By Old Uncle Gib
Fourth of July always brings to mind those who have gone into service for our nation, and some who received special recognition for valor. In World War I, two local men received the U.S. Army Distinguished Service Cross (DSC), second highest military service award, for actions in the same engagement as Milo Lemert, who was awarded the posthumous Congressional Medal of Honor. These men were Litton Thurman and Henry Johnson, whose certificates read as follows:
The DSC is presented to Litten T. Thurman, Sergeant, U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action near Bellicourt, France, September 29, 1918. When all the officers of his company had become casualties, Sergeant Thurman reorganized the company, extricated it from a dangerous position, and, with coolness and courage, led the command forward throughout the day, with few other men, he faced heavy machine-gun and grenade fire to charge an enemy emplacement. General Orders # 81 W.D. 1919 Hometown: Crossville, TN.
The DSC is presented to Henry Johnson, Private First Class, U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action near Bellicourt, France, September 29, 1918. After his platoon had been halted by unusually heavy fire from machine-gun nests, Private Johnson made his way forward and by the effective use of hand grenades killed the occupants of the nest and made possible the continuance of the advance.
General Orders #50 W. D. 1919; Home Town: Creston, TN.
On July 12, 1973, a fire at the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) destroyed approximately 16-18 million Official Military Personnel Files, including 80 percent of the Army files from Nov. 1, 1912, to Jan. 1, 1960. No duplicate nor microfilm copies were ever produced, and no indexes, therefore it is very difficult to find these records unless they have been protected by family members.
Proof of honorable service must be given in order to place a U.S. flag on the coffin of a service person. All service personnel were urged to record their discharge certificate at the courthouse and, if this has been done, the record should be there if you cannot locate it at home. Do your best to protect any service records you may have. God bless America!
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Old Uncle Gib is a weekly historical feature published each Friday. Old Uncle Gib is a pseudonym that was used by S.C. Bishop, who founded the Chronicle in 1886. Bishop actively published the Chronicle until 1948.