Alabama Gazette - The people's voice of reason

Honoring our Heroes

 

Brigadier General Trent H. Edwards: Age 53

Brigadier General Trent H. Edwards served 30 years in the United States Air Force. His Air Force Specialty Code (AFSC) was Financial Management and Comptroller. Although he was trained as a financial manager, he really excelled in taking care of people by connecting and empowering people at the individual and organization-level. This highly decorated officer received the following awards and decorations: Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Clusters, Bronze Star Medal with Oak Leaf Clusters, Meritorious Service Medal with five Oak Leaf Clusters, Joint Service

Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Force Achievement Medal, Air Outstanding Unit Award with four Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Force Excellence Award with Oak Leaf Clusters, National Defense Service Medal with bronze star, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Armed Forces Services Medal and NATO Medal.

General Edwards was born April 4, 1967, to his parents, Kelvin and Royaline Edwards, in Portsmouth, NH. He was reared in Kittery, ME, and graduated from Traip Academy in 1985 followed by graduation from North Carolina A& T State University with a B.S. Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing. Later, he received a Master’s Degree in Human Relations from the University of Oklahoma in 1996 and a Master’s Degree in National Security Studies from the Air War College, Maxwell AFB, AL in 2008.

Entering military service in May 1990, General Edwards’s first Air Force assignment after finishing college was serving as the Deputy/Accounting/Finance Officer, 401st Comptroller Squadron at Aviano, Italy, July 1990-July 1993. He continued to be deployed overseas first serving at Kunsan AB, South Korea, as Chief Financial Services, 8th Comptroller Squadron June 1993-July 1994. Then he served as Deputy Commander, Regional Accounting Finance Office, Osan AB, South Korea, July 1994-July 1995 followed by serving as 7th Air Force Budget Officer, 51st Fighter Wing, Osan AB, South Korea. His next overseas assignment was as Chief, Financial Analysis, 18th Comptroller Squadron, Kadena AB, Japan.

Following his overseas assignments, General Edwards completed nine assignments within the USA. First, he served as Chief Budget Integration Branch, Comptroller Directorate, Headquarters Air Education and Training Command at Randolph Air Force Base (AFB), Texas, August 1998-October 1998. Continuing at his location there, he served as the Aide to Commander, Headquarters AETC, October 1998-July 2000. He next moved to the Washington, D.C. area and first served as Chief, Congressional Affairs, Legislative Liaison, Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, the Pentagon, Arlington, VA, July 2000-October 2001. This was followed by serving as Legislative Fellow to Congressman J.C. Watts Jr. at Washington, D.C. October 2001-October 2002. His next assignment was serving as Subject Matter Expert to the Financial Management Transformation Office, Financial/Comptroller Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, the Pentagon, Arlington, VA, October 2002-January 2003.

General Edwards served in leadership as the Commander, 92nd Comptroller Squadron Fairchild AFB, WA, February 2003-June 2005. He also deployed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in 2003. He next served as Commander 88th Comptroller Squadron, Wright-Paterson AFB, OH, July 2005-June 2007. He deployed once again in 2006 to Iraq where he served with an Army Special Operations unit. He completed training as a student at the Air War College, Maxwell AFB, AL July 2007-May 2008 and then returned to the Pentagon to serve as the Senior Military Assistant, Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Washington, D.C., June 2008-May 2009. He served in a combat zone at Kabul, Afghanistan, as the Director, Programs and Comptroller, CJ8, NATO Training Mission and Combined Security Transition Command May 2009-May 2010.

Returning to the mainland, General Edwards completed five assignments. First, he served as the Commander, 28th Mission Support Group, Ellsworth, AFB, SD, August 2010-June 2012. Then he served as Commander, 42nd Air Base Wing, Maxwell AFB, AL, June 2012-May 2014, and then he served as Commander, 37th Training Wing, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, TX, June 2014-May 2016. Next, he served as Director, Programming, Financial Management and Comptroller, Headquarters Air Force Space Command, Peterson AFB, CO, June 2016-December 2017. His last military assignment was Director, Budget Operations and Personnel Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Financial Management and Comptroller, the Pentagon, Arlington, VA, retiring December 1, 2019.

Since his military retirement, General Edwards has worked as Senior Vice President of Military and Community Development at the Montgomery, AL, Chamber of Commerce. His main interest is to ensure, grow and protect the mission at Maxwell AFB and at Gunter AFB Annex and to facilitate this community’s continuation of support for the military. He is also President and CEO of his own company, T.H. Edwards Consulting, LLC.

General Edwards and his wife, Vanessa, have been married 18 years, and they have a 13 year-old son named Dylan. He is proud to have served and to be a husband and a dad. They enjoy hanging out together such as watching movies and eating good food, and they enjoy cooking. They participate in the virtual worship services of Agape International Spiritual Center. He serves the Montgomery community by serving on the Board of Directors of the Montgomery Council on Aging (MCOA). He serves on the Board of Directors at Navy Federal Credit Union, and he also serves as a mentor with the Tiger Woods Foundation and as an advisor to the Air Force Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion. He joys exercises such as playing golf and running.

General Edwards’ conclusions about his military service and his life are, “After serving 30 years in the military, it was my honor and privilege to take care of those who raised their hand to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and to take care of them and their families as they sacrificed so much to protect our freedoms and democratic way of life. It is always about the man, woman, Sailor, Soldier, Airman and the Marine who have come from all walks of life and decided that they are going to dedicate a portion of their life to serving our nation. It is always the people and the amazing things that we can accomplish when we work together for a common cause. Now often when former Air Force personnel come up to me, they might thank me for mentoring them or remind me of a time that we worked on a project together or shared time together with our families. There is nothing more rewarding than this. It is all about others, treating everyone with respect and dignity and helping them to become the best version of themselves. To grow, mentor and develop the next generation of leaders is an awesome responsibility and privilege. This is a team sport, and it takes the entire military team to succeed and that includes families. Family members serve and sacrifice as well. We have to ensure our policies, processes and procedures also support spouses, children and extended families. Leadership sets the tone and creates the right environment and the atmosphere where people cannot only serve the mission, but they can also ensure they can take care of their families. The things that I am most proud of are my family, my wife and my son. I would not be where I am today without their love and support. I am proud and happy to be back in Montgomery. I believe in Montgomery. There is so much potential here, and I am committed to doing my part to help grow the Montgomery community. The best way to impact change is to live here and be a part of it.”

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MSGT Robert C. Carr Jr: Age 56

MSGT Robert C. Carr Jr. served in Alabama Air National Guard for 29 years. His Air Force Specialty Code (AFSC) was Munitions Systems Craftsman 2W071. His awards and decorations include: Air Force Commendation Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Force Achievement Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Meritorious Unit Award, AF Outstanding Unit Award with Valor Device with five Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Reserve Forces Meritorious Service Medal with eight Oak Leaf Clusters, National Defense Service Medal with one Service Star, Iraq Campaign Medal with One Service Star, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon with Gold Border with one Oak Leaf Cluster, AF Longevity Service with four Oak Leaf Clusters, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with two Hourglasses with “M” Device, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon (Rifle), AF Training Ribbon, AL Commendation Medal with one Device, AL Veterans Service Medal, AL National Emergency Service Medal, AL Faithful Service Medal with six Devices and AL Active Duty Basic Training Medal

MSGT Carr was born December 4, 1963, to his parents, Robert Chester Carr Sr. and Martha McGowan Carr at Montgomery, AL, where he was reared. He graduated from Jefferson Davis High School in 1982, and he joined the Alabama Air National Guard January 26, 1984, during the time of the Cold War because he wanted to serve his country. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree from Auburn University at Montgomery in 1991. In addition, he earned an Associate Degree in Applied Science-Logistics Management from the Community College of the U.S. Air Force at Maxwell Air Force Base.

MGST Carr has had a variety of experiences in employment. At the age of 16, he began work at a Food World grocery store beginning as a Utility Clerk and working his way up to Cashier in the Produce Dept. and then with the Meat Dept. completing 10 years of part-time work while he was in school resulting in his earning vested retirement when he reaches age 60. He worked as an insurance representative with his dad with the State Farm Insurance Co. for eight years. Then he operated his own Insurance Agency with Farmers Insurance Group for 22 years retiring in 2015. He served 20 years as a member of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA) where he served as President of the South Central Alabama Association and served on the Board of Directors of N.A.I.F.A. Alabama.

MSGT Carr served with the U.S. Air Force 187th Fighter Wing of the Alabama Air National Guard at Dannelly Field ANGB, Montgomery, AL. At the time of his enlistment, the unit had just converted from the McDonnell Douglas photo-reconnaissance RF-4C to the McDonnell Douglas F-4D Phantom II, a tandem two-seat, twin-engine, all-weather, long-range supersonic jet interceptor and fighter-bomber. In 1988, the 187th began to receive early General Dynamics F-16A/B Block 10 Fighting Falcons, a single-engine supersonic multirole fighter. By the time MSGT Carr retired, the unit had upgraded to F-16C/D Block 30 Fighting Falcons. His duties included “Ammo” dealing with receiving, inspecting, storage, buildup, configuring and transporting munitions to the flight line. Those who have served in AMMO all know the acronym I.Y.A.A.Y.A.S. During his last five years of service, he was transferred from “Ammo” to the Quality Assurance Office and served as the QA Inspector for the “Ammo” Element. He was deployed on active duty to a classified location in 2003 to the Middle East with the 410th Air Expeditionary Wing for the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom and again in 2006 with the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing at Balad Air Base Iraq. During his off duty time, he volunteered to serve in the Balad Air Force Theater Hospital OR and ER, a level 1 trauma center which boasted a 98% survival rate for wounded Americans and Iraqis. This is where he witnessed the true horrors of war. In addition, he deployed on active duty to Korea and then to Argentina where the 187th was called upon for a diplomatic mission to help normalize military relations with the Argentine Air Force after relations chilled because of the United States support of Britain during the 1982 Falkland Islands War. He distinctly remembers a DOD official stating, “The 187th with its professionalism, expertise, and ‘Southern Charm’ were perfect for this delicate reintroduction.” MSGT Carr retired from military service December 31, 2012.

MSGT Carr and his wife, Brenda, have been married 27 years, and they have one child. He takes care of his elderly father. He has been a member of Frazer United Methodist Church for 27 years, and he sings tenor in the choir at the traditional services. In addition, he has sung with the Frazer Good News Singers and the Frazer Men’s Quartet. He has been a member of the Dixie Lions Club of Montgomery for 32 years, served as its secretary for 10 years and is currently serving his fourth term as President. He has been awarded the Melvin Jones Fellowship Award by Lions Clubs International. MSGT Carr is a life-time member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of The United States (VFW) and is now serving his third term as Post Commander of Smith-Wynn Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 96. In addition, he serves as the VFW Department of Alabama District Five Quartermaster, and he is a member of the American Legion Post Two in Montgomery, AL.

MSGT Carr’s conclusions about his military service are, “When I was a kid, I was always very patriotic. I always loved my country. In my teens, I traveled to other countries with my dad. Being a young person and seeing the hardships and lack of freedoms in other countries and what people had to go through, I knew when I got back home that I lived in the best place there was to live.

I still wanted to continue with a career in business, but I also wanted to serve my country as well. That is what drove me to serve in the Alabama Air National Guard. The main things being in the military taught me were discipline, camaraderie, being there for your friends, and loyalty to the organizations for which I was a part. That in turn, taught me how to be loyal to God. It taught me to care for something other than myself all of the time and how to work together as a team. I learned how to organize to get things done. The Air Force Core Values; Integrity, Service Before Self, and Excellence in All You Do, still guide me today.”

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COL Margaret Leah Compton: Age 60

COL Margaret Leah Compton served 32 years and eight months in the Alabama Army National Guard. During those years, her decorations and medals included the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service (6th award), Army Achievement (2nd award), Meritorious Unit Commendation, Army Reserve Component Achievement (4th award), National Defense Service (2nd award) and Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal.

COL Compton was born March 29, 1960 to her parents, Jerry D. Compton and Margaret Compton in Montgomery, AL, where she was reared and graduated from Jefferson Davis High School in 1978. Then she graduated from Troy University with a B.S. Degree in Psychology with minors in Sociology and Criminal Justice. She worked as a dental assistant and obtained a dental hygienist’s license.

In 1987, COL Compton joined the Alabama Army National Guard. She was an enlisted Soldier for five years and then attended the Alabama Military Academy Officer Candidate School where she commissioned as a Second Lieutenant. Her military occupational specialty (MOS) as an officer was Military Police, Human Resources, Adjutant General and Quartermaster. COL Compton worked full time with the National Guard throughout the state. In 2004-2005, she deployed to Iraq with a Military Police Battalion as the Executive Officer. After she returned from deployment, her unit was sent to assist the Mississippi National Guard after the devastating Hurricane Katrina hit that state. COL Compton remembers the eye opening and humbling experience like it was yesterday.

When reflecting upon her military service, COL Compton says, “I loved working with Soldiers and Airmen and their families especially at the time of the service person’s deployment. Serving in the military has been so personable and rewarding. To wear that uniform every day and represent your State and your country knowing you made a difference and what you believe in, I get chill bumps just talking about it. I loved every minute of it. I have so many good friends that are like family to me that I would have never met. I feel like I was an asset to the National Guard and will never regret any of it.”

Since her military retirement, COL Compton spends time with her family and friends. She is a member of Frazer United Methodist Church at Montgomery, AL. She enjoys boat riding at Lake Martin, going to the beach and raising her two Dachshunds, Lilly and Molly.

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Luther Zeagler Rosser: Age 95

Luther Zeagler Rosser served five and one-half years in the U. S. Navy, the Merchant Marines and the U. S. Army during 1943-1948. Rosser was born September 30, 1925, to his parents, Warren and Myrtle Rosser in Lagrange, GA, and he graduated from Boys High School in Atlanta, GA in 1943. He volunteered for military service and served as a cadet in the U.S. Navy followed by service in the Merchant Marines and the Army in the 10th Infantry Division.

Rosser served in the United States Merchant Marines which provided the greatest sealift in history between the production army at home and the fighting forces scattered around the world in WWII. He was exposed to extreme dangers.

Merchant ships faced danger from submarines, mines, armed raiders, destroyers and the elements. About 8,000 mariners were killed at sea, 12,000 wounded of whom at least 1,100 died from their wounds, and 663 men and women were taken prisoner. Some were blown to death incinerated, drowned, or frozen around the globe during WWII. Mariners suffered a greater percentage of war-related deaths than all other U.S. services. Casualties were kept secret during WWII to keep information about their success from the enemy and to attract and to keep mariners at sea. Rosser served in the Battle of the Atlantic, and it was not what one usually thinks of as a “battle,” since it did not take place in one location in a limited period. It was a Battle of Control over shipping in the Atlantic and lasted from September 1939 through May 1945. Germany’s submarines (U-Boats) tried to sink merchant ships faster than the Allies could build them.

After his military service, he worked as an agent with a Life Insurance Company of Alabama for 40 years during his adult life. He had two sons, four grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren. He has been a member of the Kirkwood Church of Decatur, GA, and the Mt. Zion Baptist Church of Montgomery, AL. During his leisure time, Rosser has enjoyed fishing, hunting and playing golf.

Rosser recalls seeing many destroyed ships along the Atlantic coast. His recollections about his military service are, “I got out of the service because I didn’t enjoy the aspect of my getting killed and having to kill other people. That was not my cup of tea. I considered serving as an obligation. I had experiences under adverse conditions meeting people of various backgrounds and getting along with them. This was a learning process. Today, I feel that we have been very fortunate. From the military standpoint, you go with what they give you. I was thankful that I survived, and I was thankful for the people that I had met. It afforded me opportunities that I might not have had otherwise. It was a great experience.”

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A. Wyndol Murrah’s: 99th Birthday Celebration

On March 10th, Dr. Martha Poole Simmons presented the citation from AL Governor Kay Ivey, the commemorative coin from the AL Department of Veterans Affairs and the proclamation from Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed in which he declared March 14, 2021, to be A. Wyndol Murrah Day in Montgomery to the WWII veteran, A. Wyndol Murrah.

Dr. Simmons represented the American Red Cross, and she felt so blessed to have this opportunity to honor him on his 99th birthday in the presence of his two daughters and one son-in-law at Wyndol’s home.

Wyndol’s article was printed in the November 2020 issue of the Gazette.

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Drive-by Parade held for 97th Birthday of Dr. Donald E. Hayhurst, WWII Vet

On April 1, 2021, a Drive-by Parade was held in the Center Park of Millbrook in honor of Dr. Donald E. Hayhurst, WWII vet. Parade participants included Millbrook’s Police and Fire Departments, members of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), veterans, other friends and neighbors. Admiral Kent Davis, Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs presented a citation from Governor Kay Ivey, while Mr. Amir Farooqi, Director of the Central Alabama Veterans Healthcare System also presented recognitions.

 

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