Let’s Talk Clovis: Remembering our 59 Clovis Gold Star Heroes

Melvin Kirk, Gold Star Hero, Vietnam, two Purple Hearts & 1Silver Star. (Photo courtesy of the Clovis Museum)

Many of our early Clovis pioneers were Veterans of our Civil War (1861-1865). They were true patriots. They established a tradition that our 59 Clovis Gold Star Heroes and all Veterans followed. Their dedication was documented by William Tyler Page in his 1918 “The American’s Creed”.

“I believe in the United States of America as a government of the people, for the people; whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed; a democracy in a Republic, a sovereign Nation of many sovereign States, a perfect Union, one and inseparable; established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes.

I therefore believe it is my duty to my Country to love it; to support its constitution; to obey its laws, to respect its flag, and to defend it against all enemies.”

On May 30, 1897, a Decoration Day program honoring Civil War Veterans was held in Clovis.

Decoration Day was officially changed to Memorial Day in 1967. A Clovis ribbon dated November 8,9,10,16 states: “Clovis welcomes the brave soldiers of 61 and rejoices with them that the Union they restored still lives.”

That tradition continues today. We have selected Gold Star Heroes from the six wars to share their sacrifice that continues to protect our Democracy.

WW I, April 6, 1917-November 11, 1918, 10 Gold Star Heroes: John Cecil Cox was our first casualty. He was the only son of Clovis High School Professor John M. Cox. In 1919 The American Legion (SE Fourth and Woodworth) became the Cecil Cox Post #147.

We continue to search for pictures and information on WWI Gold Star Heroes: Harvey Allen, James E. Allen, Oliver Bear, Albert Bonham, Timothy S. Hurley, Neil Manderville, James O’Donnell, John Harrison Pierce and Maurice Thrupp.

WWII, December 7, 1941-December 31, 1946, 28 Gold Star Heroes: Marine Sargent Robert Simpson was killed at Tarawa Atoll, Gilbert Island on November 20, 1943 while trying to rescue a wounded and helpless officer. He was the Great Grandson of Academy Pioneer John Greenup Simpson who donated land for the 1868 Academy Church, Academy cemetery and the 1870 Academy School. Robert was awarded the Navy Cross.

Army Tech 4th Grade Malcolm Day was our first hero to die in a Japanese prison after being captured in the Philippines.

Air Force Captain Dorsey Thomas (piloted a B-29 super bomber) was killed in action in China on December 31, 1944. He was survived by his wife and two-month-old daughter.

Korean War, June 25, 1950-June 25, 1953. 2 Gold Star Heroes: Marine Corporal Richard Caster (19) was mortally wounded on June 6, 1951. He is buried in Korea. He was the only son of George and Grace Caster. Army PFC Antonio Lopez (18) was killed in action on October 17, 1951.

Vietnam, January 2, 1963-May 7,1975. 7 Gold Star Heroes: Army Specialist 4 Danny Dye (23) was killed in action on his last scheduled combat patrol. Army Sgt. Melvin Kirk (21) was killed during his second tour of duty in the month of April,1968. He had been awarded two Purple Hearts and one Silver Star prior to his death. 

Operation Desert Storm-Gulf War, January 15, 1991-February 27, 1991, 1 Gold Star Hero. Terrorism continued after the cease fire agreement and continues today.  Air Force Captain Tim Haun  (Rescue HC-130 Navigator) was killed in a terrorist attack on June 25, 1996 at the Khobhar Towers dormitory, Dhabtran, Saudi Arabia. He was the only son of Lee and Carol Haun.

Iraq-Afghanistan Wars, Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001, Iraq on March 20, 2003. 11 Gold Star Heroes. Marine Cpl. Jeremiah Baro (21) and his life, long buddy Marine Lance Cpl. Jared Hubbard (22) were our first to die in combat on November 4, 2004. Jared’s brother Army Cpl. Nathan (22) died in Iraq on August 22, 2007. Retired Clovis Police Officer Jeff Hubbard and his wife Peggy lost two of their three sons.

In 1945 Admiral C.W Nimitz stated: “…Uncommon valor was a common virtue.”

We cannot adequately describe the brave acts of our Veterans but we can strive to continue to remember and honor them for their noble sacrifice and dedication to our Country.

We are free because of the Brave. Freedom is not free. All gave some. Some Gave all.

All Veterans and their families are a part of our rich heritage.

Peg Bos is the president of the Clovis Museum on 4th and Pollasky avenues in Old Town Clovis. She not only manages the museum but she also writes her Let's Talk Clovis column in our publication which features and highlight the amazing history of our city and culture. One fun fact about Peg Bos, she was the first female mayor of Clovis from 1984-86.