Three area WWII veterans to be honored Saturday

Published 12:39 pm Friday, November 10, 2023

Lincoln County’s state legislators will honor area Armed Forces veterans on Veterans Day, Saturday, Nov. 11.

The Lincoln County Veterans Day Celebration is sponsored by Sen. Jason Barrett, Rep. Vince Mangold, and Rep. Becky Currie. The event begins with a 5:30 p.m. dinner for veterans and their immediate families at the Lincoln Civic Center, followed by a public program at 6 p.m.

“We only have three World War II veterans left in our area — two from Lincoln County and one from Wesson,” Currie said. “We are going to give them each a resolution and just make it their night. Of course, we’re thanking all of our veterans on Veterans Day.”

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Those three veterans are R. E. Nettles, L. C. Jackson, and Alton Ricks. 

Army Sgt. Nettles, of Bogue Chitto, was one of the first two men to receive a Mississippi Veterans Honor Medal, presented in May 2022. Nettles joined the Army in 1943 and served more than two years during World War II prior to his 1946 discharge. He was stationed on islands throughout the South Pacific, including New Guinea and the Philippines.

Army Cpl. L. C. Jackson, of Brookhaven, celebrated his 100th birthday in March 2023. He was inducted into the Army in 1942 at Camp Shelby and underwent basic training as a truck driver at Fort Indiantown Gap in Pennsylvania. Jackson served with the 3449th Quartermaster Truck Company in the Philippines, Okinawa and Japan. He has received several ribbons and medals, and was discharged in November 1946. 

Army PFC. Alton Ricks, of Wesson, is 97, and served in occupied Japan in 1946. In August 1946, he began school at Copiah-Lincoln Community College, playing basketball for his cousin John Ricks on a team made up entirely of World War II veterans. In 1955, he returned to Co-Lin as basketball coach for 11 years. He was employed at Co-Lin for more than 34 years.

Less than one percent of the 16.1 million Americans who served during World War II are still living. At the beginning of 2023, only 119,550 remained, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. In Mississippi, as of the same date, there were only 911.