JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – 11 servicemen were forever honored with their names engraved at the Washington County/Johnson City Veterans’ Memorial in time for the Memorial Day ceremony Monday.
The 11 men either died during their service or were taken as prisoners of war. They served in World War I & 2 and Vietnam.
It is the largest addition the memorial has made since it opened in 2011. Only two names have been added before, the most recent being in 2019.
The fallen servicemen were found through extensive research by the memorial’s historian Allen Jackson.
Jackson, an Air Force veteran from 1980 to 2006, has made it his mission since 2008 to find the records of fallen Washington County, Tennessee veterans forgotten over time.
“There’s an old saying with it there too, that a veteran dies twice,” Jackson said. “The first time is the physical death, and the second death is when no one says their name, no one remembers them, then that’s a complete death.”
Of the 11 men, six died during their service:
- Jack Lee Cousins (1892-1918), raised in Johnson City, died in California of Spanish Flu during World War I
- Thomas Edward Treadway (1889-1918), born in Chuckey, died off the coast of Scotland onboard the HMS Otranto after it was struck by another ship in a storm during World War I
- Roll Hodge (1897-1916), born in Bristol, Tenn., raised in Washington College, died in Battle of Albert in France during World War I at age 18.
- Raymond Lester Broyles (1921-1945), born in Chuckey, died in Germany during World War II
- Wallace Herbert Dunbar (1925-1944) born in Chuckey, died in Normandy, France on June 19, just days after he landed on the beach
- Henry Roy Black Jr. (1921-1944) raised in Johnson City, died in the sinking of the U.S.S. Shark off the coast of Taiwan
Additionally, five prisoners of war were added to the backside of the memorial.
- Allen Stephens Alford – WWII
- Edd C. Hunter – WWII
- William Thomas Miller – WWII
- James Neal Tomblin – WWII
- Jon David Black – Vietnam, brother of Henry Roy Black Jr.
Jackson worked to track down and verify these fallen servicemen to have them honored at the memorial.
He has collaborated with other researchers to write books about East Tennessee veteran history and contributed to veteran gravesite databases.
“Lot of it’s just dogged research really and then plain luck on others,” Jackson said. “Lot of times I’ll find gravemarkers in the cemeteries and they’ll show a certain date or something will look peculiar.”
One of those “plain luck” finds was Roll Hodge.
Hodge was originally born in Bristol, Tennessee but raised in rural Washington County. Hodge enlisted with the British Army before the United States got involved in World War I.
At the time, it was illegal for an American to do so. Jackson said Hodge likely told British officers he was Canadian.
He found Hodge’s grave while looking at headstones at Salem Cemetery near Washington College, but noticed an odd marking on the grave.
“I run across a gravemarker that had Roll Hodge. What caught my eye was what they actually call a dead man’s penny,” Jackson said. “It was actually a little medallion that was sent by the King of England for all the men who had died in the British service.”
Jackson then found Hodge’s British service record and confirmed he died in battle in France at age 18.
Another name tracked down by Jackson: Raymond Lester Broyles, who died in Germany in World War II.
Broyles’ nieces and nephews were at the ceremony, honored to see their uncle forever remembered.
“It means a lot. Dad died two years ago and I know he’d appreciated this today,” said Rick Broyles, nephew of Raymond Broyles. “I’d like to have met him, but I didn’t. We’re just real thankful to have his name up here and that’s he’s being recognized.”
Jackson also tracked down Henry Roy Black Jr. of Johnson City, who died on the USS Shark – a Navy submarine sunk by the Japanese near Taiwan.
Coincidentally, Jackson found a connection to another fallen Johnson City serviceman already known to the memorial.
In the same battle it was sunk, the USS Shark sunk the Arisan Maru, a Japanese freighter. Almost 1800 American POWs were onboard the Arisan Maru, but the ship was not marked as carrying prisoners of war.
Only nine Americans survived. Among the dead, was Johnson City native Herman Richard Bouton.
Jackson found another connection to Black – his brother. Jon David Black was a graduate of the first-ever class at the Air Force Academy. His plane was shot down in Vietnam, and he was captured as a POW.
Black and his brother now both have their names on the memorial.
“As long as we can do all the research and put it together and pass that name on to the next generation and they have it, then the veterans will never be lost,” Jackson said.
Jackson started his work compiling names of fallen Washington County veterans in 2008. He has helped add over 350 names to the memorial, an overwhelming majority of which were added at the memorial’s opening in 2011.
He said he will continue his work, hoping to find all the fallen Washington County veterans lost to time.