Hellcat News (Garnet Valley, Pa.), Vol. 65, No. 5, Ed. 1, January 2012 Page: 4 of 24
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Veterans Plaza Statue, Fort Collins, CO. Note the two F16s in
fly over. Photo by Cherrie Thorton
their message they wrote that Veteran’s Day went unnoticed
in their area and after telling them about all the activities in
Fort Collins, their reply was, “sounds like my kind of town.”
Wasn’t that the name of a song? Oh no, that was Chicago.
Hope you won’t mind a bit of bragging. In Fort Collins
there were a lot of restaurants that offered free meals to Vets,
and the day started off with a big free breakfast and program
at our senior center. Later there were memorials at a war
memorial facility and the cemeteries. Later in the week the
new Veteran’s Plaza was dedicated in front of a huge crowd.
This is in one of our parks and the dedication was for the new
statue. A picture of that statue is in this issue of the HCN.
The picture was taken by a local lady, Cherrie Thorton, who
snapped the picture of the soldier with the child on his shoulder
just as a flyover of F-16s passed. Cherrie was kind enough to
be sure the picture was in the HCN. Neat huh?
This plaza is unique in that the gardens contain soil from
battle fields from all over the world where American service
people have fought. Also there is DVD area where visitors can
call up interviews with veterans from the northern Colorado
areas, by war, city or name. These were totally dedicated
folks who made this unique tribute to American veterans a
possibility. When you come to see us we will take you this
Don’t you think it is time to catch your breath after all
the “heavy” stuff. I have just the thing you need. Thoughts
to Ponder! “If you TRY to fail and succeed, which have you
done?” “An optimist is someone who falls off the Empire
State Building, and after five floors says, “So far so good.”
“Why do we drive on parkways and park on driveways?”
Enough of that.
What a great letter from Albert Wright (AKA “AA” during
the war.) telling about his life. He was attending Kemper
Military School in Boonville, MO, and had some deferment
time left when he told his father he wanted to enlist, but his
dad told him if he was drafted it would save some of the farm
boys from going so soon. Oh yes, his father was chairman of
the draft board. He went to Ft. Sill and then to ASTP in Las
Cruces, NM. (I don’t remember you there Al.) When it closed
he, like so many of us, went to Camp Barkeley to 17th HDQ,
Mortar Platoon as radio operator.
In February of ‘45 he spent some time in a hospital with
hepatitis. To get there he had to flag down an ambulance which
took him to Gervinet. There he became officer’s pay clerk, the
band drum major. The next part of his story sound like Cpl.
Radar O’Riley in Massachusetts. Al became company clerk in
an aid station in Paris, occasionally signed papers for his Lt.
who, taking care of a “lady” friend, never looked at the papers
“he” had signed when he showed up once a week.
Well, this next part will floor you. AA filled out papers
sending he and a friend to the University of Glasgow. You
didn’t know we had such an operator in the 12th, did you?
He spent a semester and a half there, went Oklahoma U, and
graduated from USC in California. As an advertising major
he worked on newspapers, life insurance, and estate planning.
Later he was executive director of a Methodist Foundation
and later, “after retiring” he became the executive minister of
the First Baptist Church of Lakewood, CA, and retired from
that in 1971. He lost his wife in 2006, and has two daughters.
One, Jennifer, lives in Buena Vista, CO. As Al says, he just
keeps going on and on.
Now my friends, that letter was what I talk about when
you are urged to write about yourself and let all of us learn
interesting things about interesting Hellcats. Since I think Al
might have helped some of you turn loose of your stories, he
gets an HHO.
I almost forgot. Merle Wood wrote that in going through
boxes preparing to move, he found a 17th Bn. flag. He doesn’t
know how it got there but it is a relief to know that it has come
back home to Colorado and will be put to good use in Abilene
It does pay to advertise. In a past issue information was
being sought about James Hammond, [B] and it wasn’t long
until Bud Wiley [B] called and said he could help the relative
of Jim who wanted some pieces filled in. To Bud, HHO.
Well, because the hour is late and all good things must come
to an end, the conclusion of this masterpiece is almost here.
Once again, from your friends in Colorado, Lola and Bill,
a wish that good things are waiting for you just around the
corner and hope that you will reconnect with old friends and
make a few new ones.
Happy New Year and God Bless.
23RD TANK BATTALION
923 Crosby Court, Columbia, TN 38401
Historian: James Francis
1756 Shuey Ave. #119 Walnut Crk, CA 94596
In honor of the New Year, let’s welcome our newest
members to the 23rd family: my nephews Coby Lackey and
Noah Lackey. Coby lives in Alabama, while Noah lives in
Mississippi. I purchased an annual membership for each of
them, as it's time to get the next generation involved. So a big
Here’s what’s next.
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Twelfth Armored Division Association (U.S.). Hellcat News (Garnet Valley, Pa.), Vol. 65, No. 5, Ed. 1, January 2012, newspaper, January 2012; (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth597651/m1/4/: accessed May 19, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting The 12th Armored Division Memorial Museum.