The Alabama Veterans’ Museum and Archives will hold its first Militaria Show on Friday, Sept 18th from 12 pm – 7 pm and on Saturday September 19th 9am – 4pm. Our show will be held at the Limestone County Event Center, 114 W. Pryor St. across from the museum. In addition to some great military memorabilia, on Saturday we will have some very special VIPs with us. They will have books and/or photos to autograph. If you are a student, this sheet will also serve as your admission ticket, otherwise admission is $5.00 a day or 2 days for $8.00. Children under 12, Military, Police, Fire & Rescue and Re-Enactors in Uniform will recieve free admission.
Our special guests include the following:
Jerry Barksdale: Local retired trial attorney, Jerry served 7 ½ years in the 20th Special Forces with the Alabama National Guard. He has published several books and is a columnist for the Athens Courier and Athens Now. He is very active in veterans’ affairs, serving as a volunteer at the Alabama Veterans Museum and is on their board of directors.
Margret Mefford Campbell: Born in Kassel, Germany, she grew up when Hitler was in control of Germany and spent her teenage years enduring Allied bombing. Her father and uncle were drafted into the Luftwaffe, the German Air Force. Margret met her first husband, Leroy “Bobby” Mefford, when he was serving with the American Occupation Forces in Germany in 1955. They moved to Huntsville in 1958. She has been a popular volunteer at the Alabama Veterans Museum for several years.
Corporal Robert A. “Bob” Cohen: During WWII he served with the 3rd Division in North Africa helping to defeat General Rommel’s Africa Korps. He was with the 3rd Division when they landed in Sicily and drove the Nazis and Fascist Italian forces from the island. He participated in the beach landings at Anzio and Nettuno, Italy.
Corporal John R. Cotten: Served in the USMC from 1968-1972 in Company C, 1st Engineers, and 1st Marine Division as a demolition expert. He served in Vietnam as one of the very brave volunteers called “Tunnel Rats.” The Tunnel Rats were handpicked and would enter the tunnels in groups of two or three armed with only hand grenades, a pistol, a knife, and a flashlight to do battle with the enemy. He is an active member of the Marine Corps League.
Corporal Julius W. Cotten: It is with a heavy heart that I report that CPL Cotten passed away recently. He was a member of Co. A, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines known as Carlson’s Raiders. On August 17-18, 1942, they participated in the first Special Forces mission of WWII known as the Makin Raid. Carlson’s Raiders participated in another famous mission known as the Long Patrol.
John William Davis: Retired U.S. Army counterintelligence officer and linguist. After his assignment to the 101st Air Assault Division, he served in West Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands during the Cold War. There he was active in investigations directed against the Communist espionage services of the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact.
Captain Jerry W. Hill: Served his country in the U.S. Special Forces from 1958-1978. He was a member of the elite unit which made the famous raid on the North Vietnam prison camp known as Son Tay on November 21, 1970. He retired as a captain with 20 years of service. His awards and decorations include the Silver Star.
Lt. Colonel Fred Lindsey: A graduate of the U. S. Military Academy at West Point. He is the last surviving commander of CCC-SOG and tells his story in his book Secret Green Beret Commandos in Cambodia.
Lt. Colonel Ed Yeilding: On March 6, 1990, Col Yeilding set the United States coast to coast aircraft speed record, 67 minutes 54 seconds, cruising at mach 3.3, 2190 mph, in the SR-71 Blackbird. As an SR-71 instructor and test pilot, he was awarded four air medals for 93 overseas reconnaissance missions. He is in the Alabama Aviation Hall of Fame.
We would like to thank show managers Mike Criscillis, Jack Miller, and Ed Lawrence!
By: Sandra Thompson, Director, Alabama Veterans’ Museum