Donald Jakeway, US Army, 508th PIR
Don Jakeway enlisted in the U.S. Army at the age of 18 in October 1942, the same year that he graduated from high school. Don volunteered for the paratroopers and after initial training at Camp Toccoa, he was sent to Camp Blanding where the 508th had been activated. After jump training at Ft. Benning, he and the rest of the 508th were sent to Europe where they jumped into history. Don jumped with the 508th into Normandy and again in The Netherlands where he was wounded. He was back with his unit for the Battle of the Bulge where he was wounded once again.
Edgar Harrell, USMC, USS Indianapolis Survivor
On July 16th 1945, The USS Indianapolis departed from San Francisco for the American B-29 base on Tinian island with a top-secret cargo that would ultimately put and end to World War II — components for the first operational atomic bombs. After a record run, covering 5,300 miles in only ten days, the Indianapolis successfully delivered her cargo on July 26, 1945, and was ordered to set a course from Guam to the Leyte Gulf in the Philippines to prepare of the invasion of Japan. Traveling unescorted, at fourteen minutes past midnight on July 30, 1945, she was hit by two Japanese torpedoes midway between Guam and Leyte, sending her to a watery grave in twelve minutes. Of the 1,196 men aboard, about 900 sailors and Marines entered the water. Due to a series of Navy debacles, no one knew of their plight. Five horrifying days later, 317 men who had survived the terror or shark attacks, hypothermia, severe dehydration and salt-water hallucinations, were accidentally spotted and rescued .
Jimmy Gentry, 2nd Battalion, 232nd Infantry Regiment, Easy Company
Jimmy Gentry was born on November 28th, 1925, and was one of nine children who grew up in a working-class Williamson County family during the depression. Franklin, Tennessee was a small, intimate community surrounded by fields and woods, and by unspoiled streams during the days of his boyhood. After the death of his father, he became an expert hunter, trapper, and fisherman in order to provide for his struggling family. Jimmy Gentry was a noted high school athlete, and in 1944 he entered the US Army as an infantryman. Assigned to the European Theatre of Operations (ETO), Mr. Gentry served with the 2nd Battalion, 232nd Infantry Regiment, Easy Company of the famed 42nd Infantry Division (Rainbow Division). He was awarded two Bronze Stars for two separate engagements agains the enemy: 1) he volunteered to run through the streets of Wurzburg, German under fire to retrieve needed ammunition; and 2) he took charge of rafts to cross the Danube River while under fire in order to get his men to the other side of the river. Mr. Gentry was with the division when it liberated Dachau concentration camp in April 1945. He was discharged in 1946 at the rank of staff sergeant. After the war, he returned to Franklin and became on elf Williamson County’s most widely-known citizens. Mr. Gentry served as a teacher and a coach for over a half century. Mr. Gentry is also a published author of the book “the American Life”, which chronicles his account of surviving the horrors of war and his return to civilian life in Williamson County.
Other Attending Veterans (list not complete):
Bill Potter, 2014 Special Guest Speaker
William “Bill” Potter is an independent scholar and historian who teaches, writes and lectures from a Biblical/Providential perspective. He is a popular conference and university speaker and leads tours of American battlefields and other historic sites in the United States and Europe, including Normandy. He also teaches history in home-school co-ops and consortiums and enjoys speaking at father/son retreats. Mr. Potter is the leading historian for Landmark Events, a company specializing in teaching on the ground where great history-changing events occurred. They emphasize teaching the new generations to recognize the hand of God in our nation’s past and in all of history and to interpret based on the truths of God’s Word. Bill has been married to his wife Leslie for 40 years during which time they have home-educated their eight children. He is an elder at Chalcedon Presbyterian Church (RPCUS) of Cumming, Georgia.