Class of 2015
General James Terry Conway of Walnut Ridge, 34th Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps. Retired as a Four Star General after 40 years of service starting in 1972. His many decorations include 3 awards of the Nation’s highest military service medal-the Defense Distinguished Service Medal. He commanded the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force during 2 combat tours in Iraq.
Lt. Colonel Farris Dean Fortner, deceased, of Benton flew 100 combat missions during the Korean War as a member of the Arkansas Air National Guard’s 154th Fighter Bomber Squadron where he earned the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal.
Staff Sergeant Larry Rea Graves of Harrisburg earned the Distinguished Flying Cross and 4 awards of the Air Medal while serving in the Vietnam war as an Air Force C-123 Loadmaster.
Sergeant First Class Mike Wade Gunnels, deceased, of Magnolia served over 39 years in the Army and earned a Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart Medal for combat wounds, and an Air Medal during the Vietnam war.
Technical Sergeant Sterling Tatum Hendricks, deceased, of Little Rock flew 49 combat missions in Europe and 50 combat missions in the Pacific during World War II as a B-24 Gunner and Aerial Photographer. Decorations include the Silver Star Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart Medal for combat wounds and 8 awards of the Air Medal.
Captain Field Eugene Kindley, deceased, of Gravette earned 2 awards of the Distinguished Flying Cross for extraordinary heroism in 1918 during World War I and ranked 3rd in the number of enemy aircraft downed with 12 confirmed kills. Arkansas’ only Air Ace of World War I.
Master Sergeant David Alan MAJOR of Alma earned the Bronze Star Medal for valor during the first Gulf War (Desert Storm) as an Army Combat Medic and earned 4 awards of the Meritorious Service Medal during his 20 years career in the Army.
First Sergeant Charles Eugene Rodgers of Little Rock earned 2 awards of the Bronze Star Medal for valor during multiple tours in Vietnam as well as the Purple Heart Medal for combat wounds as well as the Air Medal. He retired from the Army after 23 years of active service.
Lt. Colonel William Jerome Sidebottom of Hot Springs served multiple tours in Vietnam earning the Silver Star Medal for gallantry, four awards of the Purple Heart Medal for combat wounds and four awards of the Meritorious Service Medal during his Army career.
Colonel Timothy Ray Williams of Harrisburg served over three decades as an Army Special Forces Officer including combat tours in Iraq and Somalia. Decorations include two awards of the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, four awards of the Bronze Star Medal and a Purple Heart Medal for combat wounds.
Staff Sergeant Warren D. Blaylock of Alma earned two Bronze Star Medals during World War II as a combat Medic. He is a Charter member of the National World War II museum, received the Bronze Leader award for service to disabled veterans, the Sertoma Service to Mankind award, and numerous Crawford county Rotary Club service awards.
Brigadier General Donald Dalton, deceased, of Mayflower served 42 years in the Air Force and Arkansas Air National Guard. He was Commander of the Arkansas Air National Guard 1991-1999 and earned the Legion of Merit. Command Pilot with over 2,000 flying hours. President of the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association. Chairman Selection Committee Arkansas Military Veterans’ Hall of Fame 2011-2015.
First Lieutenant John Thomas Fincher, deceased, of Waldo earned four Air Medals as a B-17 Pilot during World War II. He was instrumental in preserving Arkansas World War II history through his volunteer work with the Arkansas Educational Television Network.
Lt. Colonel Teddy Wayne Pylant, deceased, of Jonesboro earned the Bronze Star Medal for service during the Vietnam War. He served over 34 years in the Arkansas National Guard and with the National Guard Bureau. He was a lifetime member of American Legion, VFW, and Disabled Veterans of America as well as a noted leader in Craighead county Veterans issues.
First Lieutenant Wendell Lee Griffen of Little Rock earned an Army Commendation Medal and Parachutist badge as a Field Artillery/ Race Relations Officer. He is a noted activist for social justice, Pastor, and Circuit Judge of the 5th Division, 6th Judicial District of Arkansas. He was the first person of color to become a partner in a major Arkansas law firm.