Class of 2011
WILLIAM ORLANDO DARBY earned the Distinguished Sendee Cross twice, the Silver Star Medal, Legion of Merit, and three Purple Hearts among many decorations. He is famous for his daring exploits and tough training regimen as the leader of the 1st Ranger Battalion during World War II which served as the forerunner for the modern day Rangers.
WILLIAM LEON RUSSELL earned 8 Purple Hearts during World War II as well as the Silver Star Medal and the Bronze Star Medal in fighting against both the Japanese and Germans. He is the only Arkansan to ever earn 8 Purple Hearts.
JAMES LINDBERG HUGHES served in the Navy in WWII and in the Air Force in Vietnam where he fought as a F105 Fighter Pilot. He earned 3 awards of the Distinguished Flying Cross, 4 awards of the Air Medal, the Bronze Star Medal and two Purple Hearts. He was a Prisoner of War in North Vietnam from 1967-1973.
BERNARD DUNN earned two Distinguished Flying Crosses as a Navy fighter Pilot in the Pacific during World War II. He was an Ace Pilot who also earned four Air Medals and is honored in the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida.
DONALD ERIVAN GRIGG served two tours in Vietnam as an infantry Officer and earned the Silver Star Medal, Bronze Star Medal, and two Purple Hearts.
WALKER EUGENE CONRAD served in the Army Air Force as an aerial gunner on B-24's during World War II in the European theater. He was shot down on his 31st mission and was a German prisoner of war for 79 days. He earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Purple Heart medal, and three awards of the air medal.
ORIE FELTON MORGAN earned the Bronze Star Medal for heroism, a Purple Heart for combat wounds, and a Presidential Unit Citation as a Marine Medic during World War II in the battles for Saipan, Tinian and Iwo Jima.
MARK DOUGLAS DIGGS earned the Bronze Star Medal, two Purple Hearts for combat wounds, two Valorous Unit Awards, and the Vietnam Service Medal with 3 Campaign stars as an Artillery Lieutenant in Vietnam during 1971. He served as a Forward Observer, Fire Direction Officer and Battery Executive Officer. William J. Shkurti, University of Kansas Press, profiled his military action in the book “Soldiering On in a Dying War”.
RUSSELL HANFORD DOWDEN, JR., served 30 years and earned the Silver Star Medal for gallantry in action in Vietnam in 1965 as an Artillery Forward Observer where he was wounded and received a Purple Heart. During his career he earned the Defense Superior Service Medal and two awards of the Legion of Merit. He also served in the First Gulf War and is a member of the US Army Finance Regiment Hall of Fame.
JAMES CLINTON JOHNSON served 30 years in the Army. During his career he earned the Bronze Star medal for service in Vietnam and a Legion of Merit. He was a member of American Legion Post 31, the Van Buren Lions Club, Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 467, and was the founder of the uniform license plate honoring Arkansas veterans.
JERRY WAYNE BOWEN served 2 tours in Vietnam during his Army career and earned two awards of the Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star medal. Following retirement he was appointed Secretary for Memorial Affairs in the VA and is also the only Arkansan to have served as a National Director of the Military Officer's Association of America.
FREEMAN HARRISON OWENS was a Marine Sergeant during World War I and served in France as a motion picture cameraman. He was a pioneer in military motion pictures. He invented the synchronization of motion and sound for movie making. He invented the 70MM Movie Camera, patented 3-D technology, and patented the AC. Nielsen Rating system. During the 1950s he created 150-degree photography known today as panorama. He had over 200 patents in the field of motion pictures.
BURNICE EDWARD ROSE served 25 years in the US Army from 1943 to 1968 and fought in both World War II and Vietnam. He was an Infantry Platoon Sergeant in World War II and saw action in the Pacific in the battles for New Guinea, Southern Philippines, and Luzon. He earned two Bronze Star Medals and a Purple Heart for combat wounds. In Vietnam he earned two awards of the Air Medal flying AH-1G Cobra gunships. As a civilian he served a career as a Test Pilot for Bell Helicopter. He was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, and a charter member of the National World War II Museum.
LEX EDWARD " BUTCH " DAVIS earned the Bronze Star Medal, Combat Infantryman's Badge and the Purple Heart for severe wounds sustained as an Infantryman in Vietnam in 1969. Those wounds left him with very limited use of his legs and arms and a 100% VA disability rating. He is a former Sherwood Alderman, VFW Commander, Co-organizer of the Wheel Chair Olympics, Sherwood Volunteer of the Year, Honorary Commander Little Rock Air Force Base, and Arkansas National Guard Community Council member among his many service organizations.
ANDY FARRIS ALDRIDGE served as a Marine Corps machine gun¬ner in the Korean War where he was severely wounded earning the Purple Heart, Korean Service medal, and the United Nations medal. He has a 100% disability rating from the VA but has been active in the Disabled American Veterans, American Legion, VFW, and the Military Order of the Purple Heart. He served on the committee that planned and constructed the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Little Rock.