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Earnest Wayne Thompson

9/28/1919 – 9/29/2009
Branch: Army
Rank: Staff Sgt.
Outfit: 309th Infantry
Service Dates: 1941 – 1945
County: St. Louis
City: Eureka, MO
Medals: Purple Heart
Conflicts/Significant Events: World War II, Rhineland, Ardennes aka Battle of The Bulge
Story uploaded: Saturday, May 9, 2009 / Thursday, March 7th, 2024


William “Bill” Gohl

3/24/1922 – 12/9/2019
Branch: US Marine Corps
Service Dates: 1941 – 1945
County: St. Louis
Conflicts/Significant Events: Guadalcanal, Guam, Wounded at Iwo Jima in World War II, Purple Heart.
Story uploaded: Friday, December 12, 2008 / December 30, 2023





Perry E. Coy

11/8/1924 – 10/14/2013
Branch: Army
Rank: Staff Sgt.
Outfit: 90th Division
Service Dates: 1944 – 1945
County: Cole
Conflicts/Significant Events: World War II, 2nd wave at Normandy on D-Day, later served under General Patton at The Battle of The Bulge, Including Bastogne. Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart w/ 2 Oak Leaf Clusters
Story uploaded: Saturday, December 13, 2008 / updated: Tuesday, November 14, 2023



Charles “Charlie” Palek

3/9/1949 – 4/26/2016
Branch: Army
Rank: E5
Outfit: 9th
Service Dates: 1967 – 1970

3 Purple Hearts, A Silver Star, A Bronze Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Combat Infantry Badge, 7 Air Medals and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry. He was a Gunner and Scout Helicopter Cambodia Wrote the Book “Tattletale”
Story uploaded: Friday, August 14, 2009 / Updated: Friday, May 26, 2023






William C. Stilwell

1/8/1918 – 1/17/2020
Branch: Army
Rank: PFC
Unit: 121st Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron
Outfit: Troop B
Service Dates: 1944-06-05 – 1945-11-11
Veteran Station: St. Louis
County: St. Louis
Medals: Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Infantry Badge, German Army of Occupation
Conflicts/Significant Events: World War II, Rhineland and Central Europe
Story Uploaded Tuesday, May 8, 2007/Modified Monday, January 23rd, 2023

Les Winters

Keeper of The Flame’s “Honor Guard Story Guard” is Blessed to Keep the Sacred Story of Leston M. Winters 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 Beth, Remington, Ryder & Emma at an event supporting the on July 29th, 2019. StorySeal™ 01002

Sgt. Leston M. Winters, 30, of Sour Lake, Texas, died Thursday in Kandahar province after this unit was attacked with an improvised explosive. Winters was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division. Winters was a civil affairs medical sergeant who joined the Army in July 1998 and arrived at Fort Campbell in April 2010. He died just months after volunteering for his 3rd tour of duty.

Winters is survived by his wife, Elizabeth, son, Remington, and daughter Emma, all of Palmyra, Tenn.; son Jonathon, of Germany; and parents, Kenneth and Cheryl Spivey, of Sour Lake, Texas.

Michael J. Blassie

April 4th, 1948 – May 11th 1972



Unknown no longer, Lt. Michael Blassie was laid to rest on Saturday July 11th, 1998 in Missouri soil, under a Traditional VA Memorial bearing his name at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery near his childhood home, over the hill from the Mississippi River.  Lt. Michael Blassie was listed as Missing in Action on May 11, 1972, when his Air Force Jet was shot down near An Loc, South Vietnam near the Cambodian border. Then for fourteen years, from 1984 through 1998 Mike’s remains rested in the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery representing those MIA from the Vietnam War.  The full military funeral was held under gray skies and attended by hundreds of veterans, friends, relatives and well-wishers, including Secretary of Defense William Cohen. A formation of four F-15 jets flew overhead, and one of the four broke away in the traditional “missing man” salute.  “He was strong, he was fearless, and he loved what he was doing,” said Patricia Blassie, one of the flier’s four siblings, all of whom spoke at the graveside service. “He was the heart, the soul and the spirit that is America.”  Blassie was 24 years old and a highly decorated Air Force pilot.  The fighting was so intense in the area that the site could not be searched immediately. When remains were found in October 1972 the bones were tentatively identified as those of Blassie, based on an identification card and other effects. But by 1980, that classification was changed to “unknown.”  On Memorial Day, 1984, the remains were buried at the Tomb of the Unknowns alongside unknown servicemen from World War I, World War II and Korea.  An investigation by CBS News prompted the Defense Department to review the case. Blassie’s remains were disinterred and a sample of mitochondrial DNA was removed from the pelvis and matched to a sample provided by the flier’s mother, Jean.  The remains were brought to St. Louis on Friday, and relatives and friends gathered at Scott Air Force base, near his hometown of Florissant, a suburb north of St. Louis. A memorial service was held on Friday night at a Roman Catholic church.  “This has meant so much to us,” George Blassie, Blassie’s brother, said during Friday’s service. “We believe Michael would have been proud of how we pulled together to bring him home.”  The grave site is in the oldest part of the 172-year-old cemetery, and is surrounded by the graves of veterans of World War I and World War II, including several containing remains of more than one person. Ms. Blassie, who is a captain in the Air Force Reserve, explained the family’s quest to identify her brother’s remains and to bury him close to home.  “I kept searching my soul and asking myself what was so important about just six bones,” she said. “But the answer came from my heart. It’s important because it’s my brother.”


On behalf of Missouri Governor Michael L. Parson, the Blassie Family, the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) Class of 1970 and the Jefferson Barracks POW MIA Museum Board of Directors, please join us on Tuesday, May 11, 2021 for the Lt Michael Blassie Day Virtual Event.
Governor Parson has proclaimed May 11, 2021 as LT MICHAEL BLASSIE DAY “in Missouri in Honor of Missouri’s son U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Michael Joseph Blassie, and in Honor of all our Missing and Unaccounted For and their Families who bear or who have born the burden, mostly in anonymity, of great personal loss and agonizing uncertainty.”
During this Virtual Event you will hear from Governor Parson along with seven of Michael’s classmates from the USAFA Class of 1970.  Also, a stunning plaque from the Class of 1970 will be unveiled and dedicated to the Lt Michael Blassie Memorial Room at the Jefferson Barracks POW MIA Museum.
At 24 years old, Michael was shot down and killed over An Loc, Vietnam on May 11, 1972, during one of the most intense battles of the Vietnam War.  Unbeknownst to the Blassie family, Michael was found and eventually interred as the Vietnam Unknown Soldier, Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day 1984.
Due to overwhelming evidence within official government documents indicating the Vietnam Unknown Soldier was Michael, the Blassie family requested that the remains from the Tomb be disinterred to perform DNA testing.  The family’s request was honored.  The DNA test proved that the Unknown Soldier was Michael allowing the family to bring him home to his final resting place at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St. Louis, July 11, 1998.
Listen to Michael’s Sister Patricia and several Air Force Academy Class Graduates remember Michael here
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.’”




Joseph J. Frank

1947 – N/A
Branch: Army
Service Dates: 1966-1968
Conflicts/Significant Events: Vietnam, Purple Heart
An Original Pilot Story For Missouri Veteran Stories and Hometown Heroes America’s Veteran Stories