Mountain View, Stone County, Arkansas
Our Stone County Sons
The dedication sentiment is nearly identical to that found in Independence County at Batesville - and the grief at their loss is likely no less heartfelt.
The great oceans of the world are a long way from the mountains that surround this little village. But the men listed here all managed to travel across them in defense of the nation in several wars. Some were only sons, a few were brothers and cousins. All stood to serve when asked and many of them were just 18 or barely 19 when they died.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++Tec5 Cleo Caston, was one of 1,015 American soldiers to die when the British transport ship HMT Rohna was struck by a German guided missile on 27 November 1943.
Donald C. Weigart and his older brother George P Weigart left home to sail with the merchant fleet, both as an Ordinary Seaman aboard the Liberty Ship SS Charles Henderson. The Henderson was quite successful as Liberty Ships went ... she made nearly a dozen safe crossings of the Atlantic. Not incident free, but she did her part to support the war effort with men and materials.
On April 9, 1944, the Henderson was off loading 2,000 tons of bombs for the US Army Air Corp at Bari, Italy. Without warning a burst of flames was seen coming from the No. 5 hold and moments later the ship was torn apart by a massive explosion. Debris, and the seaborne shock wave, damaged every other ship in the port. Parts of the Henderson landed quite far inland and three other ships caught fire.
The Weigart borthers and 40 shipmates were lost in the explosion along with 42 US Navy Armed Guard crew and 267 Italian stevedores. Over 1,600 civilians and an uncounted number of allied military personnel were injured by the blast, the shock wave or the falling debris.
On New Year's Day, 1945, PFC Argus J. Adams Jr was killed in action while fighting with the 16th Infantry of the 1st Division. The division, known as "The Big Red One" had gone ashore for Operation Torch in November of 1942 and continued into Italy before returning to England to replenish and train again. They men went back to European soil at Normandy on June 6, 1944. Six months later the regiment was working its way through Belgium and taking part in the Battle of The Bulge. At the end of the war the 16th had lost 1,250 officers and men during its 443 days of combat.
Argus left a wife and young son at home. The son, Donald, spent the full hitch in the US Air Force, retiring as a M/Sgt.
Argus' younger brother S/1c Vonceal Adams was serving aboard the USS Halligan (DD-584). The ship had been part of the support fleet that took President Roosevelt to the Teheran Conference in November of 1943. During 1944 the Halligan was sailing the waters of the Pacific, taking part in the invasion of the Marshall Islands. At Leyete Gulf Japanese bombs straddled the ship - but she escaped damage as the bombs did not explode. Halligan continued to fight in other actions and was part of the fleet that sailed to Iwo Jima.
On March 26th, 1945, USS Halligan and her crew were again in the thick of the fight at Okinawa when she hit a floating mine and was sunk, taking about half of the 300 man crew in the subsequent explosions.
The stories of war come back to every corner of our nation when we send our youngsters abroad. Unfortunately we don't always get to hear those stories firsthand.