Category Archives: Military

Military Monday: Donald Ray Hemperley, USAF 18574020

Don, as he preferred, was the second child of Raymond and Sybol O’Pry Hemperley.  He arrived a jaundiced baby born on August 18, 1941 in Vivian, Louisiana.  Growing up on a 60 acre farm near Gilliam, he was a precocious child who often ran away from home to play with his imaginary family that lived just across the levee.  Many were the times his mother, with switch in hand, would cross that levee to retrieve him. When asked where he had been he would speak of visiting his fantasy wife and children who lived across the levee.

Don Hemperley 1st grade

First Grade

Don attended grammar school in Belcher, Louisiana. By high school, a new consolidate school had been built in Vivian and he was among the graduation class of the first four full years of the school. Don could have been an honors student for he was a very intelligent person. Often work on the farm, work after school at a gas station in Gilliam, or his antics got in the way. During his senior year he was suspended for three days for smoking on campus. He was also reprimanded for singing and dancing in the hallways while classes were going on.
Don Hemperley soph

Sophomore Year

Following his graduation he knew he did not want the farm life anymore and enlisted the United States Air Force on July 22, 1959 in Shreveport, Louisiana. His basic training was at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. As basic training does for so many young enlistees, he went in a scrawny teen and came out a well chiseled mature adult male!
Don at Boot Camp, San Antonio, Tx Sept. 1959
Basic Training at Lackland Air Force Base

From San Antonio he was sent to Indiana University at Bloomington to become a Russian Linguist. His studies included not only the language but also the history and culture of Russia. From the first day of class his professors spoke only in Russian; wrote only in Russian; and expected the soldiers in the class to learn and excel in all things Russian. Not all students graduated (one even committed suicide) as it was an intense degree of studies.

Don Hemperley AF photo at Indiana U
Student I D for Bloomington University

Don Hemperley at Indiana U 1960
On Campus at Indiana University

August 6, 1960 Don returned home and we were married that night at the Belcher Baptist Church. After a short leave we headed to Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, Texas where he was to attend crypto-logic and intelligence training school. Did I ask what all that meant? Heavens no! We were too busy celebrating our recent marriage and starting our married lives. Besides, it didn’t matter to me just as long as we were together.

Don at San Angelo 1960
 Airman 2nd Class, San Angelo, Texas

By New Year’s Day of 1960 I was expecting our first child and Don was boarding a plane for a fifteen month tour of duty at the 6986th Wakkanai Air Station located on the northern most point of Hokkaido, Japan. Being the linguist he was he soon picked up the Japanese language and was able to communicate with the locals. He loved the food as well as the people in Wakkanai. Off time was spent writing letters home, visiting orphanages and at the Club Walk’N I NCO club where he was on the Board of Governors.

Don, Waikini 1961
Wakkanai Japan 1961

In April 1962 Don returned stateside and met our eleven month son Steve for the first time. We packed our little black 1950 Ford and headed to his next assignment at the National Security Agency located at Fort George G. Meade near Laurel, Maryland. I knew Don had a high level security clearance, but NSA?

The Cuban Missile Crisis took place during the time we were in Maryland and I can remember Don working long hours and being very concerned. Of course, I had no idea of what his job entailed, but the reality of the crisis set in when I drove to work and there were few cars on the road. The shopping center, which was usually bustling, was desolate. The air was tense as most everyone was waiting for President Kennedy’s next news conference.

On July 19, 1963 Don’s enlistment was up and we returned to Louisiana. Our daughter Kelly was born in September and we settled into a life far from the fast paced Air Force one Don loved. He soon became a partner in an insurance agency and was a Junior Warden as well as Master of the Belcher Masonic Lodge. He was instrumental in incorporating Gilliam as a Village and served as its first Village Clerk. He was a jokester, a loving father and husband, generous and a good friend to everyone.

Many many years later in life he mentioned his time in the Air Force and I asked, “Now just what was it that you did while wearing those Air Force blues?” He replied with that precocious smile, “I spoke to Russians flying their planes over water near Hokkaido and they didn’t know I was an American. I also decoded and transcribed top secrets while at NSA.” I rolled my eyes and thought, there he goes again; pulling those same tricks much like he did on his mother about his fantasy family. So was he was telling the truth or not? I suppose I will never know for sure.

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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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