Home of the Brave
About 1-1/2 years ago, I wrote a blog post From Everyday Moments May Come Precious Memories where I noted my feelings, ties, and respect for my mom’s grandfather, John Carpenter Ford; her parents, Robert Gideon and Loretta Ford; and her brother, my uncle, John Austin Ford. The Ford family was intricately involved with me in my formative years. You know the saying, “It takes a village…”. Well, this was especially true in my life because I spent nearly as many days living with them as I did with living my parents–every chance I could!
Each of these Ford men bravely fought for their country during historic wars and conflicts. And, we can never be sure to what degree their lives and personalities changed because of their individual wartime circumstances and conditions. And, this is why I so appreciate them placing their lives on the line for us during these incursions.
Our Men Who Served
My maternal great-grandfather, John Carpenter Ford, was born January 15, 1864, (a Capricorn like myself), in the midst of the American Civil War, in Wake County, North Carolina (a Confederate state). The Civil War was the bloodiest war in America’s history taking the lives of about 600,000 men right on their own lands and among their own people! When “Grandpop” or “Pappaw” as we called him, enlisted for a five-year stint, he was nearly 25 years old. According to his military records, he served in Company D of the 17th Infantry Regiment. Reviewing the timeline of Indian Wars and the involvements of the 17th Infantry, his enlistment would have placed him in 1890 in the midst of the Apache Indian War in Arizona and New Mexico, and at the Sioux Indian disturbances in Wounded Knee, South Dakota, November 1890 – January 1891.
My great-grandfather lived to be nearly 100 and in 1961 was one of only two of the last surviving veterans of the Indian Wars. Ironically, in 1894, he married my great-grandmother, Mary Susan Morris, who claimed to be a full-blooded Cherokee from North Carolina.
John Carpenter Ford’s son, Robert Gideon “Roy” Ford, my maternal grandfather, at age 19 enlisted in the U.S. Army Signal Corps. On June 28, 1914, six assassins (five Serbs and one Bosnian Muslim) led by Gavrilo Princip killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife, Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg. Just weeks later Austria-Hungary invaded Serbia–adding fuel to the fire that exploded into the Great War. Fortunately, four months after Roy enlisted, World War I ended with the Treaty of Versailles on June 28, 1919. Shortly after his discharge from the Signal Corps in 1919, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and served on the “Big Island” on the Central Pacific Ocean from September 1920 until September 1922.
The Invasion of Italy was fought September 3-16, 1943, during World War II (1939-1945). My Uncle John Austin Ford was there having enlisted in the U.S. Army immediately following high school graduation. He was only 19. During the course of the invasion, Allied forces sustained 2,009 killed, 7,050 wounded, and 3,501 missing while German casualties numbered around 3,500. My uncle John was one of those wounded. Unfortunately, he lost his left eye. Following his injuries, he was awarded the Bronze Star, and Purple Heart Medals for his valor during the battle. Uncle Johnny passed away at the young age of 37, leaving a wife, a 15-year-old son, John, Jr., and a 5-month-old baby girl, Tammy, whom he loved dearly.
A Hearty Thank You to All Veterans of All Wars and Conflicts for your services to me and our country!