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On December 6th, 1939, 26 year old Clifford Hughes of Timpson, Texas joined the United State Army for the second time. Records show he also served from 1934 to 1937 but little else. The 1940 census listed him as a soldier stationed at Fort Brown, Texas near Brownsville. He was a member of the 124th Cavalry Regiment of the Texas National Guard which became one of the last mounted cavalry regiments in the United States Army. After the Pearl Harbor attack he became a member of Troop A, 12th Cavalry Regiment of the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Bliss, Texas and was promoted to Corporal. The 1st Cavalry Division was sent to the pacific theater by way of Australia and his regiment participated in four Asiatic-Pacific campaigns; New Guinea, Bismarck Archipelago (amphibious assault landing), Leyte (amphibious assault landing) and Luzon.
During the fighting in January 1945 on Luzon which is the largest island in the Philippines the 1st Cavalry Division liberated more than 3,000 civilian prisoners of the Japanese that included more than 60 US Army Nurses. Also during this time Clifford Hughes, now a Staff Sergeant, was awarded the third highest medal for valor that can be bestowed on a member of the United States Armed Forces, the Silver Star. It was reported in the Champion Newspaper, June 14th, 1945 “Staff Sgt. Clifford Hughes, son of Joe R. Hughes and brother of Mrs. Thelma Patterson of Timpson has been decorated with the Silver Star for gallantry in action at Manila, Luzon Island. Sgt. Hughes was decorated by Brigadier General Hugh Hoffman, commanding general of the First Cavalry Division. The citation in part read Sgt. Hughes’ splendid initiative and great personal courage contributed to the success attained by his platoon and were of the finest tradition of the cavalry.” The medal was awarded per General Orders No. 73 (1945), Headquarters 1st Cavalry Division. He was also awarded a Bronze Star Medal and Purple Heart but no other information could be found on either.
Clifford Hughes was born in Timpson, Texas on January 16th, 1913 to Joseph Rufus Hughes (1873-1949) and Ruthie Dee Powdrill Hughes (1878-1918). His mother died when Clifford was five and the 1920 census had him living with his widowed father, three brothers and two sisters on Waterman Stockman Road in Precinct 6 of Shelby County. Ten years later the 1930 census showed him living with his father, Uncle Walter and Aunt Fannie Hughes along with three brothers and a sister. Ancestry.com reflects him having five siblings and three half siblings.
It’s not clear if Clifford returned to civilian life after World War II or remained in the Army but when the Korean War broke out five years later on June 25th, 1950 he was a Sergeant in Korea with the 21st Infantry Regiment of the 24th Infantry Division. The Champion Newspaper of September 14th, 1950 reported him as the first soldier from Shelby County to be reported missing in action in Korea. Later it was determined that Sergeant Clifford Hughes was killed in action on August 13th, 1950 while fighting the enemy in South Korea just fifty days after the war began.
In 37 years Clifford had seen, lived and did more than most. He was a true patriot, a member of that Greatest Generation of World War II and the generation who fought in what some call the Forgotten War (Korea). Who could ask more of anyone? On the sixteenth of this month he would have been 102 years old but forever young in our minds and forever remembered for his service and sacrifice. Thank you Technical Sergeant Clifford Hughes.
(Sources: Ancestry.com, 2014; Texas Military Forces Museum.org, 2014; Wikipedia.org, 2014; Champion Newspaper, 12/10/1942, 6/14/1945 & 9/14/1950)