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Honoring Our Heroes

Col Larry Patrick Cornwell: Age 76

Col Larry Patrick Cornwell served 28 years in the United States Air Force. His Air Force Specialty Code (AFSC) for 21 years was as a Security Police officer. He received the following decorations, medals, badges, citations and campaign ribbons: Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal with six oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Air Force Achievement Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with two oak leaf clusters, Organizational Excellence Award, Air Force Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Star, Vietnam Service Medal with Service Star, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (Thailand), Air Force Overseas Short Tour Ribbon, Air Force Overseas Long Tour Ribbon, Air Force Longevity Service Award Ribbon with five oak leaf clusters, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon with Service Star, Air Force Training Ribbon with one oak leaf cluster, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm Device, and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal. He wore the Master Security Police Qualification Badge.

Col Cornwell was born March 17, 1946 to Capt. Glen and Madelyn Cornwell, in Amarillo, TX, and was reared in Pender, Nebraska. He graduated from Pender Public High School in 1964, from Dana College with a double major in psychology and sociology/anthropology in 1968, from Michigan State University with a master’s degree in criminal justice in 1974 and from the Air War College in 1988. He completed in-residence graduate level courses at the University of Georgia, University of Southern California and Northwestern University.

Col Cornwell enlisted in the Air Force in 1968 and attended basic training at Lackland AFB, TX. From 1968-1969, he served as an Air Operations Specialist at a B-57 squadron at Stewart AFB, NY. In 1969, he attended Officer Training School and the Security Police Academy both at Lackland AFB. From 1969-1972, he served at Altus AFB, OK, in the Security Police Squadron. After graduating from the Army Intelligence School in 1972, he was assigned to the Takhli Royal Thai Air Force Base in Thailand during the Vietnam War as a Security Police officer and Wing Ground Combat Intelligence officer from 1972-1973.

After earning his Master’s Degree in 1974, he was assigned to the Headquarters Tactical Air Command Security Police staff at Langley AFB, VA, for two years (1975-1976) where he met his future wife. He then served there for another two years (1977-1978) with the Tactical Air Command Headquarters Inspector General.

From 1978-1980, Col Cornwell was assigned to McConnell AFB, KS, as a Security Police officer. From 1980-1982, he served at Wurtsmith AFB, MI, as the installation Chief, Security Police and Security Police Squadron commander. From 1982-1985, he served on the Strategic Air Command Headquarters Security Police staff at Offutt AFB, NE. From 1985-1987, he was assigned to Andersen AFB, Guam and served as the installation Chief, Security Police and Security Police Squadron commander. From 1987-1988, he attended and graduated from the Air War College at Maxwell AFB, AL. His next assignment was to Andrews AFB, MD, 1988-1990 as the installation Chief, Security Police and Security Police Squadron commander. From 1990-1991, he served as the Deputy Wing Commander for Ground Defense at Comiso Air Station, Sicily, Italy. He returned to the USA to serve as the Professor of Aerospace Studies and ROTC unit commander at the University of Minnesota from 1991-1993. From 1993-1996, he served at Maxwell AFB, AL, as the ROTC Chief of the Resource Management Division at ROTC Headquarters 1993-1995, and from 1995-1996, he served as the Director of Plans and Policy on the Headquarters, Air University staff.

Col Cornwell’s security experiences included close contact with international leaders such as President Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines, Prince Phillip of Great Britain, USSR leader Gorbachev and US Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. Col Cornwell retired from military service at Maxwell AFB, AL June 1, 1996.

Col Cornwell and his wife, Leanne, have been married 46 years, and they have two children and three grandchildren. He and his wife enjoy worldwide travel, and they are members of Christchurch Anglican of Montgomery, AL.

He is an active member of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) and with his wife, they have served as patriotic speakers in replica Revolutionary War uniforms at hundreds of classrooms and organizational meetings. For years, they led the Veterans Day parade in Montgomery. He served as a chapter, state, and national officer in the SAR. He has enjoyed life-long genealogical research for him and others in their quest to join the SAR. He enjoys playing golf and staying fit.

Col Cornwell’s reflections on his military service: “I saw it as a continuation of my family’s service. Two of my brothers served in the Navy and in the Army. My father served in WWII, my grandfather in WWI, two great-great-grandfathers in the War Between the States, six ancestors in the War of 1812, 31 ancestors in the American Revolution and numerous ancestors in the Colonial Wars in the 1600’s. I join a long line of patriotic veterans who are proud of our service to our country.”

Sergeant First Class James Allen Campbell III

Sergeant First Class (SFG) James Allen Campbell service served seven years in the United States Army. His Military Occupational Specialty was Food Service Specialist. His awards, medals, decorations, badges and ribbons included : Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Marksman (Hand Grenade), Sharpshooter (M-16 Rifle) and Good Conduct Medal. Campbell was born July 27, 1953 to his parents, James and Mattie Campbell in Selma, AL in Dallas County where he graduated from Dallas County High School in Plantersville, AL in 1969. Campbell entered military service August 5 ,1975. He reported for military service at Fort Jackson, S.C., where he qualified to serve in meal preparations. He received training in food services for eight weeks at Ft. Sill, OK, and then served there for 18 months. He was transferred to Ft. Gordon, GA, for 2.5 years followed by deployment to Camp Castle in South Korea at the DMZ for one year. Next, he was assigned to the Headquarters of the 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley, KS for 21 months until 1982. Unfortunately, he had suffered severe injuries from kitchen machines cutting both hands which resulted in a medical discharge November 11, 1982 resulting in complete disability.

Following miliary service, SGT Campbell worked as a supervisor of inmates in meal preparations with the AL Department of Corrections 1983-1986. He used the G.I. Bill to attend Wallace Community College, Trenholm State Community College and Alabama State University. He completed training in radio and television broadcasting and received a B.S. Degree from Alabama State University in May, 2003.

SGT Campbell and his wife, Carrie, were married for 40 years before she passed. They had four children, nine grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. He and his wife, Irene, have been married nine years.

SGT Campbell’s possesses deep Christian faith as demonstrated by his membership and service with churches. He has served as a deacon with the Elyton Missionary Baptist Church in Plantersville, AL, as a deacon with the Potters Place Church in Selma, AL, and he has served in congregational care with Frazer Methodist Church in Montgomery, AL, visiting members in nursing homes. SGT Campbell has held membership in the Free Masons. He is a member of Disabled American Veterans and the American Legion.

SGT Campbell’s conclusions about his military service are, “It means that I was protecting the country as one individual along with other soldiers. It teaches how to conduct yourself as a soldier.” He would like future generations to remember him as trying to set goals and to his best and that they would want to be like him.

Petty Officer Third Class Danny Malcolm McDonald: Age 74

Petty Officer Third Class (PO3/E4) Danny Malcolm McDonald served four years in the United States Navy including tours in Vietnam. His naval enlistment classification (NEC) was quartermaster/navigator. His medals, citations, ribbons, decorations and badges included:

McDonald was born May 30, 1948 to his parents Eugene and Nan McDonald, in Montgomery, AL. He was primarily reared in Montgomery, and he graduated from Wetumpka High School, AL, in May 1967. He volunteered and joined the Navy two months before his graduation from high school so that he could choose the Navy as his branch of service.

McDonald completed13 weeks of Navy boot camp at Great Lakes, IL. He was assigned to the USS Westchester County-LST-1167. This was a Terrebonne Parish-class tank landing ship build for the United States Navy at the end of the Korean War. The ship served in the Vietnam War and was used to carry supplies and personnel and was damaged by limpet mines set by Viet Cong frogmen. It was repaired and later sold to the Turkish Navy and finally sunk as a target in 2014. The Westchester County transported troops and supplies between Okinawa and Vietnam. The ship went into overhaul on March 15, 1967 at Yokosuka, followed by refresher training which lasted through August 5th. The Westchester County spent the remaining months of 1967 carrying Marines and equipment between Yokosuka, Okinawa, and Vietnam. The LST served as a Mobile Riverine Force support ship in the Mekong Delta from October 24th through December 31, 1967. Westchester County spent the early weeks of 1968 continuing service as a Mobile Riverine support ship. On January 26th, the ship began a series of lifts from Okinawa and the Philippines to Vietnam. She underwent repair availability and training exercises from July 16 through September 22nd. The ship resumed duty with the Mobile Riverine Forces on September 22nd. On November 1st, while Westchester County lay anchored in the vicinity of Mỹ Tho, Vietnam, two giant underwater explosions ripped through it, killing 26 men. Viet Cong divers had attached limpet mines to the hull about amidships on the starboard side causing ruptured berthing compartments and fuel and storage tanks. Command-detonated mines were used extensively on "The Long Tau" (Saigon—Vũng Tàu). U.S. minesweepers normally operated between Nha Be south to the ocean, and South Vietnamese operated from Nha Be to Newport. The day following the explosion, the entire Mobile Riverine Force moved from Mỹ Tho to Đồng Tâm. After beaching at Đồng Tâm for temporary repairs, she returned to Yokosuka, via Subic Bay, on 2November 26th. Westchester County went into drydock at the United States Naval Ship Repair Facility where it remained until February 5, 1969. Upon completion of refresher training and upkeep, the ship got underway on March 10,1969 for "Operation Market Time" off the Vietnam coast. From July 5, 1969 through August 1969, the USS Westchester County joined in the first phase of following a restricted availability at Yokosuka which commenced on October 30th. The Wester County made stops at Camranh Bay, Da Nang, Hong Kong and Okinawa.

McDonald worked with steering and keeping navigation charts. He went with the ship on the Mekong River, the 12th longest river in the world. He was aboard when the Viet Kong sabotoged the LST attaching C-4 explosive from a pontoon at 3:22 a.m. in November 1968. Although 27 lost their lives, hesurvived but suffered injuries to his head, clavicle and shoulder. He was medevaced to a nearby medical ship, to military hospitals at Lon Bie, to Cam Ranh Bay and then to Japan for medical treatments. McDonald had a strong desire to return to his ship, and he did return to it where it was being repaired in Yokosuka, Japan. He then went with the ship patrolling off the coast of Vietnam resupplying the Army, returned to Japan and then for his third tour on the ship to Vietnam. McDonald’ last place of service was at the Naval Base Coronado, CA, for five months as a navigator on a small boat carrying supplies. He retired from military service there in 1971.

McDonald used the G.I. Bill to earn a B.A. Degree in Church Music with a minor in Voice from William Carey University in 1976. He also earned a Master’s Degree in Religious Education with a minor in Church Music from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1983. Using his musical, religious training, he worked as a choir director in the Linden Baptist Church in Linden, AL 1976-1980, and he worked at a church in Columbia, AL (name of church?) with music and youth 1983-1986. He returned to Montgomery, AL, and worked with the Veterans Administration first starting out as a file clerk and becoming a Rating Specialist determining the eligibility of veterans for benefits for 22 years retiring in 2009.

McDonald and his wife, Cindy, have been married almost 50 years, and they have two children and three grandchildren. They are active members of Eastmont Baptist Church in Montgomery, AL. As a volunteer, he serves as the director of the senior adult choir, Forever Young, and as the director of the Handbell Choir. He has served at several churches in the music ministry in the Montgomery area. He enjoys pond fishing and also deep sea fishing. He belongs to the Disabled American Veterans. McDonald maintains that the main focus for him and his wife is Jesus Christ.

McDonald conclusions about what his military service means to him are, “I wanted to serve my country. I like history, and I felt it was my duty to fill my place in the military just as my father did. I did my best for our country. I served with some great guys that did not make it home. I remember the guys in my compartment that were like my brothers. It is something that I won’t forget.


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