President Van Deacon called the meeting to order.
Past State Color Guard Commander James Stone led the Color Guard in the presenting of the colors. Participating in the color guard were Stone, Dave Whaley, Sam Allen and Doug Carpenter in period Continental or militia dress.
Eddie Cartwright gave the invocation, Van Deacon led the pledge to the U.S. flag, Colin Wakefield led the pledge to the Tennessee flag, and Tommy McLain led the SAR flag pledge.
Several guests were in attendance that were introduced and recognized, including Bill Bartle, Chris Herron, George Martin, Steve Crump, Bob Milam, Glen and Kay Martin, Ed and Vickie Lay and Tennessee Society State President Colin Wakefield, who spoke briefly.
A new regular member, Rufus Morgan Triplett, was inducted into the chapter by Stan Evans, and his membership certificate and Society rosette was presented to him by President Van Deacon and Stan Evans.
A new junior member, Jefferson Davis Morelock V, was conducted by Stan Evans. There are now three Jefferson Davis Morelocks in the chapter; III, IV and V. Jeff and Kathy Morelock were in attendance to receive the Junior Membership certificate for their grandson.
Jeff said his grandson was unable attend since he was only 15 months old, and this was his napping time.
A special Memorial member was next inducted into the Col. Benjamin Cleveland Chapter posthumously by former National Vice President General Stan Evans. This special memorial member was Paul B. Huff, Bradley County’s only Congressional Medal of Honor recipient. This is the only Memorial member in the Tennessee Society of the SAR. What this membership means is that Paul B. Huff will be a member of the Col. Benjamin Cleveland Chapter as long as there is a chapter and after all current members have long passed away.
Paul B. Huff’s Medal of Honor citation was read by chapter historian, John Conner. President Deacon asked for an acclamation of Paul Huff, with Dave Whaley responding and the chapter voting unanimously making him a new member.
The citation reads as follows: “The President of the United States in the name of the Congress takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Huff, Paul B.; rank and organization: Corporal, U.S. Army, 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion; place and date: Near Carano, Italy, 8 February, 1944; entered service at: Cleveland, Tenn.; birth: Cleveland, Tenn., G. O. No: 41, 26 May 1944.
“For conspicuous and gallantry and intrepidity at risk above and beyond the call of duty, in action on Feb. 8, near Carano, Italy. Cpl. Huff volunteered to lead a six-man patrol with the mission of determining the location and strength of an enemy unit which was delivering fire on the exposed, right flank of his company.
The terrain over which he had to travel consisted of exposed, rolling ground, affording the enemy excellent visibility. As the patrol advanced, its members were subjected to small arms and machine gun fire, and a concentration of mortar fire, shells bursting within five to ten yards of them and bullets striking the ground at their feet.
Moving ahead of his patrol, Cpl. Huff drew fire from three enemy machineguns and a 20 mm. weapon. Realizing the danger confronting his patrol, he advanced alone under deadly fire through a minefield and arrived at a point within 75 yards of the nearest machine gun position. Under direct fire from the rear machine gun, he crawled the remaining 75 yards to the closest emplacement, killed the crew with his submachine gun and destroyed the gun. During this act he fired from a kneeling position, which drew fire from the other positions, enabling him to estimate correctly the strength and location of the enemy. Still under concentrated fire, he returned to his patrol and led his men to safety.
As a result of the information he gained, a patrol in strength sent out that afternoon, one group under the leadership of Cpl. Huff, 21 others, with a loss of only three patrol members. Cpl. Huff’s intrepid leadership and daring combat skill reflect the finest traditions of the American infantryman.”
Stan Evans next presented a National Society World War II Corps award posthumously to Paul B. Huff. This award is a certificate which recognizes him as a Medal of honor recipient and is a special memorial Certificate of Patriotism. The certificate is presented for “meritorious service during World War II while serving in the United States Armed Forces. This conspicuous performance of duty represents exemplary patriotism in the finest traditions of the United States Armed Forces and reflects great credit upon the recipient, the Military Service, and the Sons of the American Revolution.”
Then, President Van Deacon presented the NSSAR War Service Medal posthumously to memorial member Paul B. Huff for his service in World War II and in the Vietnam War. This award is presented to any member who served in the armed forces of the United States and fought against common enemy of the United States in a war or action for which a campaign medal and ribbon are authorized.
Members of the Paul Huff family that were present for the ceremony included David May, a nephew and Mrs. Dale Dixon, a niece. None of Paul Huff’s children: Paul Jr., Dawn or Dona were able to attend. A memorial membership certificate of Paul Huff was presented to the family, while the framed Memorial membership certificate, the framed World War II Corps certificate, and the War Service Medal and certificate will be added to the permanent Paul Huff exhibit at the Museum Center at Five Points.
Two Liberty Medals were presented for both Eddie Moreland and William May. Both were unable to attend the meeting, so the awards will be taken to them. The Liberty Medal commemorates the restoration of the statue of Liberty in the late 80s and is presented for recruiting new members into the SAR. This is a National Society award and is presented annually at the National Congress (convention). It is awarded to any member who signed as the top-line signer the membership application of 10 new members.
Also at the National Congress, two chapter members were recognized for their outstanding support of the Center for Advancing America’s Heritage, which is a foundation set up to finance Phases two and three of the new NSSAR Headquarters building in Louisville KY. The two recipients of the Lamplighter Award were James R. May Sr. and Calvin C. Williams.
Past chapter president Tommy McLain next presented a framed tapestry from his church, New Prospect Presbyterian Church, which has 59 names embroidered on it, of the members of that church that served overseas during World War II. It was completed shortly after the war. Paul Huff’s name is on it. The elders of the church agreed to have Tommy bring it to the meeting and let it be put on display at the Paul Huff exhibit at the Museum Center at Five Points.
President Deacon next recessed the meeting for a fine dinner and socializing.
The meeting was called back into session by President Deacon, and 2nd Vice President Bob George introduced the program for the evening, which included Jim Wade and George Davenport, both former US Army officers that grew up in Chattanooga area. They are representatives of the National Medal of Honor Museum of Military History inside Northgate Mall in Chattanooga.
Their program covered the history of the Medal of Honor medals and told about the museum. During the Revolutionary War, in 1782, General George Washington first gave a cloth Badge of Merit which was sewn on, but it wasn’t until the Civil War that the first Medal of Honor appeared. And it was the Chattanooga area that was the backdrop for the actions that led to the very first Medal of Honor.
This was through the actions of the Andrews Raiders under James Andrews, during the Great Locomotive chase, that resulted in a total of 19 Medals of Honor being awarded. Four of these recipients are buried in the Chattanooga National Cemetery. Of all the battles in the Chattanooga area, including Missionary Ridge, Lookout Mountain, Chickamauga and others, there were a total of 32 Medals of Honor awarded. Of the more than 3,400 total recipients of the Medal, only 78 are still living. Col. Bud Day, a recipient, just passed away last week.
The museum is just such a place that the stories of these real heroes can be told. One such story was told about a certain Medal of Honor recipient, Henry “Red” Irwin from Adamsville, Ala., who was a radio operator in a B29 bomber in the Pacific during World War II, when a phosphorus flare went off during flight inside the plane. To save the aircraft and crew, not thinking about his own welfare, he grabbed the blazing phosphorus flare and ran with it tucked into his chest to the cockpit, where he was able to throw it out of a window, saving lives of the entire crew. With very, very severe 3rd degree burns, the plane landed at Iwo Jima to get immediate treatment for Irwin. He was in such bad shape that General Curtis Lemay awarded the Medal of Honor to him there, knowing that he would soon die. But after 41 surgeries, Irwin survived and died in 2002.
A second purpose of the museum is to educate the younger generations through these Medal of Honor experiences. One such means is the Character Development Program consisting of a training package of 46 lesson plans that have been developed by the Medal of Honor Foundation. This package has already received a positive response from local schools and Junior-ROTC staff members.
All were encouraged to visit and support the museum in Chattanooga and visit their website at www.mohm.org. The museum’s mission statement is “to share in the remembrance of American Military service personnel and educate present and future generations about the extraordinary sacrifices made by these gallant men and women”.
Phyllis Carter, wife of dual member Jim Carter from the John Sevier chapter, spoke on a special DAR project that she is chairing concerning a book that they will be publishing on “the great grandmothers who lived in Tennessee before 1851”. She encouraged all members to send her information on their great-grandmothers so that it may be included in this future book.
Chapter members Stan Evans and Claude Hardison attended the 123rd National Congress of the Sons of the American Revolution in Kansas City, MO., July 6-10. The Col. Benjamin Cleveland Chapter received several national awards there that were brought back. State president-elect Hardison presented one of these awards to the chapter at this meeting which was the Partners in Patriotism certificate. The others were the above-mentioned personal chapter member awards.
David Davis, also a member, received his attended War Service Medal for his military service in Desert Storm and Desert Shield. Also, a Bronze Good Citizenship Medal will be sent to Sam Allen for service to the chapter in 2012.
Several chapter members — Claude Hardison, James Stone, and honorary member John Echerd —attended the Battle of Ramseur’s Mill celebration this year in Lincolnton, N.C., on June 22. Grave dedications of several of John Echerd’s Revolutionary Patriots were conducted in a nearby county during the trip.
On Aug. 1, chapter members Stan Evans and James Stone attended the John Sevier chapter (SAR) quarterly meeting in Chattanooga, where World War II Medal of honor recipient Charles H. Coolidge of Hamilton County was the guest of honor, and his son, Lt. Gen. Charles H. Coolidge Jr. was the guest speaker.
Evans and Stone had inspiring conversations with Coolidge Sr., including him telling when he attended fellow Medal of Honor Paul B. Huff’s wedding in Fort Oglethorpe in 1945 and checking to see if Charles Coolidge, Sr. would be able to attend the Col. Benjamin Cleveland Chapter’s meeting the following week honoring his friend, Paul B. Huff.
With no further business, President Van Deacon proceeded to close the meeting, with Deacon leading the Recessional and chaplain Eddie Cartwright delivering the benediction. The closing gavel was struck, and the meeting was adjourned.