Alabama Soldiers' Stories

​Hidden away where most of us never see, there are words engraved in the memories of mothers and fathers. Sons and daughters. Brothers and sisters. Wives and Husbands. Words that forever remind the ones who loved of the ones they knew - who served, who fought, who died.  The Alabama Veterans Memorial Foundation is proud to share a few of these memories with you.

​Additional stories of Alabama veterans appear in the commemorative book Identifying Courage. For more information, click here.

Heroism in the Phillipines:  The Story of Earl Brake


In a letter he sent home the day he turned 21, Earl Brake wrote,  "I'm trying to keep a smile on my face even though it was so hot here today I thought I was going to die." Truth was, they say Earl Brake could've grinned 24 hours a day. . . Read More

The  Story of Lemuel Byrd​ Peterson, Lost in the Pacific in World War II:


His real name was Lemuel Byrd Peterson, but, like all the boys in the Peterson family, he wound up with the nickname of Pete. He had blonde hair and blue eyes, and those who knew him say he was one heck of a basketball player who would do anything for his team. He was born in 1918 . . . Read More

Paying the Ultimate Price in WWII:  The Story of Neal Snell


Picture if you will a red Coca-Cola truck rumbling along a gravel road on a hot South Alabama morning not really so long ago. In the little town of Asbury, everybody knew everybody and everybody knew 25-year-old Neal Snell. He was the Coca-Cola man. . . Read More

Killed in Okinawa:  The Story of Jay Welba Whitaker, Jr


During the Battle for Okinawa, U.S. Marine Corps PFC Jay Welba Whitaker, Jr., was injured and died from his wounds. He was 19 years old . . . Read More

The Story of Bill (Matthew) Leonard, Veteran of Korea and Vietnam:

Bill Leonard was born in Birmingham, Alabama, on November 29, 1929.    He joined the Army in 1947 at the age of 18 and became a career military man.  During his service he was married and had five children. The family of seven had an opportunity to travel extensively all over the world . . . Read More

The Story of Tommy Hill, Killed in Vietnam:

In a black and white photograph taken when he was just a little boy, Tommy Hill of New Castle, Alabama, gives the camera a big smile.  He is dressed in his favorite outfit – a soldier’s uniform . . . Read More

The Story of William C. Gorgas, Surgeon General of the Army:

William Crawford Gorgas (1854-1920) was a pioneer in the field of public health and tropical medicine. His work in eradicating yellow fever in Panama made possible the construction of the Panama Canal. Gorgas served as U.S. Army surgeon general, received honorary degrees from seven different universities, won honors from several foreign countries for his service to public health, and fought tirelessly to improve sanitary conditions throughout South America and Africa. . . Read More

The Story of Lee Otis Battle, Lost at Sea in World War I:

Back in 1917, if you were a young man in the small South Alabama town of Andalusia, you may have enjoyed a Sunday afternoon horse and buggy ride around the Public Square with your girlfriend . . . Read More

The Story of James Malcomb, Killed in World War I:

 

 James Malcomb was one of the first casualties from Andalusia, Alabama, in WWI.  He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Marion A. Malcomb.  He lost is life in action on September 13, 1918, in the Battle of Argonne Forest in France . . . Read More

The Story of Trey Wilbourn, Casualty of Desert Storm:

 

James W. (Trey) Wilbourn, III was born in 1962 in Huntsville, Alabama as the only son of Joyce and J.N. Wilbourn.  His mother describes him as “thoughtful, compassionate, caring – just a very good son.”   . . . Read More

The Story of John Bruce Beveridge, Korean War Casualty:

 

John Bruce Beveridge was born and raised in Bay Minette, Alabama.  He was called Sonny by his family and friends.   After high school he attended Marian Military Institute and later married Velma Black . . . Read More