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Oliver Coleman Estes

6/11/1919 – 5/24/2012
Branch: Army
Rank: Combat Engineer
Outfit: 106th Infantry Division
Service Dates: 1943 – 1945
County: Greene
Conflicts/Significant Events: World War II, Captured in the Battle of The Bulge, POW in Germany until the end of the War. His story was featured in the book “Hell Frozen Over”
Story uploaded: Thursday, August 20, 2009 / Updated: Monday, May 15, 2023








Nicholas “Nik” Zak

9/14/1930 – 8/31/2021
Branch: Marines
Rank: Sgt.
Unit: 7th
Outfit: 1st
Service Dates: 1948 – 1951
County: St. Louis
Conflicts/Significant Events: Nik joined the Marine Corps in November 1948 and was wounded in Korea, December 3, 1950 sustaining leg and head injuries, losing his eye as well as suffering severe frostbite of his extremities. He received a Purple Heart for his injuries. Nick was honorably discharged from the Marines in September 1951. His name is engraved on The Chosin Few Monument in Forest Park, St. Louis next to the Korean War Veterans Association Memorial.
Story uploaded: Friday, September 25, 2009 / Updated May 7, 2023


John Robert Wren Jr.

1/7/1921 – 1/25/2022
Branch: Army Air Corps
Rank: Lieutenant
Unit: 766th Squadron
Outfit: 15th Air Force 461st Heavy Bombardment Group
Service Dates: 1942 – 1944
County: St. Louis
City: St. Louis, MO
Conflicts/Significant Events: World War II, POW, Shot Down Over Italy on 13th Mission
Story uploaded: Sunday, November 11, 2007 / updated: Tuesday, March 14, 2023


Story Seal 1

Keeper of The Flame’s StorySeal™ is Blessed to Keep the Sacred Story of Andrew P. Carpenter StorySealed to this guitar Signed by John Rich of Big & Rich. You can learn more about John’s work benefiting the Folds of Honor at and keep up with all the latest music at
The Guitar was presented to Crissie & Landon Carpenter at an event supporting the on July 29th, 2019. StorySeal™ 01001
This Story of Sacrifice & Service was also told in “The Dash” by Scotty McCreery



COLUMBIA, Tenn. (WKRN) – In the heart of Maury County, sits Columbia, a place known for its small-town charm.

“They all came out, they all supported us,” said Cindy Carpenter. That’s just what people do here, and that’s especially the case with Lance Corporal Andrew Carpenter. “Our son, Andrew, what a wonderful person he was,” said Cindy.

Andrew was a hero in this town, but there was nothing “small” about him. “He was a great kid,” said Kevin, Andrew’s father. “Cindy mentioned his smile, couldn’t get it off his face.”

Andrew’s smile was big, but so was his heart. “He served everybody, he was just a joy to be around,” said Cindy.

The loss, though, was even bigger. “You don’t see it coming,” she said.

On February 19, 2011, United States Marine Corps Lance Corporal Andrew Carpenter was in the Helmand Province in Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom when he was shot in the neck. It was his second tour of duty with the Marines. Andrew was rushed to Landstuhl Medical Center.

Back home in Columbia, Cindy got a call from her husband. “He’s just uncontrollably crying and I said, ‘What is wrong?’” And he said, ‘Andrew has been shot,’” remembered Cindy.

Cindy and Kevin flew to Germany to be with their son. But Andrew’s new wife, Chrissie, couldn’t travel because she was 8 months pregnant with their first child. After 3 days, the decision was made to take Andrew off life support. He was just 26-years-old.

“He’s my baby,” said Cindy. “He was always my baby.”

One month later, Andrew’s widow, Crissie, gave birth to their son, Landon. “It’s very hard to just get married the year before, lose him and then have a baby,” said Cindy. “Andrew would have been a great dad. He would have been on the floor playing with him.”

Crissie, who wasn’t available to be interviewed for this story, wanted to honor her late husband. “He just lay down on his daddy’s camouflage outfits,” remembered Kevin of the iconic and emotional pictures of baby Landon lying on his father’s things. The heartbreaking picture touched people all across the world.

Now, Landon is 6-years-old. “He’s asking a lot more questions now,” said Cindy. “At birthday parties, he says, ‘Why isn’t my daddy here,’ and she (Crissie) says, ‘Your daddy would be here if he could.’”




StorySeal™  01101 Authentic

“One Of One” Hand Crafted By Travis Austin. Authenticated Provenance Including Certificate Of Affidavit, Pictures, Video Both Below and In The Blockchain. Learn More About Travis Austin

Commissioned By Randy Murray. Lovingly Designed/Gifted By Janice “JD” Holt In Celebration And  Appreciation For 30 Yr Friendship with CMHOF Member Wynonna Judd         April 22, 2022.





Ralph H. Murray

StorySeal™ 01005

10/8/1919 – 2/28/1988
Branch: Army
Rank: Tech 5
Unit: 997th Field Artillery Battalion
Service Dates: 1942 – 1945
Veteran Station: Normandy to Central Europe
Home County: Franklin
Home City: Pomona and Ottawa, KS
Medals: Good Conduct, ETO, WWII Victory, Combat, 5 Campaign Bronze Stars
Conflicts/Significant Events: Normandy, Northern France, Ardennes, Rhine
Story uploaded/modified: 2009/Feb 9, 2021


Ralph was inducted in Fort Leavenworth March 2, 1942, and became a member of the 997th when it was organized March 1, 1943 in Fort Ord California.

They moved 50 times between March 1st, 1943 and November 1st 1945.
33 moves during their time in combat and 4 moves during the liberation following VE day.

While in combat in the European Theatre of Operations the 997th fired 40,744 rounds which totaled 9,900,306 lbs or 4,950 tons of ammunition. It would have required almost 2000 trucks loaded to capacity to haul this amount of ammunition.

The 997th participated in the Normandy, Northern France, Ardennes (aka as the battle of the bulge), Rhineland, and Central Europe Campaigns.

From what I have learned in researching the history of the 997th from the Battalion Historian, WWII maps, my dads discharge papers, and books/articles on the battles now known as famous battles; my dad and his battalion played a part in history that changed the world.
1. Landing at Omaha Beach to reinforce the D-Day troops.
2. The battle for hill 192.
3. The battle of the hedge rows.
4. The battle for St. Lo..
5. Versailles/Paris.
6. The Ardennes Forest in Belgium (later known as the Battle of the Bulge).
7. Followed by crossing the Rhine. (See Image about 4/1/1945)
8. Finally when firing missions were over they provided security and helped capture enemy soldiers, and control the migration of former POWs and displaced citizens.

This is only a brief summary, more details will be added to flesh out very interesting details about what this battalion witnessed, experienced and most all lived through.

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