story goes like this:
This plaque which lists the names of 692 Rayon employees (see below) who served our country during WWII at one time hung in the entrance area to Rayon (now Reemay®). At some point, and it is still unclear when, the plaque was moved to the Cumberland Building. In the late 1990s, the plaque was taken down and put into storage. The next time the plaque was seen was in the back of a truck on the way to the dumpster. Thankfully, the plaque was rescued by several employees. The plaque found a new home in 2005 in Old Hickory Veterans Memorial Park (see www.ohvmp.org) . Below are the names of all 692 Rayon employees who served, bios of those who died, and a listing of those who were awarded medals.
|Click on a letter of the alphabet below to view the names of those Rayon employees that served our country during WWII.|
RAYON EMPLOYEES WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES FOR THEIR COUNTRY
First Lt. John W. Smith was killed in a plane crash
at Elgin Field, Florida, on March 4, 1942.
He was in charge of motor transport at Eglin Field and was
awaiting orders to transfer to the Paratroops.
At the time of his death, he was flying as an observer on a
“Bill” was a reserve officer and a graduate of
Clemson College, Greeneville, South Carolina.
He came to work here in September 1936 as a student operator and
was an engineer in the Mechanical Assistance Section at the time he left
the plant for active duty with the Air Forces in March 1941.
Bill was married and the father of a young
daughter. He was the son of
W.T. Smith of Greeneville, South Carolina.
Talmadge E. Davis, S 2/c, was killed in action on
August 9, 1942, in the opening battle of the Solomons.
His ship, the cruiser U.S.S. Quincy, was one of those which were
deployed on both sides of Savo Island in screening groups to protect
transports and supply ships unloading men and supplies to reinforce the
Marines, who had seized most of the key positions in the Guadalcanal-Tulagi
area. Two other heavy
cruisers were lost during the fierce close-range night battle.
Talmadge had been employed at the plant since
August 1934 at the time he entered the Navy in January 1942.
He worked in Plant 2 Spinning.
He was married.
His father, W.E. Davis, lives in Lebanon, and a brother and
sister work here: Howard P.
Davis in Plant 1 Spinning and Amanda Davis Apple in Skein Inspection.
Sergeant Murray E. Scott
Sgt. Murray E. Scott was stationed at Barksdale
Field, Louisiana, at the time of his death on December 26, 1942, in a
Murray, with seven other fliers, was on a scheduled
flight to Walterboro, South Carolina, when their B-24 bomber crashed
into a Louisiana swamp.
A graduate of Tennessee Tech at Cookeville, Murray
came to work here as a student operator in the Accounting Department in
June 1941, and was working as a clerk in the Cost Section at the time he
left for the service in August 1942.
He was the son of Mr. And Mrs. A.M. Scott of Bemis,
Ensign Walter Fisher Martin
Ens. Walter Fisher Martin was killed in a plane
crash at Tijuna, Mexico, on May 26, 1943, while returning from a flight
to a point in Mexico. He
had volunteered to fly there from his base at San Diego, California, to
bring back a Marine doctor. The
doctor was also killed in the crash, which was caused by inclement
Fisher started working here in June 1939.
He was a co-op student and had attended the University of
Tennessee and Georgia Tech, lacking only one quarter finishing his
college degree. At the time
he entered the Navy Air Corps as a flying cadet in March 1942, he was
working in the Mechanical Assistance Section.
He received his Navy pilot’s wings and commission
at Jacksonville, Florida, in November 1942.
Fisher was the son of Mr. And Mrs. Walter Martin of
Martha, Tennessee. His
father and one brother, Weldon, work in Plant 2 Spinning, another
brother, Vurden, works in Process Control, and his wife, Ravene Whitaker
Martin, works in the Employment Office.
Lieutenant Artis G. Railey
Lt. Artis G. Railey was killed in a plane crash in
Florida on July 7, 1943, while on a training flight.
Artis entered the Army in August 1941, as an
enlisted man. He later was
selected for training as an aviation cadet and received his wings and
commission at Blytheville, Arkansas, on January 14, 1943.
At the time of his death, Artis was flying as
squadron commander at the Montbrook Air Base, Williston, Florida.
A storm was the cause of the fatal crash of his plane.
He had been married less than a month.
An employee of Plant 1 Textile Area, Artis started
working at the plant in May 1938. He
was the son of Mrs. T.H. Railey, Joelton, Tennessee.
First Lieutenant John E. Isbell
First Lt. John E. Isbell was killed in action while
on a bombing mission over Austria on November 2, 1943. He was a bombardier on a Flying Fortress with the 32nd
“Jack” came to work here in July 1933, and was
working in 2A Laboratory when he left for service in the Air Forces in
August 1942. He took cadet
training and graduated as a bombardier.
He went to North Africa in 1943 and immediately started flying on
missions over Italy in the Flying Fortress “Georgia Peach.”
The “Peach” failed to return from the fatal mission of
November 2, 1943, and a few months later Jack was declared officially
killed in action. It has since been learned that he is buried in a small
cemetery at Monich Kirchen, Austria.
Jack’s younger brother, Albert, who was a
sergeant with the 104th Division Infantry, was killed in
action in Holland on November 30, 1944.
The boys were the sons of Albert E. Isbell,
Murfreesboro. Jack was
married and his son, young Jack, was born on November 10, 1943, a week
after his father’s death.
Private James G. Gleaves
Pvt. James G. Gleaves was killed in action in Italy
on November 4, 1943. He had
gone overseas as an Infantry replacement in September 1943 and his
family has never learned to what outfit he was assigned.
James was working in Plant 1 Spinning at the time
he entered the service in December 1942.
His Company service dated back to October 1934.
James was the son of Mrs. E.M. Barnes of Nashville.
He was married.
Paul J. Jones, Seaman, First Class
Paul J. Jones, S 1/c, lost his life as a result of
drowning in the Aleutians on December 27, 1943.
A small Navy boat in which he and another enlisted man and two
officers were making a routine trip from the base capsized near the
mouth of the harbor when it was caught in a “williwaw,” treacherous
North Pacific storm. Both
the enlisted men were drowned, in spite of every effort made to rescue
Paul entered the Navy in July 1942, having been
employed here since February 1941.
He worked in Plant 1 Textile.
He was the son of Mr. And Mrs. Marvin Jones of
Private Jack W. Hancock
Pvt. Jack W. Hancock was killed in action at Cape
Gloucester, New Britain, on January 7, 1944.
He was serving with the Third Battalion, Fifth Marines, First
Marine Division, at the time of his death.
The Division has a Presidential Unit Citation for its service
against the enemy in the Solomons.
Jack was the son of Mr. And Mrs. R.T. Hancock,
Nashville. He started
working here in September 1939, and at the time he went into the Marines
in December 1941 he was working in Plant 1 Textile.
Douglas Cockrell, Steward’s Mate, First Class
Douglas Cockrell, StM 1/c, lost his life as a
result of drowning on April 15, 1944, while in the performance of his
duty. He was serving in the
Douglas had been working here since July 1942 at
the time he left for the Navy in January 1943.
He was employed in Plant Service.
Douglas was married.
His mother, Lizzie K. Cockrell, lives on Route 1, Old Hickory.
T/Sgt. Cecil Evans, Jr., was killed in action while
on a bombing mission over Port Blair, South Andamon Island, April 15,
1944. He was carried as
missing in action until March of this year, when he was declared
officially dead by the War Department.
Cecil was the son of Mr. And Mrs. Cecil Evans of
Goodlettsville. He started
working at the plant here in May 1941 and was employed in Plant 1
Textile at the time he left for the Army in August 1942.
A member of the Ninth Bombardment Squadron, Tenth
Air Force, stationed at Calcutta, India, Cecil flew as flight engineer
on a B-24 and had completed around 33 missions.
On the mission which cost his life, his plane was attacked by
Japanese fighters and all members of the crew were killed except the
navigator, who parachuted out and was captured by the Japanese, remaining a
prisoner until August 29, 1945. It
was the navigator who, after his release, informed Cecil’s parents of
the details of his death.
Cecil had been awarded the Silver Star, the
Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal.
His mother works in 2A Reels.
Howard O. Garrett, EM 2/c, was declared officially
dead on January 16, 1946, after having been missing since May 14, 1944.
He was serving aboard the submarine U.S.S Gudgeon.
The Gudgeon left Johnson Island on April 7, 1944,
on a West Pacific patrol with Howard and 64 other officers and men
aboard. The submarine was
presumed to be lost after it failed to answer three radio messages, the
last on May 14.
Howard had been working here since September 1941
at the time he entered the Navy in October 1942.
He was employed in 2A Reels.
His parents, Mr. And Mrs. Mark Garrett, live at Mt.
Juliet. Two brothers and a
sister are working here: Horace
L. Garrett and George H. Garrett in Plant 2 Spinning and Dolly Garrett
in 2A Reels.
Willie L. Jones
Pvt. Willie L. Jones was killed in action in France
on July 26, 1944, while serving with the 359th Infantry
Regiment, 90th Division.
He had already been awarded the Purple Heart for wounds received
previous to the time of his death.
Employed at the plant in January 1932, Willie was
working in Plant 1 Spinning at the time he went into the service in
March 1943. He was married.
His parents, Mr. And Mrs. Jess Jones, live in
Harold G. Turner
Lt. Harold G. Turner was killed in action in France
on August 15, 1944, while serving with the 32nd Armored
Regiment, Third Armored Division, in the drive across France.
Harold was working in the Power Department when he
entered the service in June 1941, as an enlisted man.
He had been employed here since July 1934. He was chosen to attend Officer Candidates School and got his
bars and commission at Ft. Knox.
Harold was married.
His father, W.L. Turner, lives in Lewisburg, Kentucky.
James W. Ray
Capt. James W. Ray was killed in action in France
on September 1, 1944, while serving as commander of a tank company in
the Fifth Armored Division. He
had already been awarded the Purple Heart for wounds received in action
and the Bronze Star for meritorious achievement against the enemy.
James was one of our first men to join the colors,
having entered the service in December 1940, as an enlisted man.
He had been working here since March 1937 and was employed in 2B
He was selected to attend Officer Candidates School
and received his commission at Ft. Riley, Kansas.
He went overseas in February 1944.
James was married and the father of a young
daughter. His parents, Mr.
And Mrs. L. G. Ray, live at Hendersonville, and a brother, Frank Ray,
works in Minor Construction.
Hubert C. Jernigan
Pvt. Hubert C. Jernigan was killed in action in
France on October 6, 1944. He
was a member of the 317th
Infantry Regiment, 80th Division, having joined that
outfit as a replacement only a few days before his death.
Hubert had been working here about eight months
when he left Plant 1 Spinning for the Army in November 1943. He was married and the father of a young son.
His parents, Mr. And Mrs. N.D. Jernigan, live at Algood,
Pfc. Winfrey H. Hunter was wounded in action in the
Philippines on January 2, 1945, and died on January 12.
He was serving on Leyte with the 873rd Airborne
“Hupy,” as he was generally known, was married
and the father of two children. He
had been working here since May 1930 and was employed in the Power
Department at the time he left for the Army in January 1943.
His mother, Mrs. A.E. Hunter, lives in Old Hickory, and a brother, Ed Hunter, works in Plant 1 Spinning.
Frank M. Ballinger
Sgt. Frank M. Ballinger was killed in action in the
Philippines on February 21, 1945, while serving with the 947th
Frank had been employed here since May 1934 at the
time he left for the service as a member of the National Guard in
February 1941. He was
working in Plant 1 Textile.
He was married and the father of a young son.
His parents, Mr. and Mrs. Ford Ballinger, live on Route 1, Old
Hickory. A brother, Sam,
works in Maintenance, and another brother, Ford, is one of our service
men recently returned home from Japan.
Lieutenant Michael C. Callahan
Lt. Michael C. Callahan was killed in action in
Germany on April 7, 1945, while serving with the 36th
Engineer Combat Group.
“Mike” went to North Africa in April 1943 as a
platoon commander with the 378th Engineer Battalion.
The outfit went into Southern France and Mike was later
transferred to the 36th Group and made a company commander.
His outfit was building a floating treadway bridge at Heilbronn,
Germany, under heavy fire, at the time he met his death on April 7,
1945. He was shot by a
German sniper during the height of construction of the bridge, which was
completed, enabling tanks to cross to support the Infantry on the
opposite side. The bridge
was later named for Mike.
Mike started working here as a student operator in
July 1941. He was a reserve
officer and a graduate of the University of Tennessee, and was employed
in the Works Engineering Section as a draftsman at the time he was
called to active duty in June 1942.
Mike was the son of H.L. Callahan, Superintendent
of Schools, Monroe County, Tennessee.
James C. Manis
Cpl. James C. Manis died in England as a result of
a motor vehicle accident which occurred on June 21, 1945. He was serving with the 6905th Motor Transport
Before entering the service in October 1943, James
worked in Plant 1 Textile Area. He
had been employed here since August 1943.
James was married and the father of a young daughter whom he had never seen. He was the son of Mrs. James C. Manis, Sr., of Old Hickory
James N. Dickson
Capt. James N. Dickson was killed in action in Italy on October 17, 1944, while serving with the 133rd Infantry Regiment, 83rd Division. He had gone to North Africa in May 1944 and on to Italy, reaching the Italian front only a few days before his death.
James had been working here for about four and one-half years when he entered the army in September 1941 as an enlisted man. He was later selected to go to Officer Candidates School and graduated in June 1942.
He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Joe Dickson, Van Leer, Tennessee.
William V. Smithson
Pvt. William V. Smithson died on November 24, 1944, as a result of wounds received in action in Germany. He had gone overseas as a replacement and joined the 18th Infantry Regiment, First Division, in Belgium in September 1944.
Bill left 2B Textile Area in October 1942 to enter the Army. He had been working here since January 1941. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. T.V. Smithson, live in Mt. Juliet, and a brother, Winfield T. Smithson, works in Plant 1 Spinning.
Mar. Walter R. Johnson, Chemical Warfare
The Distinguished Flying Cross
1st Lt. William J. O’Donnell
The Air Medal
1st Lt. William J. O’Donnell
The Purple Heart
1st Lt. John M. Green, Infantry
These do not include the Purple Heart awarded posthumously to those killed in action.
The Soldiers’ medal
T/4 Clarence Dorris, Military Police (Avn)
Lt. Alfred C. Bone, Infantry
The Croix de Guerre
Maj. Walter R. Johnson, chemical Warfare