Alabama Gazette - The people's voice of reason

Honoring our Heroes

 

September 1, 2020 | View PDF



MSgt. Jimmy F. Meacham: Age 84

MSgt. Jimmy F. Meacham served 42 years in the U.S. military including four years in the regular Air Force, 18 years in the Air Force Reserves and 20 years in the AL Air National Guard. He received the following awards and medals: Meritorious Service Medal with Two Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, USAF Commendation Medal with One Bronze Oak Leaf, USAF Achievement Medal with One Bronze Oak Leaf, Air Force Good Conduct Medal, Air Reserve Forces Meritorious Service Medal, USAF Recognition Medal, Korean Service Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, Air Force Combat Readiness Medal with Bronze Oak Leaf, USAF NCO PME Graduation Medal, USAF Outstanding Unit Award with One Bronze Oak Leaf and Armed Forces Expert Markman Medal. In 2019, the South Korean ambassador came to Montgomery and presented the Ambassador for Peace Medal to him and others who had served there.

Meacham was born May 5, 1936, at Roanoke, AL, to his parents, Alvin Howard Meacham and Rena Odessa Meacham. He was reared in Roanoke, Talladega and Clanton, AL, graduating from Chilton County High School in 1954. After high school graduation, he voluntarily enlisted in the U. S. Air Force reporting for duty at Montgomery, AL, followed by Basic Training at Lackland Air Force Base (AFB), in TX, and at Chanute AFB in IL for 16 months where he was trained in computer technology for use in the intelligence field which was top-secret. Meacham was deployed to Clark ABF in the Philippines where he served 19 months including 12 months that he volunteered to serve with a seven-man U. S. Marine Corps Reconnaissance Squad. After 16 weeks of U. S. Marine Corps Boot Camp and recon training while in the Philippines, Meacham completed 10 clandestine recon missions into N. Korea often being inserted by submarine and small two-man boats. Disclosure of any intelligence gained on these missions is still highly classified. Disclosure could have been punishable by courts martial. Meacham departed Clark AFB in April, 1958.

Meacham transferred to the Air Force Reserves at Birmingham, AL where he continued writing intelligence reports for the military. In September, 1976, Meacham transferred to the AL Air National Guard Base at Dannelly Field at Montgomery, AL, where he was the operator and supervisor with the Photographic Processing and Interpreting Facility of the 160th Tactical Recon. In 1982, the unit transitioned from reconnaissance to the 187th Fighter Squadron in which he served in the weapons branch as crew chief and supervisor. He was named Quality Control Supervisor for the Weapons Branch in 1991, and he served in this capacity until his retirement in 1996. Before retirement, Meacham served 90 days on Incirlik AB in Turkey during Operation Desert Storm where he served as Weapons Branch Chief as an Air Force Augmentee.

Meacham and his wife, Myra, have been married 64 years, and they have one child, three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Since his military retirement, he has been an active member of the Eastmont Baptist Church of Montgomery where he has served as a deacon. In addition, Meacham voluntarily served during 2003-2018 as an active law enforcement chaplain with the River Region Chaplain Service counseling police, deputies and firefighters in the Montgomery area. He also enjoys fishing and hunting deer, turkey and squirrels.

Meacham concludes about his military service saying, “When I was involved with the Marine Boot Camp training, I learned more than I have learned since. They trained us to be part of a team or to act on our own. They just let me know what I was capable of becoming, and it was a unique experience. To me, it was the highlight of my life. When I first went into the Air Force, I was taught about computers and the intelligence part which was unique. The military taught me self-reliance, and I just enjoyed it. It gave me focus and a purpose to my life.”

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Lt Col Edward G. Platt Jr.: Age 87

Lt Col Edward G. Platt Jr. served 23 years as a pilot in the U.S. Air Force including tours in Vietnam and Venezuela as well as serving as a professor at the U.S. Air Force Academy. He received the following medals and awards: Air Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Force Commendation Medal, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Air Force Longevity Service Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic Vietnam Commendation Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, Republic Vietnam Gratuity Citation, Meritorious Service Medal (AF) Retirement.

Lt Col Platt was born May 2,1933, at Ft. Lauderdale, FL, to his parents, Edward G. Platt Sr. and Jane Katherine, and he was reared there graduating in 1951 from Ft. Lauderdale High School. In 1955, he graduated from Sewanee: The University of the South, with a B.A. Degree in Mathematics and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U. S. Air Force. Lt Col Platt began active duty January 2, 1956. Platt spent his first month in Preflight Training at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, TX, followed by Primary Pilot Training in the T-34 and T-28 at Spence Air Base in Moultrie, GA, and then to Goodfellow AFB in San Angelo, TX, for Basic Pilot Training in flying the multi-engine B-25. He remained at Goodfellow to serve as an instructor for 2.5 years followed by an assignment at Bartow AFB in Bartow, FL, for two years serving as a military training instructor and check pilot at a primary pilot training wing in the T-37 twin engine jet trainer. Lt Col Platt was sent to Maxwell AFB in Montgomery, Al, for a three-month assignment at the Squadron Officer’s School. In 1961, Lt Col Platt graduated from Florida State University with a Master’s Degree in Mathematics followed by his teaching mathematics at the U.S. Air Force Academy for five years.

While still in FL, Lt Col Platt suffered a serious back injury when flying with another pilot in the two-seater, single engine jet trainer, T-33, to get his monthly required flight time completed. At 40,000 feet, the plane’s engine failed, and after a glide for about 20 minutes, the two pilots ejected just in time parachuting. Remaining in a body cast for six weeks, he healed enough to resume flying.

Lt Col Platt’s 14 month-service in 1967-1968 in the Vietnam War included his flying the C-130 Hercules four engine turbo-prop cargo aircraft on supply missions. He completed combat crew training in TN practicing dropping cargo loads from high and low altitudes, and this was followed by survival training at Fairchild AFB in

Washington. Lt Col Platt flew the unloaded C-130 from his home base at Taiwan to Vietnam where for three weeks each time, he flew cargo from three bases in Vietnam to Marines and Army personnel at other bases in Vietnam and also served as the liaison officer.

Lt Col Platt returned to teaching mathematics at the U.S. Air Force Academy for three years. He then served as the liaison officer with the Venezuelan Air Force for three years. His last assignment was at Gunter Air Station (Gunter Annex: Maxwell AFB) in Montgomery, AL, for three years where he worked in the Extension Course Institute (ECI) and became the Deputy Commander and the Commander, retiring December 31, 1978.

Lt Col Platt’s conclusions about his military service are, “Serving my county meant everything to me. I was very excited about being wherever I was.”

In 1977, Lt Col Platt and Lew Shaffer became the Founders and Directors of Son Shine, an evangelistic ministry. For 25 years, these two men and their wives, Barbara Platt and Sandy Shaffer, devoted their lives to full time Christian ministry through Son Shine Ministries, an organization based on Core Values and eight Commitments namely, to follow Biblical Truth in Scripture, to Love God, to Acknowledge Our Dependence upon God, to Engage in Process-Based Ministry, to Help Strengthen Couples, to Help Strengthen Families, to Support God’s Work through Churches and to Honor God by our Use of Time and Resources. Platt went on missionary missions to the Philippines in March, 1997, and to Vietnam in February, 1998. The ministry involved conducting weekend seminars for married couples and families at churches in the USA and at chapels at military bases throughout the world.

Lt Col Platt and his wife, Barbara, have been married 63 years, and they have two children, four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. They have been active in service to others at Frazer Memorial United Methodist Church in Montgomery, AL.

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Lt Col Donald Lee Applegarth: Age 82

Lt Col Donald Lee Applegarth served in the U. S. Army for 20 year including one tour in Vietnam. He received the following awards and medals: Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with First Oak Leaf Cluster, Bronze Star, Joint Service Commendation and Army Commendation Medal with First Oak Leaf Cluster.

Lt Col Applegarth was born August 30, 1938, to his parents, Leroy and Delpha Applegarth, in Waldron, AR. He was reared there by his grandmother, Mrs. Ida Bobbitt. He accepted Jesus Christ as his personal savior in March, 1950, in the First Baptist Church. After graduating from Waldron High School in 1956, he was given a scholarship from the Baptist Church to attend Ouachita Baptist College where he graduated from Ouachita Baptist College (Ouachita Baptist University) with a B.A. Degree in Business Administration. He completed the Advanced Army ROTC program, and during his senior year, he served as the Cadet Colonel of the ROTC unit and was designated as a Distinguished Military Graduate in 1960.

Lt Col Applegarth began his military service June 9, 1960, and attended the University of Arkansas for one year where he studied Business Administration in the graduate program. He then reported for duty to the U.S. Army Infantry School at Fort Benning, GA, where he completed the Infantry Officer School and the Ranger School in December 1961. Next, he reported to Ft. Dix, NJ, for transportation on the troop ship, the USNS Darby, to Gelnhausen, Germany, for duty with the 48th Infantry, 2nd Armored Rifle Battalion, 3rd Armored Division. This assignment was shortly after the building of the wall separating East and West Germany. In the 48th

Infantry, he first served as a 81mm mortar Platoon Leader. During this assignment, he was tested for the Expert Infantry Badge, and he was one of 18 who passed among the 302 Infantrymen who took the test. He also served as the battalion Personnel Officer which prepared him to serve as the Combat Command B Adjutant where he completed his detail as an Infantry Officer.

In May 1963, he received orders for service in the Berlin Brigade Finance and Accounting Office. At this time, Berlin was divided into four districts with each under the control of Russia, Britain, France or the USA. During this assignment, he served as the Disbursing Officer, Accounting Division Chief and finally as the Finance and Accounting Office.

Returning to the USA in July 1965, he was assigned to Fort Benjamin Harrison, IN, at the US Army Finance School for attendance to the Finance Officer Basic Course. After the completion of this course, he was assigned to the Finance School as an Instructor in the Data Processing Division. He studied the Auto coder Language at the IBM Education Center and also studied Common Business Oriented Language (COBOL). He taught ADP classes for two years. He was sent to Vietnam in August 1968 for almost one year serving as the financial analyst at MACV Headquarters. Returning to the USA in August 1969, he reported to Fort Lesley J. McNair in Washington, D.C. where he served in several financial positions supporting the Army Comptroller including one year on the Army Staff. While there, in 1973, he graduated from The George Washington University with a Master’s Degree in Automatic Data Processing. He then completed education at the Armed Forces Staff College in Norfolk, VA, in 1973 followed by assignment for three years to Fort Polk, LA, where he served as the Installation Finance and Accounting Officer and Division Finance Officer and was promoted to the rank of LTC. In 1976, he was in the Office of the Comptroller in the Defense Logistics Agency for two years and then in the U.S.Army Military Personnel Center for two years where he was responsible for assigning LTCs to various positions within the US and overseas.

In December 1980, he retired from military service and began his civilian career with Electronic Data Systems (EDS) which became Hewlett Packard late in his career. During 1980-1996, he performed on numerous contracts with various agencies of the U.S. Government including the U.S. Army, US Postal Service, Department of Defense, U.S. Air Force, US Department of Transportation and the US Department of Education. In 1997, he moved to Montgomery to continue working on the Student Loan Account with the Federal Department Education and managed various­­ parts on this contract until his retirement at the end of August 2012, after almost 32 years with EDS/HP.

Lt Col Applegarth has three sons and seven grandchildren from a previous marriage. His wife, Linda, and he have been married 36 years and he serves as a stepfather to her two children and step-grandfather to her two grandchildren. He enjoys reading, watching sports and exercising, and he is member of the Eastmont Baptist Church where he serves as an administrative deacon and as a substitute Sunday School teacher. He has developed close friendships in each church wherever he has been a member.

Lt Col Applegarth concludes about his military service saying, “I was proud to serve my country. The many friendships that were developed during my service are among the best that I have, and they have continued.”

 

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