2 Lincoln County veterans receive first Mississippi Veterans Honor Medals

Published 4:00 pm Friday, May 20, 2022

Two Lincoln County residents are the first to be awarded Mississippi Veterans Honor Medals.

Army Air Force Staff Sgt. Cecil Rhodes, of Brookhaven, and Army Sgt. R. E. Nettles, of Bogue Chitto, were presented the medals by former Senator Sally Doty this week in a special ceremony at Brookhaven VFW Capt. Danny D. Entrican Post 2618. Doty was also able to award the medal posthumously to her father, Army Sgt. Charles Burchfield, who died in 2016.

“I authored this bill in the Legislature to honor all Mississippi veterans for their service,” Doty said. “It was bittersweet to also award the medal posthumously to my father, Charles Burchfield, who served in Korea. … So honored to be a part.”

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During the 2020 regular session, the State Legislature created the MVHM Program to be administered by the State Veterans Affairs Board to honor, recognize and thank Mississippi veterans for their honorable military service.

A proclamation from Gov. Tate Reeves issued for the presentation of the medals to Rhodes and Nettles read, in part: “I, Tate Reeves, Governor of the State of Mississippi, do hereby proclaim Staff Sergeant Cecil Rhodes of Brookhaven and Sergeant R.E. Nettles of Bogue Chitto as the inaugural recipients of the Mississippi Veterans Honor Medal and encourage all Mississippians to join me in thanking these and all veterans for their service.”

Staff Sgt. Rhodes grew up in Neshoba County and was drafted into the Army Air Force in September 1942, serving at bases in California before receiving orders for overseas duty during World War II. He arrived in England in May 1944, where he worked as a statistical clerk for the 8th Air Force. Honorably discharged in November 1945 as staff sergeant, Rhodes returned home to Mississippi.

Sgt. Nettles joined the U.S. Army in 1943 and served more than two years during World War II before his discharge in 1946. He was stationed on islands throughout the South Pacific, including New Guinea and the Philippines.

St. Burchfield honorably served in the Korean Conflict as commander of an M4 Sherman Tank, and rose to the rank of platoon sergeant in the 45th Infantry Division 179th Tank Company.