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How Corporal Billy Granville Hinson Served and Sacrificed for Our Nation

 

Essay Written by Grace Hinson of Clarksville Academy
As part of the Clarksville Kiwanis Club’s Memories of Service and Sacrifice Project “Interview a Veteran” Contest

“On behalf of a grateful nation, this flag is presented to you as a token of appreciation for your loved one’s honorable and faithful service,” these were the words spoken to my family by the Honor Guard at my grandfather’s funeral in October 2010. On behalf of a grateful granddaughter in October of 2011, I am showing my appreciation for my grandfather’s honorable and faithful service for my freedom by writing this for him. He served in the seventh infantry, thirty-second regiment, and the first battalion Charlie Company, which was a combat unit during the Korean War.

Grace Hinson reads a part of her essay at the “Interview A Veteran” Essay Contest Winners program Tuesday, November 8th 2011.

Grace Hinson reads a part of her essay at the “Interview A Veteran” Essay Contest Winners program Tuesday, November 8th 2011.

After graduating high school, most everyone anticipated going to college or getting a job, yet Billy Hinson had other plans, In May of 1952, just hours after ending one road, he began another. Billy had gone home to say goodbye to his family and then he was off and on his way to basic training in Mississippi with his buddy by his side. I don’t know what would have been going through his head during the drive down, but I would suspect he was nervous about what was to come, since this was the first time he had ever left Tennessee in his life. He knew this would change his life, hopefully for the better.

Once he went through basic training, Billy and 1500 other soldiers were sent on a troop ship to Puson, Korea. They had told them that it was just a police action, but when they arrived, they found out it had turned out to be an all-out war between the Chinese and North Koreans on one side and the South Koreans and Americans on the other.

Grace Hinson was the Middle School Division winner at the Clarksville Kiwanis Club's Memories of Service and Sacrifice Project's "Interview a Veteran" essay contest.

Grace Hinson was the Middle School Division winner at the Clarksville Kiwanis Club's Memories of Service and Sacrifice Project's "Interview a Veteran" essay contest.

He was part of the main line of resistance and was a Browning automatic rifle man. The officers were saying, “Men don’t be afraid! Stand your ground and keep fighting.” He later recalled, “I remember hearing the Chinese soldiers before ever seeing them. They were banging on pots, hitting on pans, blowing their horns and trumpets as loud as possible to scare us and boy was I scared!” It would have been very hard to be brave when you know people are going to lose their lives, especially the men you art trying to help.

Sitting around the campfire, they often found themselves telling stories of home during the long, cold nights. He dreamt of his Tennessee home and family. It was bitterly cold and many of his friends had died from freezing during the night. He had to be pulled off the front line, for he had pneumonia and his legs were frost bitten so severely they had to carry him on a stretcher back to camp. Lying there he started thinking, what would happen if his mother received a letter saying he had not made it through the war. He could not picture his mom in such pain. He made the decision he had to survive for her. The last thing he remembered is praying, “Lord, please help me make it home and if it be your will, let me see my mamma…”

He awoke two days later in an army hospital. He had frostbite and his legs were stiff and dumb, but they said he would be just fine. A few weeks later he was let out of the hospital and put back on the battlefield. Six months later, on July 27th, 1953, Corporal Hinson returned home after being gone for 10 months. When they reached San Francisco, California, on his return trip home, they told them there had been a ceasefire and the war was over.

54,000 men died during that war. One of those could have been my grandfather and he knew the risk that he was taking, but he said no sacrifice was too great for his country. He was a proud patriot and once read these words on Veteran’s Day in honor of his fellow soldiers:

“He was getting old and paunchy and his hair was falling fast, and he sat around the Legion telling stories of the past. Of a war that he had fought in and the deeds that he had done, in his exploits to his buddies they are heroes every one. And though sometimes to his neighbors his tales became a joke, all his Legion buddies listened for they knew whereof he spoke. But we’ll later hear his tales no longer for old Bill has passed away. And the world’s a little poorer for a soldier died today.”

– A Soldier Died Today by A. Lawrence Vaincourt.


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