By Christy Porter, Managing Editor
Five of the nine sons of Leonard and Leota Mansfield served in the U.S. Military.
The oldest son, George (1921 – 2003) was an Army Medic in WWII. A portion of his service was spent as a POW, after capture by German forces. George and Lewis both served in the European Theatre during the same time period; in a story published in “The Licking News” on Nov. 7, 2019, Lewis shared the story of locating George and going to see him.
George fought at Normandy Beach and was a skilled marksman. He made a career in the military and became a Master Sergeant. He also worked civil service at Fort Leonard Wood. His career included working for the Terminal Railroad of St. Louis.
Lewis (1924 – 2020) was a Paratrooper with the 101st Airborne Division – 82nd Airborne Screaming Eagles during WWII. He was drafted in 1941, serving five years, ending his military career with an honorable discharge in 1946 as a Staff Sergeant.
His service included 57 jumps and fighting in the last major German offensive, The Battle of the Bulge. “I depended on my mother’s prayers and hope,” stated Lewis in a 2019 interview. He was among the last of the troops to return to the U.S.
Lewis accrued numerous recommendations, honors, medals and ribbons.
Leonard “Leroy” is a 1950 Licking High School graduate. He was drafted into the Marines and began his service January 28, 1952. Leroy and his sweetheart, Dorothy, were both in college in Springfield when he was drafted.
He was sent to the Marine Corp. Recruit Station in San Diego, Calif., for basic training. He was then stationed in Memphis, Tenn., and from there to Jacksonville, Fla.
While on leave from boot camp he came home and married Dorothy, who joined him. While expecting daughter Nancy, Dorothy returned to her parents in Joplin.
Leroy served as an aircraft mechanic and in maintenance, “I worked with the aircraft, on engines, etc., and I loved it,” shares Leroy. Leroy fulfilled his military commitment January 28, 1954, returning home one week before the birth of his daughter.
In the fall of ’54, Leroy continued his college education at Pittsburg State University in Kansas, also playing football for the first time. He was inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame after winning the Small College Football Championship in 1957. He went on to become All American and played a season after being drafted with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Leroy coached football and taught athletics in California before going to Ritenour High School in Overland, Mo., near St. Louis. He became the District Education Coordinator, and he and Dorothy returned to his old home place in Sherrill when he retired.
Just as George and Lewis served in close proximity, so also would twins Harold and Ferrell. Both served in the Air Force from August 1965 – August 1968. They enlisted together, along with nephew Ron Hamby. They served three years and one day, being given a time allowance for serving in a remote region.
Harold and Hamby served in communications. Harold began basic training in Amarillo, Texas, then transferred to McCoy Air Force Base in Orlando, Fla., where Farrell was stationed. The Air Force chose to send Harold to Tin City, Alaska.
He served with Strategic Air Command (SAC) working with B52’s and K135 Tankers. Farrell transferred to Tin City to serve with Harold, actually arriving before Harold by 10 days.
Harold continued his career with the St. Louis Police Department before retiring after 30-years, and continues today with Marshall Security Services, providing security to Federal Court Houses in the St. Louis area. Harold and his wife Bonnie reside in Fenton, and also have a home in Edgar Springs.
Farrell served in the Air Force in Administration, after hoping to be a paramedic, MOS (Military Occupation Specialty), which was not available at the time. He joined the Air Force, knowing he would soon be drafted.
“I was familiar with the Army as I went to work with my dad at Fort Leonard Wood, so I enlisted with the Air Force,” says Farrell.
He completed basic training at McCoy Air Force Base in Orlando, Fla. In addition to serving at the same remote radar site in Alaska as Harold, Farrell’s service also included a stint in Okinawa where he worked refueling aircraft and with the K135 Tankers.
Farrell retired in 2012 with 20-years of military and civil service, which included being a “chow hog” (cook) at Fort Leonard Wood. “That was the best job I ever had,” says Farrell. He also held supply, supervisory and other civil service positions at Fort Leonard Wood. He and his wife Patsy reside in Flat.
Earl, Elvin, and twins Dale and Dean, like their father before them, were not called to duty due to their age at the time of a draft or wartime.
We salute the Mansfield brothers for their service in the U.S. military.