Category Archives: Military Monday

MILITARY MONDAY: RAY HOUSTON MARTIN, U. S. ARMY # 38173067

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In a span of 27 years my Martin hero, Ray Houston Martin, lived in a time of hardships most of us have never known.   This is his story:

Ray Martin

Ray Houston was born September 27, 1916 in Ida, Louisiana to Walter Houston Martin and Emma Pearl Bain. President Woodrow Wilson was elected to his second term of office in the fall of that year. The following year the United States declared war on Germany and became a participant in WW I. Ray’s father’s draft registration is dated September 1918 however, he never served. WW I lasted until the Treaty of Versailles was signed in 1919 when Ray was three years old.

By 1929 the stock market had crashed and Ray’s father, Walter, who had worked for Gulf Oil, now had diabetes and lost one of his legs. Unable to provide for his family, Walter became despondent and by the 1930 U. S. Census he was listed as a patient at the Central Louisiana State Hospital in Pineville, Louisiana. His wife, Pearl and their four unmarried children lived with her father. Walter remained at the mental hospital until his death in 1937.

Ray, being the eldest son in the family, worked, wherever he could trying to support his mother and siblings. He worked in the timber industry, the petroleum industry as well as for the CCC.

The United States declared war on Japan with the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Times were difficult for all American families and sacrifices had to be made. Gas was rationed, auto makers stopped making autos for private use, scrap metal and rubber were collected for the war effort and jobs were almost impossible to find. However Ray managed to find happiness with his fiancée Mary Craft of Leesville, Louisiana.

Ray Martin and fiance Mary Craft_1

On June 4, 1942 Ray enlisted in the Army. His records show he was single with dependents, namely his mother and siblings. In a letter to his mother on July 19, 1942, he speaks of money for her and saving good tires.

 

Ray Martin letter to Pearl Martin dated July 19,1942 pg. 1

 

Ray Martin Letter to Pearl Martin, dated July 19, 1942 pg. 2_1

Ray Martin letter to Pearl Martin dated July 19, 1942 pg. 3_1

In this letter he says that he’s “fit as a fiddle” but that it is hot there. Apparently he received a check from his mother that he says he returned to her by air mail. He encourages her to get out more and possibly go to Leesville for a visit. Then he tells her that she should start getting $22.00 about the first. He had applied for her as a dependent of his; however the government denied it, so he was having that amount withheld from his check and sent to her monthly. He states that he has had more money since he had been in service because he doesn’t go any place to spend it.

Then he goes into receiving a letter from the finance company regarding car past due car payments. He needs to make payments or they will repossess it. He says will tell them that he is but he isn’t. Then he suggests they take the tires off and put on some old “rags” if she doesn’t use it. He signs off by telling her to tell all hello; to take care of herself and that he will write more next time.

In a later letter he again wants the tires changed out (remember rubber/tires were difficult to come by during the war) and to sell them for $10.00 each and keep the money.

On March 29, 1943 Ray was killed while serving in North Africa.

Ray Martin's Notice of Death

I have tried to obtain his war records from the National Personnel Records only to be told the repository they were stored in had burned and that I should write again requesting a Final Pay Voucher. I did and the final payment voucher stated he was in Tunisia, North Africa.

In Ray’s short life he had lived through some historic events that occurred in our country that had had five Presidents: namely Woodrow Wilson, Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover and Franklin Roosevelt. It was not until May 10, 1948, when Harry Truman was President, that his body was being shipped home by rail to Vivian, Louisiana for burial on July 9, 1948 at Bethsaida Cemetery in Ida, Louisiana. His body was accompanied by S/Sgt. William H. Nance.

Ray H Martin tombstone

Thanks for Ray and so many other young men who have served, who gave their lives or are presently serving in order that you and I may live in a free America.

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MILITARY MONDAY: CLAUDE NORRIS GINGLES

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Harvey Samuel Gingles married Ella Mae Daniel in 1910.  Of this marriage there were twelve children. Seven of their sons served in the military along with one daughter; however one son, Claude Norris, is the subject of today’s Military Monday.  Claude Norris, or Buster as he was called, was born October 22, 1911 in Elberton, Georgia.

 

Claude Norris (Buster) Gingles

 

Buster served both in the U. S. Army and the U. S. Air Force. In the Army Infantry in World War II he served in Germany.  In the Air Force he was a fireman.  Between the two branches of the military  he spent twenty-one years in service retiring as a Staff Sergeant.  Other locations he was station at included Camp Stewart, Georgia, Panama, the Philippine Islands, Reese AFB Texas,  Columbus AFB in Mississippi, Roswell AFB in New Mexico Gary AFB in Texas and Barksdale AFB in Louisiana.

On December 8, 1939 Buster married Buena Gladys Martin Hanson, a young widow with three children; James Kenneth Hanson, Myrtle Virginia Hanson and Billy Noel Hanson.  Three Gingles children, Roy Claude, Ella Pearl and Robert Dale were born to Buster and Gladys.  As often happens while in the military, Buster was on away duty when Claude and Ella were born.  Robert Dale died at birth.

Gladys died in the Barksdale Hospital at the age of fifty-one.  Four years later Buster married Phonelle Lynch Hanson, the ex-wife of his step-son, James Kenneth Hanson.

Buster Gingles 1990

Claude Norris Gingles passed away on March 31, 2006 and was buried with full military rites by the Barksdale Air Force Base Honor Guard at Centuries Memorial Cemetery in Shreveport, Louisiana.

 

 

 

Military Monday: John Thomas (J. T.) Bain

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On this Monday I would like to honor J. T. Bain, Air Force # 6398048, my first cousin once removed.  J. T. was the first child of William Edward Bain and Buena Vista Martin.  He was born October 12, 1912. J. T. Bain J. T. first enlisted and reported to active duty on December 12, 1936 at the age of twenty-four. As you can see from the newspaper article listed below, William Edward and Buena had a very patriotic family as not only did J. T. serve, his brothers, Laurice, Marvin, James Houston and sister, Justine, did as well.

Buena Martin and Ed Bain's children in WW II

 

 

Following his first tour of duty J. T. reenlisted again on January 22, 1940, again on October 12, 1945 and lastly on October 12, 1948.  He had received an Honorable Discharge each time prior to his next reenlistment.  J. T. received his training at Barksdale Air Field as well as in Savannah, Georgia.  He served as a mechanic with a P-38 fighter squadron and served in India. While in service he attained the rank of Master Sergeant.

J T Bain Death Cerftificate

 

J. T.’s Death Certificate states that he passed away at the 3700 USAF Hospital at Lackland Air Force Base in Bexar County, Texas of a tumor of the right temporal lobe.

My next step was to research his Headstone Application, which I discovered.  Page one is listed below:

J T Bain U S Headstone Applications for Military Veterans

From this I discover his place of birth, written in red, as Kiblah, Arkansas. The application is signed by his wife on April 15, 1954 and states the tombstone will be shipped via Railway Express and that his brother, L. E. (Laurice) has made arrangements to transport the stone to the cemetery.

For some reason, I decided I would check the next page in the tombstone applications as I have many Bain relatives that served in WW II.  Much to my surprise, the back side of the application listed all of his military history!  It also states that he was in the 3555 Maintenance and Supply Group.

 

J T Bain U S Headstone Application, pg.2

 

 

 

J. T. and his wife, Mary Belle Hinton share a tombstone at Bethsadia Cemetery in Ida, Louisiana.

Mary and J. T. Bain

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Military Monday- Saving Lives Rather Than Take Them

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Judson M Hemperley, Sr

Judson Manuel Hemperley was born on October 14, 1919 in Ida, Louisiana to Luther London and Sybil Cain Hemperley. Luther went to work for Cities Service and his wife and children moved to Haynesville, Louisiana where she owned a dress shop. Judson had one sister, Iris Bliss, who was killed in her senior year of high school from an accidental gun discharge.

Judson, in the 1940 census for Haynesville, Louisiana, was residing with his parents and wife, Helen Burge Hemperley, whom he had married on October 18, 1939 in Magnolia, Arkansas. It also says he had completed one year of college and had been out of work for 58 weeks even though his occupation was listed as an oilfield laborer.

On November 30, 1942 he enlisted in the U. S. Army and served until January 4, 1946 as a medic attaining the rank of Staff Sergeant. His first child, Judson Manuel, Jr., was born November 1, 1943 while he was in service in Germany.

For a time after he got out of the Army, Judson worked in the oilfield business in the boom of East Texas. In 1960 Judson relocated his family to Grants, New Mexico to the Uranium boom. His hobbies included gardening, fishing and cooking. He resided in Grants until his death at age 90 on February 10, 2010.

For many years, Judson would not speak of the war or his efforts to save lives rather than take them. It was only at the urging of one of his grandchildren and working with Doug Bocaz-Larson and his wife, Kim, a documentary film was made of his war experiences. Mr. Bocaz-Larson is the Program Manager for computer science and creative media instructor for New Mexico State University in Grants, New Mexico. In the fall of 2009 that documentary, “Saving Lives in World War II”, won an Emmy for the Southwest Rocky Mountain region.

Saving Lives in World War II, Judson M Hemperley

This video of Saving Lives in World War II can be seen here.

Judson, along with another WW II vet, was interviewed by CNN regarding their service in the war. The video for this is located here, if you want to be a member of the site, you can sign up and search for Judson Manuel Hemperley.

Another Video about his saving lives can be seen here:

In these videos he recalls treating soldiers, saving lives at the Nazi Prison Camp, the stench of cremation’s, treating a little girl with a severed arm and walking through land mines to rescue fallen soldiers. Such atrocities you and I can’t even begin to imagine! He ate on the run, slept little and went from a 42” waist to a 35” waist during the same time period.

Look deeply into his compassionate blue eyes and listen as his gentle voice recants his life during service as a medic and you will see why it took him so many years to tell his war stories. Be thankful for your wounded relatives in World War II who returned home due to the dedication, training and American pride of medics like Judson Manuel Hemperley. A man committed to saving lives rather than take them.

Judson M Hemperley

Military Monday-All Gave Some, Some Gave All in World War II

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World War II began in Europe in September 1, 1939 when Germany invaded Poland. The United States was not involved until December 7, 1941 when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. That day, our president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt made the statement that this was “a date that will live in infamy”. The following day, December 8, 1941, the United States declared war on Japan and Germany.

In order to give you a better understanding of the impact this war had on my families, I will tell you that my great-grandfather, Benjamin Noel Bain, and his sister Sara Bain Stout, my great grand-aunt, both moved to Ida, Louisiana in the early 1880s. They were pillars of the community and raised their families there. During the 1940’s times were difficult. Jobs were scarce and many young men went into the Civilian Conservation Corp that operated from 1933-1942. The CCC was for unemployed single men, ages 18-25, to relieve families who had difficulties finding jobs during the Great Depression. They were provided shelter, clothing, food and wages of $30.00 per month of which $25.00 had to be sent home to their families. There was gas rationing and no tires. Many products that could be used in the war were difficult to find much less afford. Families took care of each other. Women worked as never before and became Rosie the Riveters. My aunt, Anna Martin Dodd worked at the Army Ammunition Depot. Some men were either drafted or enlisted, not only to support The United States, but their families as well. All Gave Some. All were forced to give or give up something.

I do not know the population of Ida during the 1940s; however I do know that there were 150 young men and women that served in World War II. Of those 150, at least 18, (or 12%), were direct descendants of these two individuals. Some parents had four or five family members involved in the conflict. I can’t even begin to imagine the worry, love and concern these parents felt. I would like to share some of my Martin and Bain heroes that were involved in that conflict, which was supposedly “the war to end all wars”. The one where Some Gave All.

Children of JOHN HENRY AND MAMIE ALMEDIA WYNN BAIN:

Chris BainMina Chrystal Bain Bond served as a Pvt. in the WAC as a photographer and worked at the Navy Hospital in Hot Springs, AR.

 

 

 

 

Rex BainRex was a 1C Petty Officer in the Navy Stationed in the Hawaiian Islands where Admiral Chester Nimitz was the Commander of the Pacific Ocean Areas. He was stationed on the northern side of Oahu at Makalapa when he received a call from his brother, Max (see below). Rex went to see him at Pearl Harbor, however Max was in Honolulu. Through some sweet talking, pulling strings and knowing higher officers, he was able to get Max transferred from the boat to shore duty; therefore Max was not in Pearl Harbor when it was bombed. Max was able to finish his enlistment in the Navy on shore on Oahu. A brother takes care of a brother!!

Max BainMax was a Seaman 2 C in the Navy and served in the Pacific and was at Pearl Harbor.

 

 

 

 

Roy BainRoy enlisted in the Navy. From the book Ida 2000 by James Allison of Ida: “Roy in 1944 was a pipefitter at the plant in Oak Ridge, TN., that built the first nuclear reactor later used to build the first atomic bomb. After Roy left Oak Ridge, he joined the Navy and had basic training at San Diego. He was on a ship headed for the war zone in the Pacific when word came that the Japanese had surrendered.

Charles (Jackie) WestbrookCharles Jackie Westbrook was also in the Navy and was married to Ludie, daughter of John Henry and Mamie.

 

 

 

William Hinkle Stroud, JrT Sgt. William Hinkle Stroud, Jr. was in the Army and was married to Ludie.

 

 

 

 

 

Children of ED BAIN AND BUENA MARTIN BAIN:

Laurice BainLaurice was with the Ordinance Ammunition Company in Okinawa and served as a Sgt. in the Army.

 

 

 

 

J. T. BainJ. T. was a Master Sgt. in the Air Force serving in India as a mechanic with a P38 fighter squadron.

 

 

 

 

Marvin BainMarvin was a Staff Sgt. who served in England as a shipping and receiving clerk with the 8th Air Force.

 

 

 

 

 

Justine BainJustine became a 2nd Lt. in the Army Nurse Corp and was stationed at Camp Robinson, AR.

 

 

 

 

Houston BainJames Houston was stationed in Germany with a tank destroyer unit. He was a Tec 5 in the Army.

 

 

 

 

 

CHILDREN OF WALTER HOUSTON MARTIN AND EMMA PEARL BAIN MARTIN:

Ray MartinRay Houston served in the Army’s 60th Infantry whose commander was Gen. George Patton. He was a Pvt. and served in Tunisia. He had also been in the CCC prior to his enlistment. Ray was killed in Tunisia on March 29, 1943 however his body was not returned and buried until July 7, 1948. As a child I remember the family gathering at my grandmother’s home place where Ray’s flag draped casket was placed in the dining room until the day of the burial. Family members sat up all night with it until burial the next day. Children were allowed in the room but must be quiet at all times. At the time of his death, he was engaged to Mary Craft of Leesville, LA. In my genealogy research I have written for his service records only to find out the repository had burned and the only record I was able to attain was his last pay record from Tunisia.

Roy MartinRoy Ernest served in the CCC prior to his enlistment in the Army.

 

 

 

Claude Norris (Buster) GinglesClaude Gingles, married to Gladys Martin, daughter of Walter and Pearl, served in both the Army in the infantry and the Air Force as a fireman. He retired as a Staff Sgt. and had served in Germany, Panama, and the Philippines.

 

 

 

James HansonJames Hanson, son of Gladys, enlisted under aged in the Navy and was returned home.

 

 

 

GRANDSON OF SARA BAIN STOUT:

Fletcher's CablegramFletcher Adams served as an AF Captain. He was an Ace P51 Mustang Fighter Pilot of the airplane “The Southern Belle.” In Europe in the 357th Fighter Group, also known as “The Yoxford Boys”. He had married Mary Yancey and when he left for Europe, she was expecting their first child. The Southern Belle was shot down over Germany on May 30, 1944. Fletcher was able to bail out safely however he was found and killed by Nazis. Fletcher never saw his son Jerry but did receive a cablegram announcing his birth as shown in this photo.

 

 

 

 

 

Another announcement regarding Fletcher’s son’s birth is listed below.

Fletcher's son's birth

On July 24, 2010 the former one room post office that serviced Ida for many years was renamed and dedicated as the Fletcher E. Adams, USAF 357th Fighter Group Museum. The dedication included the following dignitaries: Louisiana Governor Bobby Jendal, Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover, as well as some pilots of the 357th Fighter Group. Those in attendance included pilots Gen. Frank Gailer, Jesse Frey, Joe Shea and General Chuck Yeager, crew chief Pasquale Buzzes and widows of pilots Lt. Arval “Robie” Roberson and John Sublet. Joey Maddox, son of Ida’s Mayor “Smokie” Maddox has written a book entitled Bleeding Sky, the Story of Capt. Fletcher E. Adams and the 357th Fighter Group. Much of the content of the book is based on Fletcher’s personal diary.

A lot has changed through the years since Benjamin Noel Bain and his sister moved to Ida. The drug store has long been gone as well as the dance hall, saloons, train depot, sawmill, grocery stores, plantations, hotel and the iceman. Much remains the same like the community that is dedicated to each other, the preservation of the history of its first settlers and the American Spirit.

In conclusion I would say should your travels take you through Ida, be sure to turn at the red light and visit the Fletcher E. Adams USAF 357th Fighter Group Museum. Cross the street and see the beautiful marker that lists the thirteen (13) service men out of the 150 from Ida who died in World War II. The Ida Community Center also serves as a repository for documents and miscellany of all Ida soldiers who have fought in various wars.

RayMartin's name on Monument in Ida

All Gave Some

Some Gave All

Kookie

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