By LEIGH C. MERRIFIELD
News & Journal Editor
Local residents are reminded that on Tuesday, November 11th, Shinnston will salute its local veterans with a parade followed by a program at the American Legion Post Home on Bridge Street and a free luncheon that is open to the public and will be prepared by the American Legion Post #31 Auxiliary.
Shinnston Lions Club President David Minor has announced that three local gentlemen will serve as Parade Marshals. They are Ralph N. Anderson, Ray J. Moran, and Cecil C. Spencer.
“We invite everyone to come out for the parade and the ensuing program and luncheon,” Minor stated. “We want all of our veterans as well as their families to know just how much we appreciate their service.”
Ralph Anderson is the son of the late Albert “Pete” and Nelle Anderson. Ralph served in the U.S. Army from July 9, 1952 to July 9, 1954. He completed his 16 weeks of basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri in Infantry and Combat Engineers.
Ralph remained at Fort Leonard Wood at the Sixth Armor Division Headquarters until he was discharged.
The Anderson name is well recognized in the Shinnston area. The family owned and operated Anderson’s Chevrolet Garage in Shinnston for years; Ralph served as a mechanic there while helping his father run the business. They also operated the Anderson Hereford Farm on Janes Hill for years.
Ralph was married to the late Norma Curry Anderson and they had three children: one son (deceased) and two daughters – Cindy Scott and Krista Yopp. Mr. Anderson has three grandchildren and five great-grandchidren.
Fairmont born Ray J. Moran enlisted in the US Marine Corp soon after graduating from East Fairmont High School in 1964. He completed his basic training at Paris Island, SC and was stationed at Camp LeJune, NC for a year before being deployed to the Mediterranean for maneuvers with French Marines in 1965.
Shortly after his return from Europe, Ray received orders to deploy to Vietnam. His tour began in DaNang and finished at Tam Ky. During his tour, he participated with 1st Battalion, 5th Marines at Hill 54 and then transferred to a CAC unit where he resided in Vietnam villages with several South Vietnamese Army soldiers as part of a Combined Action Company. This proved to be one of the most effective counterinsurgency tools developed during that conflict. CAC operated from 1965 to 1971; it was a program characterized by the placement of approximately 7-13 Marines from Marine Rifle Squad, augmented by a US Navy Corpsman and strengthened by a Vietnamese Militia Platoon consisting of older youth and elderly men in or adjacent to a rural Vietnamese village.
While touring Vietnam Sergeant Moran, then Corporal Moran, received several decorations including “good conduct”, “Vietnam Medal”, and a “Vietnam Campaign Medal”. While in the CAC Unit, Moran was also awarded a Vietnamese citation for bravery, comparable to the US Military’s Bronze Star.
Following his tour, Sergeant Moran was stationed in Quantico, VA, where he completed Non-Commissioned Officer School and further served by training Marine Officer Candidates in OCS School until he was honorably discharged in 1968.
He returned to West Virginia following his discharge and married the former Patty Rose of Shinnston; they have been married for 48 years and have two children.
Ray retired from Robinson Run Coal mines in 1999 due to a service related illness attributed to his tour in Vietnam and exposure to agent-orange.
Cecil C. Spencer was born in Frankfort, WV and grew up in Century in Barbour County, one of nine children. He graduated with the final class to graduate from Philippi High School in 1963.
During the summer following his graduation, Cecil enlisted in the US Army and completed his basic training at Fort Knox, KY. He took advanced training as a Dental Technician and a Combat Medic.
He and other troops spent ten days on a transport crossing the North Atlantic in December of 1963 and arrived in Berlin, Germany just prior to Christmas. Cecil recalls several times going through Checkpoint Charlie, the name given to the Berlin Wall crossing point separating communist East Berlin from free West Berlin. He witnessed the devastation that still remained from World War II in the controlled sector of Berlin.
Cecil served two years assigned to the US Army Hospital in Berlin where he was a Dental Technician. In 1965, he was assigned to Fort Mead, MD with duty station at Vint Hill Farm, VA. He was discharged from the Army in July of 1966 with the rank of Spec 5.
Upon his return he worked for King Knob Coal before becoming employed by Monongahela Power in 1968. He retired from Allegheny Power in 2001.
Cecil has been active with the American Legion where he has held various offices and is presently serving as Adjutant of Shinnston American Legion Post #31. He has three sons: Eugene, who resides in Harrisville, NY; Andrew, who resides in Whitehall, WV; and Bradley, who resides in Adams Center, NY.
The community is strongly encouraged to attend next Friday’s events as the cooperative effort of the Shinnston Lions Club, the Bice-Ferguson Museum, and the American Legion Auxiliary is to pay homage to these and all Veterans for their sacrifice for their country. Your attendance will reflect the appreciation of all of us for their service to the United States of America.