Korea and Vietnam Eras


McCaleb 1978-172-1 TB 35R10Sd1

B. Jul. 17, 1924 Fort Worth, Tx            d. Nov. 29, 1950, North Korea

The museum houses a hat and cover belonging to 1st Lieut Neely Thomas “NT” McCaleb, Jr.  He was born in Fort Worth Texas to the parents of Neely Thomas McCaleb (1897 – 1981) and Jesse Lee Cox McCaleb (1897 – 1958). He attended the University of Texas in Austin where he is pictured in the Glee Club of their yearbook the Cactus in 1945. He was attached to the US Army, Company I, 3rd Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division. He was listed as Missing in Action while engaged in warfare in North Korea on November 29, 1950, and was presumed dead on December 31, 1953.  Although he was from Texas,  his  home city for notification with the military was listed as Valdosta, Georgia. Information on Find-a-Grave said he “met his love” in Valdosta, Georgia. Checking the museum’s records it was discovered Aline Williams Jenkins (Aug. 19, 1925- Nov. 20, 2002, Sunset Hill Cemetery),a Valdostian native, was the donor of the hat. She was the daughter of Natalie Williams who was  President of the Lowndes County Historical Society from 1976-1979. Aline Williams Jenkins was  also known as “baby sister” or “babe” to her peers. She graduated from Valdosta High in 1942 and in 1943 and 1944 she attended Georgia State Womans College now Valdosta State University.  Her daughter was contacted and it was reported that Aline Williams was married to Lt. Neely Thomas McCaleb for a short time before his death.  Although she later remarried, the family also reported that “she never stopped looking for him.”

He was awarded the following medals: Purple Heart, Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Presidential Unit Citation and the Republic of Korea War Service Medal. His name is engraved on the Korean War Memorial in Dayton, Ohio.

McCaleb’s hat is olive green with a brown leather visor and brown crown belt and contains the  gold US Army pin. Inside is cording to be removed  from the cap to crush for ear phones and  his card identifying his name and Army service. The cap is made by Associated Military Stores, Inc in Chicago.  The cap protector is plastic circle with elastic edge similar to a shower cap.

This hat is on display on the main floor of the museum.

 Christie Collection  Acq 72-107 & 1999-14  TB 48R8Sd2, 77R9Sc2, 87R10Se3, 92R10Se2, 102R8Sb2

Wesley Renijah Christie (1918-2002) Lieutenant Colonial Chritstie actually began his career with the US Marine Corps in 1936 and continued his service until 1961 when he retired.   He was decorated twice during his Marine career.: To see more information on Christie, please visit our WWII Textile website at  https://valdostamuseum.com/collections/textiles/military/wwii-textiles/wwii-c-d/

LT. Col. Christie’s Dress Uniform is on display in the main floor of the museum.



Epps  2015-49 TB 95R8Sd42015-49-01 LT Col Epps

Lt. Col Thomas Brandon Epps Sr USMC (1925 -1999)  was born in Cedartown, Georgia and grew up in Hahira, Georgia. He joined the Marines in 1943 at age 18 and retired in 1969 after completing 26 years of service through WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. His full information is found on our WWII Textile website at https://valdostamuseum.com/collections/textiles/military/wwii-textiles/wwii-e-h/

Epps’ medals are now on display in the Vietnam Exhibit located on the main floor of the museum.  

Bird Collection 2007-053-04THB31R8Sd/4 Helmet

The Bird family has a history military service traceable by textiles and  documents housed in the museum. For more information on this please visit our WWI and WWII Military Textiles at https://valdostamuseum.com/collections/textiles/military/wwi/ and https://valdostamuseum.com/collections/textiles/military/wwii-textiles/wwii/
There is also evidence that someone in the Bird family trained to serve during the Vietnam Era. Within the Bird Collection is a  plastic  black helmet liner from the year 1967 with the  OCS decal on front standing for Officer Candidate School. The right and left side have a 51 and a “Follow Me” shield and sword  decal used by the US Army Infantry School.
Inside is green cotton webbing and leather sweatband. The green cotton webbing has stamped “Liner , Soldier, Helmet (Combat) 31May67,30.” A gold officers bar is pinned to inside webbing signifying second lieutenant rank in the army.

Bracewell 2015-57-01 TB 7

Major James Polhill Bracewell was born May 23, 1941 to the parents of  Frank and Mary Moore Bracewell and grew up in Valdosta on 408 River Street. He married  Sonja in July of 1963. He joined the Air Force from 1960-64 and went into Army Pilot training in 1965. On his 1st Vietnam Tour he flew a helicopter for the 1stCalvary.   On this 1st tour his team was called  the James Gang because it was under command of Jim James and was stationed with the LRRP Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol Rangers, the original unit, and he was the original pilot for the unit.On a patrol, he got a distress call to rescue an LRRP and had to go in  without gun units to back him up since the team was surrounded and wounded. His rescue was successful and he received Distinguished Flying Cross Award for his bravery. He has since been contacted by one of the men he rescued to thank him. After his 1st Vietnam tour he became an Instructor in Savannah 18 months. On his  2nd Vietnam tour, he was a  Tour Delta Staff Aviation and Unit Commander. He was promoted as a  major at Ft McPherson. He served 20 years of active service.

He comes from a long line of military service in his family. He is named after his Great Grandfather: Dr. James Polhill Gracewell  CSA who is  buried in Bellville Cemetery.  His father was in WWII and his son Maj. Water Bracewell fought in Operation Desert Storm.

He was awarded 47 medals including the following: Distinguished Flying Cross with V, 4 Bronze Star Medals and 27 Air Medals; Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation, Army Achievement, Air Force Good Conduct, Army Good Conduct, National Defense Service Medal; Vietnam Service, Armed Forces Reserve, Army Oversees Medal; Air Force Longevity service, Army Service, and Vietnam Campaign Medal.


Coleman 2013-60 TB 106

The museum houses a Vietnam Era naval khaki uniform of Ltjg. Milton Eugene “Buddy” Coleman Jr., a native to Valdosta. He graduated from Valdosta High in 1960 and attended college at the University of Georgia where he earned his degree.

Ltjg Milton Eugene Colman Jr. (Buddy) graduated from Officers Candidate School in Newport, R.I. June 1965. He was assigned  to the USS Okinawa LPH3 as a Division Officer in the Weapons Department during the Vietnam War. He was awarded the following medals: Navy Meritorious Unit Commendations, National Defense service, Vietnam Service, and Republic of Vietnam Campaign.

This uniform is currently on display in the Vietnam War Exhibit on the main floor of the museum.  More information on his military service is also available at the museum.



Greer 2019-90 TB145

The highest ranking native Valdostan known to the Lowndes County Historical Museum is Major General Lee V. Greer. He was born in 1935 to Lloyd Barton Greer, Valdosta’s well known architect, and his wife Julie Winn Varnedoe, granddaughter of  C.C.Varnedoe, of the renowned store in downtown Valdosta. He was the last of eight children born to that family, one died in childbirth and one died at age 9. Two of the boys in this family one in the army, the other a marine served in WWII..

Lee Greer played in the band at Valdosta High School and  the baseball team and was also a member of the Valdosta High School football team. During this time, the football team earned 3 straight football titles from1951-1953. Lee Greer also played in Valdosta Highs first  Peanut Bowl and that year the team won the trophy.  Lee Greer was later inducted into the Lowndes County, Georgia Sports Hall of Fame for these achievements. He graduated from Valdosta High in 1953  and Georgia Tech in 1957- the same year he entered active duty.

Among many achievements, he served as instructor pilot at Moody Air Force Base in 1960.During the Cuban missile crisis he was stationed at Homestead AFB, FL and flew numerous intercept missions in the F-102. In 1964, he served in the 1st Air Commando Squadron and the 602nd Air Commando Squadron while assigned to Bien Hoa Air Base in the Vietnam Republic. as an A-1 Skyraider pilot.. He flew 215 combat missions for which he  was awarded the Air Medal with seven Oak Leaf clusters, the Combat Readiness Medal, the Distinguished Flying cross for heroism, and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Silver Star, along with the Presidential Unit Citation. After receiving his masters degree from Texas A&M University, he commanded the 405th Field Maintenance Squadron at Clark Air Base in the Philippines in the 70s. His last station was  Commander  of the  Sacramento Air Logistics Center in Sacramento, CA from 1985-88: He retired from the Air Force in October of 1988.

Along with the above awards already mentioned he also received the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Air Force Organizational Excellence Award and the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award.

Holliday 2011-01TB 7 

Donald Lee Holliday was one of our earliest donors of a Vietnam uniform. He enlisted in the US Army in 1959 and had duty stations in Fort Sam Houston, in Texas, Fort McPherson in Georgia, and Fort Lewis in Washington. His oversees duties included 6 years in Germany and 4 years in Vietnam. He retired after 23 year of active duty. He served as a medical specialist, medical laboratory specialist and an infantryman. He described one of his duties in Vietnam which lasted six months as first being an advisory with the field police with Team 44 Brigade.  He also worked in a hospital for six months. His last two tours he worked as advisers for Vietnamese to train them how to take care of their causalities and provide medic for them. He was in Vietnam until the cease fire in 1973.


He was awarded the following medals: Combat Medical Badge, Meritorious Unit Commendation (2), Meritorious Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam service Medal, republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm, Bronze Star Medal with 1 V Device and 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, Oversees Service Bars (7), and Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces Honor Medal Second Class.

Along with his uniform he also gave the museum his interesting artifacts he had collected from Vietnam.  These include a  Vietcong flag, a banner from Vietcong celebrating the 10th anniversary of National Liberation, a North Vietnamese uniform, North Vietnamese Army helmet, black sandals made from old tires,and an Ammo pouch from North Vietnamese with writing on the back-a note from a girlfriend “until we meet again.” Also within this collection is a wide Ceremonial hat made of reeds given to Don Holliday by a Vietnamese officer- when held to the light reveals figures that tell a story of a bridge, and a Vietnamese Field hat- a coarser hat made from palm fronds. Many interesting non-textile Vietnam items were also collected and donated. Some of these include a crossbow used by the Montagnard tribes for hunting, arrows and quiver and a handmade container for caring poison for arrows, a bar used to carry heavy loads over the shoulders,  handmade pipe, propaganda, money, photos and more.

To learn more about Donald Lee Holliday Collection, please visit the museum where you can view his items in the Vietnam Display on the main floor of the museum.

McDonald 2016-36 TB 106    

John Ethridge McDonald (b. 31 Oct, 1946 d. 14 Apr 1969) was born to the parents of Mr. and Mrs. Leonard McDonald in Hahira, Lowndes County, Georgia. He was in the army eleven months and his tour in Vietnam began 25 Nov 1962. He  assigned to C Co., 1st BN, 501st Infantry, 101st ABN Div of the US Army as a machine gunner. His metals include the Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service with a bronze star  and Vietnam Campaign with a bronze star and combat infantry badge.  His casket flag  and information is in the museum in Hahira, Georgia. To honor the only man from Hahira to die in the Vietnam War, a mile of Shiloh Road was named  the Cpl. John E McDonald Memorial Hwy in 2015 by the City of Hahira and the Lowndes County Commission. His brother, Leon McDonald donated a jacket that John had made for himself in Vietnam while he was there. This  jacket ( not military issued) is made of cotton, has embroidered his first name, a cat, his name written in characters, a map of the area, as well as writing that says “When I die I’ll go to heaven because I’ve spent my time in hell. Vietnam 68, 69.” The jacket also includes his Airborne military patch sewn on the sleeves. It was reported by his brother, Leon McDonald that “all the guys  had them made in the village on short order.” This jacket is scheduled for conservation assessment in the future. The pictures here reflect its present condition.


Thomas TB 86

Lynn McKey Thomas was in the navy during Vietnam assigned to the USS Kennedy CVA-67 as a second class motor machinist. He received the Navy E Award for excellence which is seen on the right sleeve of his uniform. On his left sleeve  there is a red “hash mark” or service stripe.    Lynn’s uniform includes the dress blues shirt, pants, and hat.  Lynn’s mother Susie McKey Thomas was a Valdostan historian and worked with the Lowndes County Museum collecting newspaper clippings of various topics . Lynn McKey Thomas also contributes valuable service to the museum particularly in the area of our local baseball history. This family is also related to the famous Doc Holliday who lived in Valdosta.


Tomberlin 2019-09 TB 143

This collection belonged to Jospeh Aaron Tomberlin (1937- 2018) who graduated from Valdosta High in 1955. While in College in Valdosta, he was called into the navy and served from 9 May 1955- 12 Nov 1959. Hand written in his Aviation Electrician’s Mate Manual says he was stationed in Port Lyautey, Icenitra, Morocco and dated 1956.

He later completed his  Ph.D. at Florida State 67 and was  first employed as an Assistant Professor at VSC ( now Valdosta State University) in 1967. He eventually became head of the History Department. 

Among this very extensive collection is not only dress uniforms, summer and winter, but also  naval issued dungarees, a  sweater, knit watch hat, wool swimsuit, and duffle bag and his identification badge to the Geneva Convention.

His obituary can be found on the  Carson McLane Funeral Home Valdosta, Ga website. For additional information on this collection, please contact the museum.

Vietnam POW Support- Trimble via Plair Acquisition 2019-75-0

POW bracelet-These were fundraisers to help remember the American POWs still missing in action in the 1970’s. A POW name was printed on the bracelet along with the date they were missing in action. This POW was not from Valdosta, but shows the support Ivey Plair and his wife Clyde Elizabeth -who were from Valdosta- gave to help our American soldiers.  Ivy Plair Jr. said many people bought the bracelets including his mother and wife. This is one his mother had purchased. Information on Lt. Larry Trimble can be found on the internet. This item is currently on display in “Vietnam” in the main building, main floor case 39.

Vietnam 50 Year Commemorative Flag 

2015-66-01 TB55b R10Se2

The Col. Ebeneezer Folsom Chapter of the Daughters of the Revolution recently donated a commemorative flag and certificates honoring those whose who served during Vietnam.The Department of Defense recognized the chapter as a Commemorative Partner  in “thanking and honoring our Vietnam Veterans.” This flag and the certificates can be seen in the Vietnam display in the main floor of the museum. Pictured here is Edie Shepherd, Mary Shepherd Kuntz, and Cathy Wells donating the flag and information to the museum.