Book Preface

We cannot forget; we cannot lose the memory; we cannot be deaf to the past.

For all Americans that died while in the service of their county we cannot forget that they lived, they mattered, they loved and they were loved.

How do we respond to a letter written in 1942 from a mother whose only son was lost with a plea to pray for her? A daughter who felt the presence of her lost father and wrote, “This Man You Never Knew”? And the poem written by Fred Nalley, “When I Come Home to Stay”?

All but one of the men and women included in this Memorial book attended Baylor University but they represent all that answered the higher call to serve this country. Knowing the risk they stepped forward, they did not return.

For you the reader let me start at my beginning and give you an idea on how this book is presented.

The Heart of Texas Fair and Rodeo opens every year sometime in September at the Waco Coliseum.

In 1956, at a time when parents could do these things, my Mom and Dad would see me and my two older brothers go through the front gate early in the morning then meet us back at sundown. I would head immediately to the military vehicles and stay there all day. Soldiers befriended me. I still have the military decorations they gave me when we said goodbye. They were my friends. It is no wonder that my hobby became U.S. military history. Being born the year Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier my fascination with aviation led to a B.S. Degree in Aviation from Southeastern State University in Durant, Oklahoma. In 1970 I packed my bags into my Cessna 150 and flew to Vincennes, Indiana to accept a teaching position at Vincennes University.

In time, the good Lord brought me back to Waco so I could meet my soul mate Janet. I graduated from Baylor University with a B.B.A. in Business Management, worked at Library Binding Company our family business, marrying Miss Janet in 1978. I ended up being employed by Baylor University Libraries in 1996 as a book preservationist.

It was during walks on campus that I noticed the shield shaped plaques on lampposts. One spring day in 1999 I stopped at one. I felt as though that plaque was a portal to a friend that I was to meet. And so began my search. It has been a profound journey to seek out each individual listed on every military memorial plaque on the campus of Baylor University.

For the heroes listed on the lamppost plaques two pages are devoted to each individual using letters to and from home, news articles, photos, family remembrances, whatever I was able to obtain. Sadly in some cases there are no surviving relatives. It is my hope that after reading what is presented on the pages you will gain some insight into who this hero was.
The material is divided into sections, Civil War, World War I and World War II which includes Korea, Vietnam, Peace Time and Iraqi Freedom.

A map is included which has the location of each lamppost plaque. The map is indexed by the plaque number and alphabetically by last name. The Civil War plaque and the World War One plaque are displayed in the Texas Collection Library, Carroll Library building.

In the text, a name in bold print indicates that the person has a memorial plaque and is included in the book. Please note that several authors have contributed to this memorial book and that I have adapted articles from many sources. On each page I have numbered the photos, documents, letters, and commentary. The commentaries may have several numbers so check the end notes.

In an attempt to illustrate some of the stories I painted nine oil paintings. I did take artistic license with the story of Claude W Waugh whose B-17 disappeared over the South Atlantic during a patrol. The radio operator sent out messages apparently trying to get a fix on their location. It is a strong possibility that the B-17 ran out of fuel forcing the pilot to ditch at sea. While ditching at sea is extremely hazardous it is possible to survive. The painting depicts the crew launching their life rafts. While no evidence supports the theory, probability suggests that the crew survived but were never spotted.

For the lamppost plaques, as of this printing, no image is available for Harold Paul Brock, Willie Wilfrea Elliott and Luther Henry Sparkman.

Let me close with an old proverb which I think emphasizes the importance of the individual when part of a strong team.


For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the message was lost.
For want of a message the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.