1918, Kingery took two shots to the abdomen. Because German soldiers were able to overrun the staging area for the wounded, Kingery was taken across the Marne to a German prison camp known as Camp Trelon, where he died three days later.

My grandmother, upon receiving a letter from the Army informing her of her loss, instantly became a Gold Star Mother. German Sgt. Hugo Lamp befriended my uncle as he lay severely wounded, took his papers from his breast pocket, wrote down his address and, subsequently, thoughtfully wrote to my grandmother in 1921, offering her an opportunity to know in some detail the climate and circumstances of his demise.

My uncle is interred in Somme American Cemetery in Bony, France, near the battle site. Our family is grateful to God for Jim Kingery, his honor, courage, duty, and sacrifice. We remember him and his comrades in arms this day and always -- “lest we forget.”

-- Dale Kingery Taylor, Macon

Lance Cpl. Jeffery Brad Sanders

Sanders of Cochran, son of Jeffery Tyler Sanders and Brenda Sanders, died in the line of duty on June 16, 1998, at the age of 21. He was assigned to the Beach and Terminal Operations Company at Camp LeJeune, North Carolina.

He was driving his Humvee back to the base after completing a port operation in Morehead City, North Carolina, when a transfer truck crossed into his path. He had only reported a week earlier to Camp LeJeune from Okinawa, Japan, for a year. His commanding officer described his “can-do” attitude, and his keen ability to make friends with anybody and everybody.

He could be counted on to get the job done and done well. He was very respectful, tactful and dependable. His executive officer asked him while checking in if he wanted to deploy again, because usually after a deployment they really would like to be in the states a while. Sanders smiled and responded with “Whatever you need, sir.” He died doing what he enjoyed, serving his country that he so loved.

-- Brenda F. Sanders, mother, Cochran

First Lt. Joseph N. Neel Jr.

Neel, a platoon infantry commander, was killed in September 1918, three weeks before the World War I armistice. As I write in my book, “Man of the Cloth, an American Dream,” the war in France was winding down in favor of the Allies, yet the Americans decided to try some new maneuvers, including one called a daylight smokescreen. The experiment called for creating a thick smokescreen that would camouflage infantry troops as they came out of the trenches and went over the top toward the enemy.

A Swiss newspaper reporter found out about the tactic and published a story about it. Neel’s platoon went with an over-the-top charge against the Germans using the new smokescreen. The Germans, gathering information from the newspaper article, zeroed in on the smoke with artillery bombardments. Neel was struck by shrapnel that went into his brain. A physician said surgery was not an option. Neel lingered for three days before he died. My father, his brother, was also fighting in the war. When he was given the news, his commanding officer gave him permission to fly down and identify his brother’s body.

Initially buried in France, Neel’s body was returned for burial in Macon’s Riverside Cemetery. The American Legion Post 3 in Macon is named in honor of Neel.

-- Joseph N. Neel III, nephew, Macon