A military service on Oct. 27 will memorialize six military men killed during World War II and the Korean War.
Two of them — 2nd Lt. James H. Jarrell of Wilmington, Delaware, and Cadet John V. Quirk Jr. of Erie, Pennsylvania — were stationed at the U.S. Army Air Field in Greenwood, which is now the site of Greenwood-Leflore Airport.
The Tillatoba United Methodist Church will host the service from 3-4 p.m.
At 2:30 p.m., the Water Valley Community Band will perform a patriotic concert.
At 4:30 p.m., a vintage World War II plane, the Piper L-4 Grasshopper, will conduct a flyover.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said retired Col. Phillip L. Tillman, an organizer of the service and brother of an honoree.
“In another few years, all of the men and women of the greatest generation will be gone,” Tillman said.
The service will also memorialize Sgt. Robert M. Hassan and Sgt. Harvey K. Tillman, who served in the U.S. Army Air Force and were from Tillatoba; U.S. Army Sgt. James C. Walters, also from Tillatoba; and U.S. Marine Corps Pvt. William H. Scott from Oakland, Mississippi, who died in the Korean War. The others were casualties of World War II.
“They left young, and they never returned,” said Tillman. He said he felt he had some “unfinished business left to honor and remember them.”
Most of these men died during combat missions but not all. “They are just as much heroes as those who did go to battle,” said Tillman. “They need to be remembered.”
The two men stationed in Greenwood died before they saw combat. On Jan. 1, 1944, their plane crashed on the train tracks just north of Tillatoba during a training mission that started in Greenwood. Both were 19 years old.
“The cadet would have received his wings in a matter of weeks,” recalled Tillman. “He got his wings a bit earlier than expected.”
During the service, U.S. Navy ROTC cadets from Grenada High School will unveil memorial markers. “They are a very important part of the program,” said Tillman.
Additionally, retired Col. Randy Martin, son of a World War II veteran, will conduct a flag-raising ceremony.
The Water Valley band will play the hymn “Nearer My God to Thee” during the unveiling and flag-raising ceremonies.
After the service, the flyover pilot will drop six white lilies dedicated to the memory of the six servicemen.
Three lilies will drop over the site of the service. Then, “he’ll drop two small lilies over the crash site to honor their memories,” said Tillman.
Lastly, he will fly up to Oakland to drop a final lily in remembrance of Private Scott.
In conjunction with the service, flower arrangements will be placed at each of the six graves over the weekend, Tillman said.
•Contact Kyle Strobel at 581-7233 or email@example.com.