"A MAN IS NOT DEAD UNTIL HE IS FORGOTTEN"
THOMAS J TAGGART
CW2 Taggart was awarded the Army Commendation Medal and Bronze Star. He was born in Kearny, New Jersey and is interred in BG William C Doyle Veterans Cemetery, Arneytown, New Jersey. Thomas flew for Roger Penzke Racing.
JOE B. THURSTON
Retired U.S. Army Colonel Joe B. Thurston passed away on
Friday. Col. Thurston was born on May 29, 1936, in Alex, Oklahoma, where
he was a distinguished graduate from Alex High School in 1954. He was an
Eagle Scout and played Football in High School. He graduated from the
University of Oklahoma in 1959 with a Bachelor of Science degree in
Mathematics. He was commissioned as second lieutenant of artillery in the
U.S. Army following his graduation from OU.
In September 1965, he was assigned to Vietnam where he commanded an armed
helicopter unit in the 5th Special Forces Delta Project. He was again
assigned to Vietnam in 1967 and served as Aviation Operations Officer, 1st
Aviation Brigade, and Army Aviation Officer, Headquarters. II Field
Forces. He returned to Vietnam for a third tour in 1971 to command an
aviation battery, and serve as Air Cavalry Squadron Operations Officer,
101st Airborne Infantry Division. He was a graduate of the Field Artillery
Associates Officer Advanced Course, and a graduate of the U.S. Army
Aviation School, Fort Rucker, Alabama and Airborne Course, Fort Benning,
Georgia. He was a graduate of the Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk,
Virginia and the Air War College, Maxwell Air force Base, Alabama. His
awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying
Cross, Bronze Star Medal with V and three Oak leaf Clusters, Meritorious
Service Medal and one Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Medal with V and ten Oak Leaf
Clusters, Army Commendation Medal and Purple Heart. Col. Thurston was the
first Commander of the Army Space Command in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
He was authorized to wear the Parachutist Badge, Army Aviation Badge and
U.S. Air Force Space Badge.
Col. Thurston was recently honored by the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame.
He was inducted on November 11th, 2011 in a special Veteran's Day
ceremony with several other honorees, including 14 Comanche code talkers
from World War II. His entire family was there to celebrate with him.
After his retirement from the Army, he held several positions within
Raytheon as a Patriot Missile engineer and handled International Patriot
Sales. He retired in 1999 from Raytheon. His retirement years were spent
with volunteering with Special needs adults, refereeing AYSO soccer games,
becoming a Master Gardner and teaching classes. He also celebrated
Patriot's Day for many years with Asbury Child Development Center, by
shooting rockets off for the children. He was a loving father and very
involved with his grandchildren's activities.
He is survived by Janice K. Thurston, his loving wife of 49 years; four
children, Thomas P. Thurston, Phoenix, Ariz., Jennifer L. Brewer, Dallas,
Tex., Elizabeth Thurston-Dodd, Madison, Al., Joseph B. Thurston,
Phoenix, Arizona; plus four frandchildren. He was preceded in death by his
father, Joseph B. Thurston; mother, Eva Inez Thurston; and brother,
Phillip Page Thurston.
There will be a memorial service at Asbury United Methodist Church at 3
p.m. on Tuesday 13th following a reception with the family. The burial
service will be held in Oklahoma at Fort Sill National Cemetery, with
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Hospice Family Care,
3304 West Mill Dr, Huntsville, Al 35805 or The American Cancer Society.
Asbury United Methodist Church and Madison Chapel Funeral Home is
assisting the family.
From: Gary L. Stagman, In 281st AHC 66, 67, 68 & 70
I should of called many more times, but it's easy to get involved with many
of the other things to help those that were there. I really enjoyed
shooting the bull with Joe as he seemed to be able to make one realize
their own problems aren't so bad at all. My hats off to one fine gentleman
for all of the high points that he made in others lives, super pilot and
knew what to do in just about every instance. Rest in peace and with no
pain and suffering in Heaven!
From: Duane D. Vincent
In 1965-66 when I was a very young Crewchief, I had the honor of serving
with then Capt. Thurston in the 145th Airlift Platoon in Vietnam. He was a
skilled and brave gunship pilot who excelled on every mission and always
brought his crew and his helicopter home safely (except once). All of the
gunners and crewchiefs wanted to fly with him and I think that is the
greatest compliment a pilot can have in a combat aviation unit. Crewchiefs
and gunners always have their favorite pilots, and he was one of the 145th
ALPs best, not just because of his soldierly qualities, but because he was
a gentleman. He treated everyone with respect and we all respected him.
It's always hard to say goodbye to a former comrade but he left a legacy
of accomplishments, family, and friendships to envy. My condolences to his
family. I was proud to have known Joe Thurston.
I regret to tell you that Joe lost his battle with cancer on Friday Dec 9th
2011. He "fought the good fight" for 9 years. I know he cherished your
friendships and felt blessed that you were in his life. I do also, and
while we are sad at his passing he is now healthy again and with God. A
memorial service will be held today, December 13th, at Asbury United
Methodist church at 3pm.
I 'll probably not get out Christmas cards this year but stay healthy and
happy and we wish you all many blessings.
Jan & Family
Johnny served with the 281st as a member of the Rat Pack
and as a Bandit pilot during the 1967-1968 time frame. At the time of his death
Johnny was living in New Port News, VA.
He is survived by his wife Richaleen and
From: Becky Whitmore [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Friday, October 20, 2006 :
I'm deeply saddened to inform you that Johnny Turpin passed away October 11, 2006
in Newport News,VA from a massive heart attack. If you need more information,
please contact me.
MILTON C. THOMAS