Tuesday evening, two Phillips County natives, one deceased and one living, were remembered and honored for their service to the nation.

Tuesday evening, two Phillips County natives, one deceased and one living, were remembered and honored for their service to the nation.

First Lt. Pryor Wheat was killed in action in Vietnam on Sept. 6, 1967. Even though it was 50 years later and a rainy day, family and friends gathered at Sunset Memorial Park late to remember his life and service.

Arkansas State Highway Commissioner Robert Moore, a friend of Wheat’s, made it is goal to insure that this day was not forgotten. He enlisted the aid of Col. (Ret) John C. Edwards to put together a fitting tribute honoring Wheat, who was killed trying to save his fellow soldiers.

During the event, Moore spoke of Wheat’s selfless dedication and Brigadier General Kirk Van Pelt, assistant adjutant general, Army, Arkansas National Guard, spoke of what soldiers like Wheat mean to securing America. It was a moving and emotional remembrance, but the day was not yet done.

James McMickle was born in Phillips County in 1948. He moved to Ohio and enlisted in the Army in 1969. After receiving his Infantry training, he was sent to Vietnam where he was a part of Co. A, 1st Battalion, 50th Infantry, 2nd Armored Division. While there he was wounded in combat. Years passed and he recently moved back to Helena-West Helena. It came to the attention of local veterans advocates that he had been awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star Medals, but he did not have the medals.

The members and Ladies Auxiliary of American Legion Post 41 worked to put together a proper awards ceremony to honor McMickle, their newest member. During the ceremony at the “Hut” in Helena, Gen. Van Pelt presented the Purple Heart and Bronze Star awards to McMickle in front of an appreciative crowd that included Moore, State Representative Chris Richey, Phillips County Judge Clark Hall, Phillips County Sheriff Neal Byrd, Quorum Court member Jeremy Moneymaker, Mary Ned Foster, Phillips County veterans advocates and a host of others.

McMickle was honorably discharged from the Army in 1971.

The event concluded with a reception. It was a day of remembrance and celebration of two Phillips County heroes.

The membership of American Legion Post 41 thanks General Van Pelt for taking the time to come and honor the late Wheat and McMickle.