Major Ambort, deceased, Little Rock, U.S. Army Air Corp, WWII. Awards include the Distinguished Flying Cross with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Bronze Star Medal for exceptionally meritorious combat achievement, the Air Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with four Bronze Service Stars. The “Flying Ace’s” tally record was five airborne victories, three probable, two ground, and sunk an enemy transport in Ormoc Bay.
Lieutenant Ambort scored his first air to air victory on October 31st 1944. It took just 37 days for him to become an ace, his fifth coming on December 7th 1944. In the book fighter aces of the USA by Toliver and Constable, Lieutenant Ambor states that his most memorable victory was the Downing of a Japanese Kamikaze dive bomb attack on a destroyer evacuating wounded soldiers from the Philippines. Lieutenant Ambort and his wingman Lieutenant Hemmett from Boston, Massachusetts calculated that the P-38 was probably worth more than any destroyer, but due to the number of sick and wounded boys, he decided to ram the enemy aircraft. Trusting on luck rather than ability, he held the triggers down and when the black smoke cleared he knew the Japanese plane had been blown up just before their flight paths crossed. The gratifying waves of crutches, bandages and plaster cast signaled that this had truly been his most thrilling aerial victory.
On 17 February, 1945 Lieutenant Ambort earned his first of three Distinguished Flying Cross’. The narrative reads as follows: Lieutenant Ernest J Airport Air corps, United States Army. Extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight over the southern tip of Leyte, Philippine Islands on 5 December 1944. Lieutenant Ambort and a flight of P38 type airplanes, was covering a friendly convoy when eight enemy airplanes were sighted. Lieutenant Ambort made an attack on one, firing a short burst of fire and causing the plane to blow up. He followed this with another attack on the leading plane of two, and after a long burst which scored hits on the canopy and wings, the enemy plane went into a loose spiral to the right, smoking, and struck the water. The outstanding courage and devotion to duty displayed by Lieutenant Ambort during this flight are worthy of the highest commendation.
In October of 2018 Major Ambort was inducted into the Arkansas Aviation Historical Association Hall of Fame.
Staff Sergeant Bennett, deceased (POW), Thornburg, U.S. Army, Viet Nam. Awards include the Silver Star Medal for Gallantry in Action, and the Purple Heart Medal. On June 26, 1965, Staff Sergeant Bennett became the first American prisoner of war to be executed by the Viet Cong.
Harold Bennett was interned as a Prisoner of War in Southeast Asia after he was captured in South Vietnam on December 29, 1964 and was held until his death in captivity. He was reportedly executed for injuring one of his captors during one of his three escape attempts. His remains have never been recovered. The Silver Star for his heroic actions was belatedly presented by Senator Blanche Lincoln.
Staff Sergeant Bennett’s Silver Star narrative reads as follows: “The president of the United States, authorized by act of Congress July 9th 1918, takes pride in presenting the Silver Star (posthumously) to staff sergeant Harold George Bennett, United States Army, for gallantry in action from 29th December 1964 to 25 June 1965, while serving as a ranger advisor to the Vietnamese during the Vietnam war. On 29 December 1964, Staff Sergeant Bennett assisted two companies of the third Vietnamese ranger battalion and assaulting a powerful Viet Cong Force occupying the village of Binh Gia in Phuo Tuy Provence. In route, the Rangers were ambushed and overwhelmed by enemy forces and flooring mortars, recoilless rifles, and small-arms Fire. Staff Sergeant Bennett fearlessly Traverse the battlefield, rallying survivors and calling in support fire from American gunships in the area. On two separate occasions, staff sergeant Bennett refused extraction, electing instead to stay behind and fight. He was eventually captured by the enemy. During this time in captivity, staff sergeant Bennett planned three separate Escape attempts, the third of which resulted in his finger being bitten to the Bone by the Vietcong he was attempting to overcome. As a result of his tenacity and insubordination, staff sergeant Bennett was frequently blindfolded and beaten, given reduced rations and Shackled In solitary confinement for prolonged periods. On 25 June 1965, the Vietcong announced that they had executed staff sergeant Bennett in reprisal for the Saigon government execution of a communist terrorists. Staff sergeant Bennett's Valor and intrepidity during combat and his conspicuous courage and bravery while in captivity are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Army.”
Colonel Carlile, Paragould, U.S. Army, Afghanistan, Iraq and Kosovo. Awards include the Army Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Bronze Star with two Oak Leaf Clusters for exceptionally meritorious combat achievement, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters, the Air Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Commendation Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, and the Army Achievement Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters.
Colonel Carlile’s Army Distinguished Service Medal narrative reads as follows: “Colonel Christopher B. Carlile distinguished himself through exceptionally meritorious service over a 29 year career in positions of increasing responsibility, culminating as the Special Assistant to the Commanding General, United States Army Materiel Command. His compassionate leadership, unwavering commitment and selfless dedication are exemplified in his enumerable contributions resulting in the enhanced training and readiness of our Army. During this period of unprecedented change within our Army, he played a critical role in supporting our Nation’s warfighters both at home and in support of combat operations in Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Operation Provide Comfort, Operation Restore Hope, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Colonel Carlile’s outstanding dedication and devotion to duty are in keeping with our highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon him, the Army Material Command and the United States Army.”
Colonel Deason, Little Rock, U.S. Army. Awards include the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, the Army Commendation Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, the Army Achievement Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, the Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Arkansas National Guard Distinguished Service Medal, the Arkansas National Guard Exceptional Service Medal, and the Arkansas National Guard Commendation Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster.
Colonel Deason was awarded the Legion Of Merit on 13 February, 2013. The narrative reads as follows: For exceptionally meritorious service in positions of increasing responsibility, culminating as J1, Joint Force Headquarters, Arkansas Army National Guard. Through your outstanding leadership, demonstrated excellence and professionalism, you contributed immeasurably to the successful mission accomplished of the United States Army. You're selfless service and patriotism has been the Cornerstone of your outstanding military career. Your dedication to duty and Devotion to soldiers during the past 32 years exemplify the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon yourself, the Arkansas Army National Guard, and United States Army.
Colonel Deason was awarded the Arkansas Exceptional Service Medal on 6 September, 2014. The narrative reads as follows: In recognition for her induction into the Arkansas Army National Guard, Officers Candidate School, Hall of Fame. Through her dedication to duty, personal example and extreme professionalism, Colonel decent distinguished herself as the best of what the officer candidate School strives to produce. Colonel decent career accomplishments are an example for all officers and soldiers to emulate. Her induction to the OCS Hall of Fame will continually serve as a beacon for all who aspire to leadership in the Arkansas Army National Guard and is in keeping with the highest and most notable traditions in the United States Army
Colonel Elmer, North Little Rock, U.S. Air Force, Viet Nam. Awards include the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Legion of Merit with one Oak Leaf Cluster, the Meritorious Service Medal, and the Air Medal with ten Oak Leaf Clusters. During his 30-year career COL Elmer had over 9,000 flying hours and over 860 of those flying hours were combat time in Southeast Asia.
Major Elmer’s Distinguished Flying Cross narrative reads as follows: “Major James D Elmer distinguished himself by extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as a C-130A navigator at Cao Lanh Drop Zone Republic of Vietnam on 22nd December 1969. On that date, Major Elmer and his crew successfully extracted 70000 pound of urgently needed combat supplies utilizing the low altitude parachute extraction system. Major Elmer expertly planted the route of flight through extremely mountainous terrain and reported hostile fire areas. He then led the mission to the Drop Zone in spite of poor weather and visibility. Through Major Elmer's efforts the aircraft arrive within 4 seconds of their scheduled arrival times enabling ground Personnel to successfully recover the flies without Weiser candy. The professional competence, aerial skill, and Devotion to duty display by Major Elmer reflects great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.”
Command Sergeant Major Farley, Paragould, U.S. Army, Iraq and Kuwait. Awards include, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star for exceptionally meritorious combat achievement, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Achievement Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, and the Bronze De Fleury Medal. CSM Farley was awarded “Centurion Jump Wings” for amassing 100 military parachute jumps.
Command Sergeant Major Farley was awarded The Legion of Merit on 23 August, 200. The narrative reads as follows: “For exceptionally meritorious and honorable service from 29 January 1980 to 31 May 2001. In culmination of more than 21 years of faithful duty as Command Sergeant Major, 30th Engineer Battalion, 20th Engineer Brigade and numerous positions of increased responsibility throughout his distinguished career, Command Sergeant Major Farley consistently manifested outstanding leadership, professionalism and devotion to duty. His personal motivation and high standards of excellence ensured mission accomplishment during training, field exercises, and deployments, to include Operation Restore/Uphold Democracy and Operation Desert Shield/Storm. Command Sergeant Major Farley’s exemplary performance of duty during this last period completes a most distinguished career and is in keeping with the proudest traditions of the United States Army.”
LT. Colonel Fulmer, Fort Smith, U.S. Army, Viet Nam. Awards include the Air Medal, and the Army Commendation Medal. LTC Fulmer is the current President of the William O. Darby MOAA chapter where he has received the Distinguished Patriotic Achievement Award and the MOAA Leadership Award.
Upon retirement from United States Army in 1984, Lieutenant Colonel Fulmer completed the requirements for the Arkansas state real estate license in Arkansas State insurance license. Lieutenant Colonel Fulmer holds membership in the local American Legion chapter, the Darby chapter of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Northwestern Arkansas Veterans Coalition and MOAA National. Lieutenant Colonel Fulmer has received the MOAA National Leadership Award and the Darby MOAA Chapter Distinguished Patriotic Achievement Award. He was featured on the front page of the Southwest Times Record newspaper in the Memorial Day 2017 Edition as the keynote speaker for the National Cemetery Memorial Day Ceremony.
LT Col Gray, Fayetteville, U.S. Air Force, Viet Nam. Awards include the Bronze Star for exceptionally meritorious combat achievement, the Air Force Commendation Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, and the Meritorious Service Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster. LTC Gray’s civilian awards include the Kiwanis Club Community Leadership award, the Lions Club Dalstrom Award, and the Fayetteville Exchange Club Community Leadership Award.
LT Col Gray began his military service serving as air control squadron commander in Vietnam, director of The Air National Guard recruiting program in the Pentagon, and as an advisor to the commander-in-chief, United States Air Force. After retiring from the US Air Force in 1994 LT Col Gray initially served as military advisor for then-congressman (now Arkansas governor) Asa Hutchinson during his time in the US House of Representatives. LT Col Gray then went to work for then-congressman (now Senator) John Boozman's office as a “jack of all trades” serving as military liaison, assisting the office staff field questions about veterans issues and most notably serving as a contact between veterans and the Department of Veterans Affairs in helping to file medical benefit claims. LT Col Gray most lauded work extended to the effort he plays into a medal presentation ceremony that Senator Boozman's office conducted across the state to honor Arkansas Veterans for the military service; it is estimated that LT Col Gray conducted nearly 900 ceremonies, personalizing each one to its respective veteran. After 17 years LT Col Gray retired from Senator Bozeman's office in January 2015. However, he did not stop serving or working to assist Arkansas veterans or his local community. He has volunteered his time with the following Civic and veteran service organizations polling Kiwanis Club, Lions Club, Fayetteville Exchange Club, American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce, Fayetteville autumnfest committee, NWA Veterans Day Association, singing men of Arkansas, Veteran's Health Care system of the Ozarks, Military Officers Association of America, and the Fayetteville National Cemetery advisory Council.
Major McKennon, deceased, Clarksville, U.S. Army Air Corp, WWII. Awards include the Distinguished Flying Cross with four Oak Leaf Clusters, the Air Medal with sixteen Oak Leaf Clusters, the Purple Heart Medal, and the Croix de Guerre. The Flying Ace destroyed twenty Germany aircraft. He was shot down by flak on two different occasions and made it back to friendly lines.
Mac McKennon was born on November 30, 1919, in Clarksville, Arkansas. He enlisted in the Aviation Cadet Program of the U.S. Army Air Forces on February 10, 1941, but washed out of flight training two months later and was discharged from the Army Air Forces. McKennon then went to Canada and enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force on May 9, 1941, and again attended flight training, earning his pilot wings on December 14, 1941. Sgt McKennon deployed to England in January 1942, and trained with No 61 Operational Training Unit and with an Eagle Squadron flying Spitfires before resigning his commission with the Royal Canadian Air Force on November 23, 1942. He was then commissioned a 2d Lt in the U.S. Army Air Forces on November 25, 1942, and he joined the 335th Fighter Squadron of the 4th Fighter Group in England flying Spitfires, P-47 Thunderbolts, and later P-51 Mustangs, in February 1943. Maj McKennon was credited with the destruction of 11 enemy aircraft in aerial combat, 2.5 damaged in the air, and 9.68 destroyed on the ground while strafing enemy airfields between July 1943 and April 1945. During this time he was shot down by flak on two different occasions and made it back to friendly lines. After the war in Europe ended, Maj McKennon joined the 368th Fighter Group on Occupation Duty in Germany until he returned to the United States in May 1946. His next assignment was as an instructor pilot at Williams Field, Arizona, and then at Randolph Field, Texas, where he was killed in a flight training accident on June 18, 1947. Mac McKennon was buried at the Forest Park Cemetery in Fort Smith, Arkansas.
Sergeant Major Martz, Batesville, U.S. Army, Afghanistan and Iraq. Awards include the Army Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star for exceptionally meritorious combat achievement, the Meritorious Service Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, the Army Commendation Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, the Joint Service Achievement Medal, and the Army Achievement Medal.
Sergeant Major Martz was awarded The Legion of Merit on 28 October, 2009. The narrative reads as follows: “For exceptionally distinguished service while serving as Army Reserve, G-1 Sergeant Major from 27 June 2005 to 27 August 2009. His tireless dedication to duty, unparalleled professionalism, extraordinary depth of knowledge, and superb leadership were vital to the success of the Army Reserve. His exceptional organizational skills, mission focused guidance, and mentorship enabled the Army Reserve to become the strongest in our history. Through efforts he employed to streamline personnel management processes, the Army Reserve was able to achieve its Congressional End Strength Object of 206,000 in March 2009, a full four years ahead of projections. Sergeant Major Martz’s performance of duty is in keeping with the highest traditions of military service, and reflects great credit upon him, the United States Army Reserve and the United States Army.”
First Sergeant Nash Jr., Jonesboro, U.S. Army, Viet Nam and Desert Storm. Awards include the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, and the Army Achievement Medal. 1SG Nash’s management and mentoring skills stimulated the morale of his soldiers which developed motivation and greater productivity for his unit.
First sergeant Nash is a two-time combat veteran, he served with “boots on the ground” in Vietnam assigned to an army unit while he was in the Air Force. He also served in Desert Storm while in the Army and was injured when his helicopter crashed and sent him to the hospital his injuries were severe enough to mandate retirement. After retirement he has looked for opportunities to assist veterans throughout Northeast Arkansas. He has provided for veterans from his own pocket and supported many veteran organizations. First Sergeant Nash agreed to serve on the committee to develop the Veteran’s Court in the Second Judicial District and then as a volunteer coordinator for mentors. He had to recruit veterans, went to national training at his own expense, and worked with the court weekly to assist Veterans. As part of his disabled American Veterans commitment, First Sergeant Nash sought funding to support the hospice program in Northeast Arkansas. This funding is provided with statues appropriate to a Veteran’s service and certificate in a presentation to the Veteran and family this program has been expanded to veterans that are on home hospice. First Sergeant Nash has encouraged the Masonic Lodge to support local veterans by volunteering and supporting a Veteran’s Day room at Arkansas State University with monthly coffee service and snacks.
Major General Paulson II, Little Rock, U.S. Army, Deputy Commanding General (Reserve Component) Fifth United States Army. Awards include the Army Distinguished Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal with the hourglass device, and the Army Aviator Badge.
Walter A Paulson was born in Hot Springs and attended Hot Springs High School graduating with the class of 1966. He graduated from the University of Arkansas in 1970 with a BS degree in English/History , the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 1979 with Juris doctorate and the Army War College in 1997. Major General Paulson began his military career as an ROTC Cadet at the University of Central Arkansas and was commissioned in May 1970. He entered active service with the United States Army in September 1970 where he served as a Field Artillery Information Officer, Rotary Wing Pilot, Helicopter Section Commander, and Race Relations Officer. He left active Army in February 1975 and entered the Arkansas Army National Guard in May of that year. Major General Poulsen held numerous command and staff assignments including to Battalion commands in command of the 39th infantry Brigade "The Arkansas Brigade” , before assuming the position as Deputy Commanding General (Reserve Component) Fifth United States Army. Major General Paulsen assumed duties as Deputy Commanding General (Reserve Component) Fifth United States Army on 4 January 2001. But for this, he was the deputy Commander, state area command, Arkansas Army National Guard. He retired from military service in 2005. In his civilian occupation he served as an associate general counsel, labor employee benefits, Entergy Services, Incorporated. Of New Orleans Louisiana and as a franchise owner of Pillar To Post Home Inspections of Little Rock Arkansas. He is currently listed among the best lawyers in America and serves on the board of several organizations in Arkansas and the Southern United States.
Colonel Underwood, U.S. Air Force, Viet Nam. Awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, and the Air Force Commendation Medal. Colonel Underwood has over 4,000 flying hours and 600 Combat hours.
Colonel Underwood started his life in Harrison Arkansas. After High School, David went to college in Northeastern Oklahoma A&M and Oklahoma State University. He graduated with a bachelor in music education degree, a commission as a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force in order to Pilot training. Based in the Philippines, Colonel Underwood spent the next two and a half years blank c-130s in Vietnam. He next spent eight years flying c-130s worldwide from Dyess Air Force Base Abilene Texas. After promotion to Major, he was sent to the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey California for a master's degree in National Security and international Affairs. This was followed by an assignment as air attache for the 16 countries of West Africa. This led to a job in the Pentagon working for the Chief of Staff USAF followed by a tour on The Joint Chiefs of Staff where he worked in policy and planning for Desert Storm and was the chief military negotiator for ending the war in Angola. Colonel Underwood retired from the Air Force in 1994 as a colonel with over 4000 flying hours and 600 combat hours. At the request of the United Nations, he went to Bahrain and Iraq to help the UN destroy Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. In 1997 Governor Mike Huckabee asked him to join his staff as a political adviser. He retired from the state in 2008.
LT Colonel White, deceased, Jonesboro, U.S. Army, Viet Nam. Awards include the Meritorious Service Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, the Army Commendation Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Achievement Medal, and the Reserve Component Achievement Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster. In June of 2007, he retired a Doctor of Philosophy in Speech Communication and was recognized as an Arkansas State University President's Fellows. In 2010, LTC White was one of five founding Board Members and served as the Deputy Director of the Arkansas Military Veterans’ Hall of Fame. He was also an active member in the Disabled American Veterans, Chapter 26, Jonesboro.
During his Vietnam tour he did combat patrols with first platoon, Fox company, 2nd Squadron, 11th ACR and Echo company; 14th Infantry Brigade. He served in the active reserve from 1967 - 1997 where he commanded the 318th Military Intelligence Detachment and the 343rd Public Affairs Detachment and served on the general staff of the 122nd Army Reserve command and the 90th Readiness Reserve command. He was discharged on April 1997 at Camp Pike Arkansas with the rank of lieutenant colonel. he worked as an associate professor and department chair, Department of communication, Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, and retired in June 2007 after 34 years of commitment to ASU. He served as president of the ASU faculty Senate, Phi Kappa Delta officer, and president of Arkansas communication and Theater Arts Association.
Lieutenant Colonel White was one of the five founding members and the deputy director of the Arkansas Military Veterans Hall of Fame. With the Disabled American Veterans, Chapter 26 Jonesboro; Lieutenant Colonel White served as the chapter Judge Advocate joining in 2009 and was active on the grievance, finance and scholarship committees. He was instrumental in relocating the local DAV to the ASU Campus. With the employer support of the guard and Reserve; Lieutenant Colonel White participated in this organization for approximately 10 years which recognized supervisors for supporting guard and Reserve employees. Army Reserve Ambassador; the volunteer position was equivalent to a 2 Star General and Lieutenant Colonel White actively participated for six years beginning in 2001. The ARA was established to promote awareness of the Army Reserve and the identified goals and objectives of the chief of Army Reserve. Veterans of Foreign Wars; Lieutenant Colonel White was a lifetime member of the VFW for approximately 20 years. Military Officers Association of America; Lieutenant Colonel White served as the Northeast Arkansas MOAA Chapter as Director.
Chief Warrant Officer 4 Womack, Camden, U.S. Army, Viet Nam (three tours). Awards include the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star Medal for exceptionally meritorious combat achievement, the Purple Heart, twenty-five Air Medals, and the Army Commendation Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters. In addition to achieving Pilot status in all the US Army’s helicopters (Rotary Wing) from 1955 to 1978, Chief Womack also piloted all the US Army’s fixed wings as well.
Chief Womack obtained all of the necessary training, in addition to personal studies to achieve the goals he set for himself to become a pilot in the US Army. his Aviation training began at Fort Sill Oklahoma then moved to what is now known as the home of Army Aviation Fort Rucker Alabama. He was stationed at Fort Rucker as it transformed into the aviation training post that it has become. His training began from the ground up, with the creation, maintenance, operation, two modifications and on to instructor training. Chief Womack held himself to the highest standards. Over the passing years, two for Mick was transferred back to Fort Rucker as his skills and training advanced. While serving his country during wartime in Vietnam he saw firsthand the need for more efficient and advanced gunships to aid in the landing zones while deploying and recovering troops. With this in mind he developed and designed the machine gun system “Old Ironsides Kit” to be put on the servicing helicopters for the close air support that was needed; this was followed by a rocket system as well. Chief Womack served three tours in Vietnam as a helicopter pilot. He received a Purple Heart during this time in addition to achieving Pilot status in all of the US Army's helicopters from 1955 to 1978, Chief Warmack also piloted all of the Army's fixed wings as well. Chief Womack makes military awards are a testament to his commitment to his military career dedication to the US Army