Veterans Day 2017
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to the 15 men and women recently inducted into the Arkansas Military Veterans’ Hall of Fame. Of the 15 inductees, the Hall of Fame selected 10 “exclusively for their brave military service to our country,” while it selected an additional five for their “combined military and civilian service to our community, state, and nation.”
I am proud to note that eight of these American heroes hail from the Fourth Congressional District of Arkansas, serving in conflicts ranging from World War II to Vietnam, as well as Iraq and Afghanistan. This speech is simply not enough time to recognize their courage and sacrifice for our nation. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent to submit to the record a brief biography of each of the Fourth District Heroes honored by the Arkansas Military Veterans’ Hall of Fame and I extend my thanks to all those who served as we recognized Veterans Day. I yield back.
Biographies of Fourth Congressional District Inductees (as provided by the AMVHOF):
- Chief Petty Officer Adam Lee Brown, deceased (Killed in Action), Hot Springs, U.S. Navy, Iraq (two tours), Afghanistan (two tours). Awards include the Silver Star Medal for Gallantry in Action, the Bronze Star Medal with Valor, the Purple Heart Medal, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, and three Navy Achievement Medals.
- Specialist Four Roger K. Hollinger, Sr., deceased, Prattsville, U.S. Army, Vietnam. Awards include the Silver Star Medal with First Oak Leaf Cluster for Gallantry in Action, the Bronze Star Medal for Exceptionally Meritorious Combat Achievement, and the Army Commendation Medal for Valor.
- Major General Billie (Bill) Branham Lefler, deceased, Hot Springs Village, U.S. Army, Vietnam. Awards include two Distinguished Service Medals, the Legion of Merit Medal, and the Army Commendation Medal.
- Major General Sidney Sanders McMath, Deceased, Magnolia, U.S. Marine Corp, World War II. Awards include the Silver Star Medal for Gallantry in Action, and the Legion of Merit Medal for Valor.
- Colonel Billie Ray Wood, Mena, U.S. Army, Vietnam. Awards include the Legion of Merit Medal, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Army Soldier’s Medal, the Bronze Star Medal for exceptionally meritorious combat achievement, two Meritorious Service Medals, 22 Air Medals, and three Army Commendation Medals.
- Technician Fourth Grade Doyle Ray Collie, deceased, New DeRoche, U.S. Army, World War II. Awards include the Purple Heart Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, and the European African Middle Eastern Theater Ribbon with four Bronze Service Stars.
- Lieutenant Colonel Mary Virginia Erdman, Hot Springs Village, U.S. Army Reserves, Desert Storm. Awards include two Army Commendation Medals, Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal. Erdman has been very active in several veteran’s service organizations, and was the commander of the Arkansas State Legion Department from 2012 to 2013.
- Lieutenant Commander John Roger Rickard, Alma, U.S. Navy, Vietnam. Awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, three Navy Commendation Medals, and the Navy Achievement Medal. During the Vietnam War, Rickard served three cruises as a torpedo mate on fast frigates. Upon retiring from the Navy, Rickard founded the Alma High School JROTC program and served 17 years.