Last week, William “Jimmy” Phillips was presented with four service medals 72 years after he was first scheduled to receive them in a ceremony at the Woodlands of Middletown.
It was the latest in a series of stories about inspiring veterans from our coverage area.
Here’s a sampling of five such stories that have introduced us to members of our community who served and have wonderful stories to tell.
William “Jimmy” Phillips
In November 1946, PFC William “Jimmy” Phillips was discharged from an 11-month stint in the U.S. Army after World War II.
Phillips, 20 at the time, had a choice — stay at Fort Dix, N.J. where he was being separated and receive his service medals or catch a train back to Middletown and re-start his life.
He opted to go home.
That decision meant Phillips, 91, never received his medals until last week, nearly 72 years later.
On July 1, 1944, Carr landed on Omaha Beach in Normandy, France with the 125th Mechanized Calvary as D-Day was underway. He drove on to the beach in his armored car with water up to his chest.
More than 80 Modern World History students at the Hamilton Freshman School gathered to hear stories from the 99-year-old Carr last week about his service to the country that included participation in the Battle of the Bulge and the Liberation of the Dachau Concentration Camp.
Carr captivated his audience with details about his experiences and the toll that war takes on humanity.
Davidson completed 18 missions before his aircraft took on damaging fire during the 2nd Schweinfurt raid of Oct. 14, 1943.
He parachuted out of the burning craft and spent the final 19 months of the war as a prisoner of the German forces in Stalag Luft III. The camp was well known for “The Great Escape,” which inspired the popular World War II movie of the same name.
After the war, Davidson settled in Middletown, opened Davidson Photo Shop and started a family that includes six children, 10 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
Harold Andrews II
Harold Andrews II grew up in Hamilton and served his country in Vietnam with honor. So much so, that he was awarded two Bronze Stars for his service. How he wound up in the war and what he saw and faced on a daily basis is something that could easily be written for the big screen.
In November 2017, he sat comfortably in a living room chair of his Liberty Twp. home, where he now lives with his wife of 45 years, Isophene, and shared for the first time in decades, the details of how he went from a graduate of Badin High School into the Vietnam War.
Daily was assigned to a cargo ship when it allegedly was sunk by an enemy torpedo. His parents were told by U.S. officials all servicemen aboard the ship were killed. But Daily said the torpedo sailed under his ship, and sank a nearby vessel.
His parents had been told he was dead, so they were surprised when he returned home.
So what did a man who escaped death do after the war? He enlisted and served during the Korean War and Vietnam War. Daily, who enlisted in 1943 — then a 16-year-old high school freshman in Hamilton — retired from the service in 1970.