Honoring Our Heros
February 1, 2020 | View PDF
Adrian Jack Lively ~ 79
Adrian Jack Lively served 20 years in the U. S. Air Force as a radar technician and as an air-traffic controller. During 11.5 years of that service, he served four overseas tours including three remote, two in combat zones and one accompanying tour which allowed his family to go with him. Lively’s conclusions about his service to his country via the U. S. Air Force are, “It was this to me. I grew up in a military family. My dad was discharged from the U. S. Army after becoming disabled in 1944, and I had two uncles who served in the U. S. Army in WWII. I love my country. The military training offered much to me as a way out of the dead-end job in mining.”
Lively was born in Birmingham, AL, March 2, 1940, to his parents Garland O. Lively and Maxine Lovell. He lived in Walker County, AL, and he attended 13 different schools because of his father’s disability resulting in his having to seek various means of supporting his family such as coal mining and produce peddling. He attended high school in Cordova, Al, completing his GED.
Lively volunteered to serve in the U. S. Air Force five days after competing that education because he wanted to fly air planes. Lively completed his boot camp training at Lackland A.F.B., TX. His training consisted of learning how to operate radar on planes. He was sent to Okinawa for one year where he performed those duties followed by an assignment at Cape Cod, MA, where he worked as a radar operator flying an EC-121, an air-borne plane over the north Atlantic Ocean eight hours per day, returning to Okinawa and then a three year assignment at Hurlbert Field, FL. Next, Lively went to Kessler A.F.B. at Biloxi, MS, where he cross-trained to become an air-traffic controller. Next, he had TDY for three months at Kessler A.F.B. He returned to Hurlbert Field, FL, completing his three-year assignment. He was deployed to Vietnam in 1965-1966, to McCoy A.F.B, Orlando, FL, for 13 months followed by a second tour in Vietnam in 1967-68. While in Vietnam his air-traffic controller hours were required to be limited, and he volunteered two days per week to serve as a gunner on a helicopter which was a very hazardous duty. Having served four tours in 11.5 years, he could not be deployed again. He served almost 16 years as an air-traffic controller. His last assignment was at Maxwell A.F.B., Montgomery, AL, where he retired.
Since retirement from the U. S. Air Force, Lively worked in Montgomery, AL, as an investigator for a lawyer, stocker at the A.B.C. Board, an AL state auditor, an air-traffic controller assistant for the F.F.A. at Dannelly Field and a mail-handler for the U. S. Postal Service for his final 20 years of employment earning a second retirement pension. His retirement years have consisted of fishing and hunting, both skills learned as a youngster growing up in rural Walker County, AL. He has been a member of the Masonic Lodge and received a 50-year pin from the Masonic Lodge where he served twice as the Master of the Lodge. Lively was also a life-time member of he V.F.W. and the American Legion.
Lively was married to Mabeline Anne Cook for 44 years: they had one son. He had one son and two grandchildren by a previous marriage.
Col. Robert C. Cerha ~ 73
Col. Robert C. Cerha served in the United States Air Force for 33 years. Having earned a Juris Doctorate Degree from St. Louis University and a Master of Law Degree in international law from the University of VA, his expertise, international law, provided opportunities for service as a staff judge advocate at both wing and numbered Air Force levels and as a participant in negotiations with foreign governments including the Philippine base negotiations and the Japanese host-nation support negotiations. He completed studies at the Squadron Officer School, the Air Command and Staff College and the Air War College all at Maxwell A.F.B., Montgomery, AL. His major awards and decorations include: Air Force Commendation Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters, U. S. State Dept. Distinguished Service Award and the Legion of Merit.
Col. Cerha was born in Cleveland, Ohio, to his parents, Harry and Marion Cerha January 14, 1947, where his father finished medical school, and later the family moved to New Orleans, LA, where his father completed his residency in obstetrics. The Cerha family members have served in the United States Air Force, namely, his father as a fighter pilot of P-51s during WWII and later as an obstetrician, and his two brothers as medical service corps (MSC) officers.
During his youth, his family moved often to duty stations at Lackland A.F.B. at San Antonio, TX, Wright Paterson A.F.B. at Dayton, Ohio, Weisbaden Air Base, Weisbaden, Germany, and Scott A.F.B. at St. Louis, MO. Col. Cerha graduated from high school at the U. S. Defense School at Weisbaden and received his B.S. Degree in political science from St. Louis University, St. Louis, MO.
Col. Cerha had many assignments using his legal expertise at U. S. Air Force bases in the U. S. and overseas. Col. Cerha’s began his active military assignments at Homestead A.F.B., FL, serving as the staff judge advocate, 31st Combat Support Group. His first overseas assignment was assistant staff judge advocate, 86th Tactical Fighter Wing, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. He had to attend and to observe trials in German courts of U. S. military personnel who had been in trouble off base. He had to make sure that all proceedings were going according to the agreements between the German government and the U. S. Air Force. In addition, he served as the prison visitation officer to visit Air Force personnel who were being incarcerated making sure they were being treated properly. He also worked some cases in Norway and in the Azores. After receiving his
Master of Law Degree in International Law, he served as the instructor of international law at the Judge Advocate General’s School at Maxwell, A.F.B., Montgomery, AL, followed by serving as the staff judge advocate, Fourth Tactical Fighter Wing, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N. Carolina, where he operated a legal office six attorneys working with him. His second overseas assignment was as legal advisor to the U. S. Ambassador at Manila, Republic of the Philippines. Then he served as the staff judge advocate, First Air Force and director, General Law, Headquarters Tactical Air Command, Langley A.F.B. at Langley, VA. His third overseas assignment was staff judge advocate for U.S. Forces, Japan and Headquarters Fifth Air Force, at Yokota Air Base, Japan. He returned to Maxwell A.F.B. to serve as the staff judge advocate, Air University. His fourth overseas assignment was chief, International and Civil Law, Headquarters Pacific Air Forces at Hickam A.F.B., Hawaii. His final assignment was Senior Legal Advisor to the Commander at the Headquarters Air Reserve Personnel Center at Denver. CO.
Col. Cerha and his wife, Joan, have one daughter, one son and eight grandchildren. Since retirement in 2001, he has enjoyed travel with his wife as well as swimming, playing golf and hunting.
Col. Cerha’s conclusions about his military service are, “I grew up in an Air Force family, was a military brat and traveled to a lot of bases. When I joined the R.O.T.C. and the Air Force, it just came naturally to me. It was something that I wanted to do. I always envisioned myself as being in the Air Force. The Air Force was very good to me. My first assignments were at bases at Miami and at Germany, and then the Air Force sent me to law school. All of my assignments were challenging and things that I wanted to do. We had wonderful places to live as we got to see Germany, Japan and the Philippines, and our children were able to live at these places which was good for them.”
Lt. Col. Judson L. Huett, Jr. ~ 82
Lt. Col Judson L. Huett, Jr., was born in Coosada, Alabama in 1937 to his parents, Judson Huett and Oneida Franklin Huett. They moved to Montgomery, Alabama, where Colonel Huett started his military service with the Naval Reserve in 1954. After graduating high school in 1956, he joined the U. S. Marine Corps serving two years of active duty and six years of reserve duty. Returning to Montgomery after his active duty, he attended Auburn University for several quarters, worked for Hawk Brokerage Company selling food items to supermarkets and commissaries, and worked as a salesman at the
Montgomery Coca Cola Bottling Company.
Colonel Huett’s 50 years of public service include the Naval Reserve, the U. S. Marines, the Alabama National Guard, the U.S. Army and service with the Army Junior Reserve Officer's Training Corp (ROTC). Colonel Huett received 32 awards and decorations for duty served in three services and a combat tour in Vietnam. Some of his awards are as follows: Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Legion of Merit Medal, Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal with “V” Device for Valor with six Oak Leaf Clusters, Humanitarian Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with five Battle Stars, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with one Silver and two Gold Stars, and the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal.
Colonel Huett returned to active military duty as an Officer in 1965 serving in the U. S. Army after completing Officer Candidate School (OCS) at Fort Benning, Georgia. His first duty station was at Camp Roberts, California. He volunteered to serve in Vietnam, completed training at the Special Warfare School at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, and the Defense Language Institute at Ft. Bliss, Texas, studying the Vietnamese language. He returned from Vietnam in 1969, completed the Ordnance Officer's Advanced Course at Aberdeen, Maryland, and then served as Company Commander of the 183rd Maintenance Company at Ft. Carson, Colorado. Colonel Huett had staff assignments in Ft. Bliss, Texas, Hawaii, Panama, Thailand, and Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Colonel Huett retired from Active Duty in 1988 after 27 years of active duty and remained in uniform teaching Junior R.O.T.C. for the next 17 years at Carver High School in Montgomery, Alabama.
Colonel Huett has a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Alabama, a Master of Arts from Webster University, and he completed all course requirements towards a Doctor of Public Administration Degree.
Walter Woods ~ 77
Walter Woods, served two tours in Vietnam and 20 years in the U. S. Army retiring as a Master Sergeant. His decorations, medals, citations and campaign ribbons awarded include the Army Commendation Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Bronze Start Medal (with one Oak Leaf Cluster), Good Conduct Medal (with Bronze, five Loops), Meritorious Service Medal, NCO Professional
Development Ribbon (Numeral five), National Defense Service Medal, Overseas Service Ribbon (Numeral three), Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry (with Palm) and Vietnam Service Medal(with one Silver Service Star). His overseas tours were at Inchon, Korea, Heidelberg, Germany, Camp Evans, South Vietnam, Long Bien/Siagion, South Vietnam and Ayers Kasenne “the Rock” at Kiuch Gons, Germany.
Woods volunteered and entered the Army at the induction center at Montgomery, AL, and was transferred to Fort Jackson, South Carolina, for in processing followed by basic training and an assignment to the Military Police School at Fort Gordon, GA. He also served as a drill sergeant and as an armor crewman. Woods completed training at the Sergeant’s Major Academy at Ft. Bliss, TX.
Woods was born November 13, 1942, near Thomasville, AL, to his parents, Brady Woods, Sr. and Ethel Grayson Woods. After graduation from Thomasville High School, he joined the U. S. Army, received an Associate Degree in General Management from the El Paso Community College. He taught JROTC at G.W. Carver High School in Montgomery, AL, for 20 years. He has worked as a security guard at the Montgomery Zoo. Since 2004, Woods has been fully retired.
Woods and his wife, Shirley, have three children, seven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. He is an active member of Montgomery’s Eastmont Baptist Church where he has served as a deacon and as a member of the choir. In his leisure time, Woods enjoys attending high school football, baseball and basketball games
In 2007, Woods trained with the International Association of Fire Chaplains at Kansas City MO, and for over nine years he has served as a chaplain with the Montgomery, AL, Fire Department. In the event of a sudden death, seriously injured firefighter or line of duty death, he provides counseling to firefighters and other department members. In addition, for over eight years, he has served with the Central AL Chapter of the American Red Cross, and whenever he is on call, he serves 24/7 even on weekends to assist clients whenever fires cause people’s homes to become damaged and unlivable. He interviews them and gives ARC debit cards to clients which can be used to provide clothing, temporary lodging, food, etc.
Wood’s conclusions about his military career are, “I have the satisfaction of having served the country. I have accomplished a goal of receiving an education and training.”
Everett K. Cole ~ 70
Everett K. Cole is a U. S. Marine who served in combat in Vietnam, stepped on a mine May 22, 1969 and immediately suffered the loss of the right leg at the ankle with multiple severe shrapnel injuries to the left lower leg, damage to the knee and severe muscle damage to the left thigh. Heroic measures of doctors and nurses saved the left leg from amputation, at that time. The left leg was amputated above the knee in August, 2014, due to a series of infections following five failed knee replacements. He remains steadfastly loyal to the Marine Corps and the United States. This remarkable man’s life personifies courage and determination to survive and to achieve in spite of extreme circumstances. He received the following medals and awards for his military service: Purple Heart, Bronze Star Medal with ‘V’, Combat Action Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, VietNam Service Medal, Viet Nam Cross of Gallantry and VietNam Campaign Medal with 60 devices.
Everett was born March 7, 1949, in Moss Point, MS, to his parents, C.W. Cole and Helen R. Cole. He was reared in Century, FL, Cantonment, FL, and Pensacola, FL, and he attended Tate High School through the 10th grade and attended Escambia High School until March, 1967. In May, 1968, he was notified to report for a physical for the military draft and then joined the U. S. Marine Corps May 20, 1968, at age 19. He completed Marine Corps Boot Camp at Parris Island, SC, October 21, 1968, and he was sent to the Marine Corps Camp LeJeune, NC, for infantry training for eight weeks. After reporting to the Marine Corps Camp Pendleton, CA, he received two more weeks of training followed by five days in Okinawa arriving for combat in Vietnam February 6, 1969.
Everett’s four months tour of duty in Vietnam ended when he triggered a landmine resulting in catastrophic injuries to his legs. Everett concludes that because his injuries occurred about 10:15 a.m. instead of p.m., he was quickly medevaced by helicopter to a Naval hospital in Vietnam by 10:30 a.m. which prevented his becoming a casualty. He also credits God’s hand in saving his life. One hour before he was wounded, the lieutenant leading his unit had the patrol element practice drills to know what to do if someone might be wounded. Everett’s best friend was assigned to carry the radio for the squad, and this was his first patrol as radio man. When the explosion went off, Everett could hear the transmission for a chopper. As it turned out, a chopper with the call sign “Lady Ace” intercepted the message and stated that he was in the air with another wounded Marine and could take a couple more Marines. This Lady Ace became Everett’s rescue angel. The records show total rescue time was 12 minutes! After triage in Vietnam, he was sent to the 106th U. S. General Army Hospital in Yokohama, Japan, for three weeks where more of his right leg was amputated followed by treatment at the Philadelphia Naval Hospital in Philadelphia, PA, for four months. Everett was then sent to the VA Hospital in Montgomery, AL, where he met his future wife, Alice, who was employed there. After one year of treatment in military and VA hospitals, he was discharged May 30, 1970. Everett was medically retired from military service and in 1974 given permanent medical disability retirement from the Marine Corps.
Since then, Everett states, “I have lived my life to the fullest and the best that I could. Vietnam stole my youth. I never had a chance to grow up.”He married in 1970, and using the Chapter 31, Vocational Rehab benefits from the VA, he attended Alabama Christian College (Faulkner University) for two years receiving an Associate Degree transferring to Huntingdon College graduating with a B.A. in Secondary Education in May, 1975. Instead of teaching, Everett was offered a job with the VA, where he worked at the VA Regional Office in Montgomery reaching the level of GS-13 helping veterans by reviewing decisions made about veterans including processing education awards for G.I. Bill requests, reviewing disability ratings and serving as an adjudicator on legal documents retiring April 4, 2004, at the end of 30 years of service.
Since retirement, Everett has enjoyed playing guitar, fishing, hunting, bush hogging, cutting trails and preparing roads on his farm in rural Montgomery County, AL, traveling with his wife to visit all 50 States for which he had given his legs and being with his three daughters and eight grandchildren. He and his wife attend the Liberty Church of Christ in Hope Hull, AL. Everett serves as the Commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 2205 whose members have all answered America’s call, and now as combat wounded veterans, they continue to serve America by helping active duty military, veterans, their families and those who have borne the burden of battle. Everett is also a Lifetime member of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) and a member of the America Legion. He is active in Veteran non-profit support organizations such as AHEROusa, Soldiers Freedom Outdoors, The Independence Fund, Independence Corps, and Purple Heart Cruise encouraging and being encouraged by fellow veterans.
Although Everett suffered traumatic injuries at age 19, he retains his loyalty to the U. S. Marine Corps saying, “It gave me the ability to overcome saying, “I can’t.’ It gave me the drive to be the kind of man that I should be. I believe in courage, commitment and honor. I’ve tried to live my life by that including God, family and the Corps. My wife of 49 years deserves the title of Marine as much as I do because of what she has gone through with me. I have always had a wife who listens.”
Jerry Glen Wheat ~ 82
Jerry Glen Wheat served in the United States Air Force for 20 years as an aircraft mechanic including three remote tours, namely, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and Vietnam. Because of his distinguished service, he received the following medals: GCM Good Conduct Medal with Four Oak Leaf Clusters, VSM Vietnam Service Medal, VCM Vietnam Campaign Medal, NDSM National Defense Service Medal, AFOUA Air Force Outstanding Unit Award With One Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, AFLSA Air Force Longevity Service Award with Four Oak Leaf Clusters, DFC Distinguished Flying Cross - Combat Special Operations Group 267 Headquarters Seventh Air Force issued August 21, 1972, and AM Air Medal with Three Oak Leaf Clusters. (He completed more than 60 combat missions.) His work as an aircraft mechanic involved inspecting, servicing and repairing aircraft. He did troubleshooting and maintenance to the structure, the engines, and the components inside for the mission criteria including electronic warfare. The safety of the aircraft and the success of every mission hinged on the integrity of the aircraft maintained by his role as an aircraft mechanic.
Wheat was born January 4, 1938, in Fountain Run, KY, to his parents, William H. Wheat and Ophie Beatrice Wheat. He graduated from Allen County High School in Scottsville, KY, and immediately after graduation, he volunteered for military service in the United States Air Force July 9, 1958. Wheat completed Basic Training at Lackland AFB, TX. Because of his experience using farm machinery during his youth, he had developed an aptitude for mechanical skills and became an aircraft mechanic after completing training at a technical school at Shepard AFB, TX. His first of four assignments to Maxwell Air Force Base, AL, was for one year. His first overseas assignment was to Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, for 13 months where he maintained the C47 and C54 aircraft. He was then sent to Andrews AFB, MD, for four years where he serviced the T29, 131, C54 and C118 aircraft. In 1965, he returned to Maxwell AFB to serve with the 3805 Maintenance Squadron for one year. In January,1966, he was sent to his second remote to the Danang Air Base in Vietnam to serve with the 31 Air Command Squadron where he was the Crew Chief of the C123 aircraft for one year. Wheat returned to Maxwell AFB for a three-year assignment as the Flight Engineer on the T29 aircraft doing training missions. In September,1970, he was sent to his third remote to Nakhon Phanom Air Base, Thailand, as a Flight Engineer on a WWII vintage C47 aircraft, electronic warfare detachment doing surveillance plotting 40 bombing missions. In September, 1971, he was sent to England AFB, LA, for special operations training Vietnamese, Laotians and South Americans for two years. His last assignment was a return to Maxwell AFB where he served as a Flight Engineer in a C131 and as a Flight Engineer in the Maintenance Department. He went into cross training in fire-fighting and rescue. Wheat retired July 1, 1978, at the rank of Master Sergeant.
After retirement, he began college at night school at Troy State University at Montgomery with a major in criminal justice. He then worked for 20 years for the Department of Defense at Maxwell AFB in aircraft maintenance and became an aircraft management technician and an assistant aircraft manager.
Wheat and his wife, Dorothy Lawson Wheat, have been married over 60 years, and they have two sons, four grandchildren and one great-grandchild. They enjoy horticulture and crafts using driftwood making things out of wood selling some products at craft shows. Wheat enjoys boating and fishing as well as taking grandchildren on trips.
Wheat’s conclusions about his military serve are, “Serving in the military was an honor for me. I was subject to being drafted into the military right after high school because I was not married. I wanted to enter the military branch that I preferred which was the Air Force not realizing that I would ever stay 20 years. I went on and made it a career, and I have never been sorry. It was one of my duties in life.”