Black History Month Honoring Montgomery County Residents Who Served in the U.S. Armed or Uniformed Services

Press Release:  Montgomery County Commission on Veterans Affairs, During Black History Month, Establishes Virtual Tribute to Honor County Residents Who Served Country

The records show these men and women as enlisting, being originally from, or having at one time lived in Montgomery County, MD. We consider the U.S. Department of Defense home of entry records as the official designation of military residency.

 

Ricky Black

Ricky Black

Ricky Black volunteered for the draft following the death of his brother. He served as a Sergeant in the 1st Cavalry (Airmobile) Division with the U.S. Army and received the Army Accommodation with a “V” device for heroism. Black retired after working 40 years. He currently resides in Silver Spring, Maryland with his wife Sandra. To learn more about Black, please view the documentary  Honor and Gratitude: Chronicles of Montgomery County Vietnam Veterans .
John Henry Chaney

John Henry Chaney, Sr.

Chaney was drafted into the Marines in World War II and was assigned to the 8th Field Regiment, which was attached to the 5th Marine Division. The 8th Field Regiment unit was formed after President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued an executive order in 1941 requiring all branches of the military to accept people of color. Blacks had served in nearly every American conflict before then, but the Marine Corps was the last branch of the military to officially allow them into its ranks. During the war, Chaney transported ammunition as part of an all-black unit. He witnessed the hoisting of the flag at Iwo Jima. On June 28, 2012, 368 former Montford Point Marines, including Chaney, received the Congressional Gold Medal for their part in desegregating the Marine Corps and the military as a whole. He was born and raised in Montgomery County. He lived in Boyds, Maryland until 2018 before relocating to Orlando, Florida with his daughter Mary Chaney-Johnson.  View full profile
Fred Cherry, Sr.

Fred Cherry, Sr.

The retired Air Force Colonel lived in Silver Spring until his death at age 87 in 2016. On Oct. 25, 1965, his F-105 Thunderchief fighter bomber was shot down over North Vietnam. He ejected and subsequently captured, becoming the first and highest-ranking black officer to become a prisoner of war in Vietnam. He spent seven years as a POW before being released on Feb. 12, 1973. He retired from the Air Force in 1981, with his last assignment at the Defense Intelligence Agency. For his actions in Vietnam, he was awarded the Air Force Cross, the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit, two Distinguished Flying Crosses, two Bronze Stars, two Purple Hearts, the Meritorious Service Metal and the Outstanding Service to the Community Award from the Tuskegee Airmen. View full profile
Veronica Childers

Veronica Childers

Served as a nurse in the U.S. Army for 12 years during the Gulf War. She worked out of Fitzsimons Army Medical Center in Aurora, Colorado. She was promoted to Captain during her time in the Army.  Childers has lived in Montgomery County since 1997. She has lived in Takoma Park, Silver Spring, and Olney and currently resides in Gaithersburg. She works for the Housing Opportunities Commission (HOC) of Montgomery County. 
Norvell V. Coots

Norvell V. Coots, M.D., MSS, FAAD

Brigadier General (Ret.) Coots is a Global War on Terror-era and Iraq-Afghanistan-era Veteran who served in the U.S. Army from 1980 to 2016. He was the Final Commander at Walter Reed Healthcare System and Walter Reed Army Medical Center from 2008 – 2011. From 2012 to 2013 he served as Surgeon General, U.S. Forces Afghanistan and ISAF Joint Command Medical Advisor, and served as the Assistant Surgeon General for Force Protection and Deputy Commanding General, U.S. Army Medical Command from 2013 to 2014. He was also Commanding General, Regional Health Command-Europe, and Command Surgeon U.S. Army Europe and 7 th Army from 2014 to 2016. He is currently President and CEO, Holy Cross Health and President and CEO, Maryland Region, Trinity Health. Brigadier General (Ret.) Coots is a past resident of Rockville and currently resides in Laytonsville, Maryland.
James

James "Pat" Daugherty

The staff sergeant served in the only African-American infantry division to see action in Europe during World War II as part of the 92nd Infantry’s Italian Campaign. He received the Bronze Star Medal for heroic achievement and a Combat Infantryman Badge. After the war, he returned to Maryland. Mr. Daugherty became the first African American to serve as a member of the Montgomery County Board of Education. He died at age 91 in 2015. View full profile
Justin Davis

Justin R. Davis

A native of Gaithersburg who attended Magruder High School in Rockville, he enlisted in the Army as an infantryman. He was a member of an elite unit the Alpha Company of the 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment of the 10th Mountain Division. He deployed to Afghanistan in February 2006. He was killed in action on June 25, 2006, in Korengal Valley, Afghanistan, where he was part of Operation Enduring Freedom. View full profile



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Lillian Fishburne

Lillian Fishburne

The Rockville resident made history by being the first African-American woman to attain the rank of rear admiral when she was promoted by President Bill Clinton in 1998. This followed her tenures as chief of the Command and Control Systems Support Division in Washington, D.C., and as commander of the Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station of the Eastern Pacific. She retired in 2001 with decorations including the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, two Meritorious Service Medals, two Navy Commendation Medals and the Navy Achievement Medal. View full profile

Jeremiah Floyd

Jeremiah Floyd

The current Bethesda resident served in the Air Force from 1951-68. After leaving the service, he earned a PhD from Northwestern University. He was a secondary school mathematics teacher for 11 years and principal for five. He is a retired associate director of the National School Board Association and formerly served on the Montgomery County Board of Education. Dr. Floyd currently serves as First Vice President of the Montgomery County NAACP. View full profile

Charles Frazier

Charles Frazier

The Germantown resident in 1944 graduated from Lincoln High School in Rockville, the County’s then-only black high school. He was immediately drafted and served in the 8th Field Regiment Unit, 5th Marine Division after training at Montford Point, N.C. The Montford Point Marines were the first blacks to serve in the Marine Corps. On Feb. 22, 1945, Mr. Frazier landed on Iwo Jima. The black unit at first was kept separate from the white Marines, but during battle, they all served together. On June 28, 2012, he was among the former Montford Point Marines to receive the Congressional Gold Medal. View full profile
Gloria White Gardner

Gloria White Gardner

The Rockville resident was a neuropsychiatric nurse, serving in the Navy from 1960-63 at Bethesda Naval Hospital. She has more 35 years of experience working for federal executive agencies in Washington, D.C., and with national and state nonprofit organizations and faith-based institutions. As a contractor for the U.S. Department of Commerce Patent and Trademark Office, she investigated and resolved cases regarding complaints of discrimination. View full profile

Ella May Gray

Ella May Gray

Served in the U.S. Air Force as a Senior Airman from 1994 to 1998. As a health services administrator, she worked in various administrative positions within the base hospital including the orderly room, medical library and medical records. She also performed ceremonial duties with the base Honor Guard. Gray grew up in East Tennessee and graduated from Alcoa High School in 1994. She graduated from Troy University, Troy, Alabama, with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and Psychology in 2000. She also graduated from LaSalle University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, earning a Master of Arts in Clinical Counseling Psychology in 2005. Gray has been a licensed psychotherapist in Montgomery County since 2010. In 2016, she opened Guiding Principles Counseling Services, LLC, in Gaithersburg. Gray is currently a resident of Germantown.
Elwood Gray

Elwood Raphael Gray, Jr.

The Silver Spring resident served in Vietnam in the 101st Airborne Division from 1962-65. He went to serve as pastor of Peace in the Valley Baptist Church, as president of the Black Ministers Conference of Montgomery County, as president of the National Coalition of Prison Ministries and as a member of the alumni at the Howard University School of Divinity. Dr. Gray is the editor of “The Messenger,” a newsletter published by the National Coalition of Prison Ministries. View full profile
Greg Hamilton

Otto Gregory Vincent Hamilton

A Vietnam veteran, he served in the U.S. Navy in 1969 to 1970, including an assignment on the USS Hickman County LST 825. His post-military career included 20 years as a printing services/mail desk supervisor for the Washington Post. In 1987, he was elected to the Takoma Park City Council. While in Vietnam, he was exposed to Agent Orange and spent much of his life battling the health effects. He was a member of Rolling Thunder Maryland and for many years was among the volunteers who wash and maintain the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Mr. Hamilton died on March 10, 2012. View full profile

 

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Arthur Holmes, Jr.

Arthur Holmes, Jr.

An Olney resident, Major General Holmes served almost four decades in the U.S. Army. A highly distinguished officer, the awards and decorations he earned included the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal and the Distinguished Service Medal. He served in Vietnam in 1971. In 1991, he was inducted into the 1999 Ordinance Corps Hall of Fame. Major General Holmes later served for seven years on the Montgomery County Planning Board. For 10 years, he was director of the County’s Department of Public Works and Transportation. View full profile
Preston Jamison

Preston Jamison

He was drafted into the U.S. Army in October 1965 during the Vietnam War. He attended basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. After graduating from basic, he went to advanced individual training at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, in January 1966. He was assigned to the 44  th  Medical Brigade in Long Bien, South Vietnam on January 12, 1967.  Jamison lives in Wheaton, Maryland with Sherry, his wife of over 50 years. They have 3 sons, 11 grandchildren, and 3 great grandchildren. Jamison is a member of Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church located in East Montgomery County. 
Isiah Leggett

Isiah Leggett

The former three-term Montgomery County Executive and current Burtonsville resident served as a captain in the Army, including an assignment in Vietnam in 1969. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for his service in Vietnam. He was the first African American to be elected to the Montgomery County Council, serving four terms starting in 1986. His colleagues elected him Council President three times. He introduced legislation that created the Montgomery County Commission on Veterans Affairs in 2008 and he led the dedication of the County’s Vietnam War Memorial in May 2018. View full profile
Charles McGee

Charles McGee

Brigadier General Charles McGee is a retired pilot who was one of the Tuskegee Airmen and a career officer in the U.S. Air Force for 30 years who flew a total of 409 combat missions in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. McGee has been recognized for his combat and military service with a number of awards including: Distinguished Flying Cross with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Legion of Merit with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Bronze Star, Air Medal with 25 Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Commendation Medal, Congressional Gold Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, Korean Presidential Unit Citation, Hellenic Republic World War II Commemorative Medal along with related campaign and service ribbons. He is a member of the National Aviation Hall of Fame.   View full profile
Roscoe Nix

Roscoe Nix

After serving in the U.S. Army in Europe during World War II, the future Civil Rights leader graduated from Howard University and settled in Montgomery County. A federal government employee, in 1974 he became the second African American elected to the Montgomery County Board of Education and railed against school segregation. He sought improved educational opportunities and early childhood initiatives. In 2001, he was inducted into the Montgomery County Human Rights Hall of Fame. Roscoe R. Nix Elementary School in Silver Spring was named for him in 2006.Mr. Nix died at the age of 90 in 2012. View full profile
LaMont Nowlin

LaMont Nowlin

Served in the U.S. Navy in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. He graduated from John F. Kennedy High School, Montgomery College, and University of Maryland University College.



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Jonathan Powell

Jonathan Powell

Served in the U.S. Navy from 1994 to 2001. He was an Officer on USS Dallas and was also deployed on USS Philadelphia and USS Grayling. He concluded his active duty service as a Regional Director for Admissions at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis. Powell’s first post-Navy job was working for IBM in Gaithersburg in 2001. He currently lives in Montgomery County with his wife Alexandra. 
Charles A. Ray

Charles A. Ray

Enlisted in the U.S. Army in July 1962. After service in Germany, Ray attended Officer Candidate School at Fort Sill, Oklahoma and was commissioned 2d Lieutenant.  He served again in Germany, then served two tours in Vietnam (1968-1969, 1972-1973), and two tours in South Korea (1973-1976 and 1979-1981). Ray completed Special Forces training in 1967 and Intelligence training in 1969. He retired as a U.S. Army Major. After retirement, he joined the U.S. Foreign Service and served as diplomat (including two postings as a U.S. ambassador in Cambodia and Zimbabwe), and as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for POW/Missing Personnel Affairs. Ray has been a Montgomery County resident since 1988.
Vernon Ricks, Jr.

Vernon Ricks, Jr.

The Potomac resident served in the Air Force’s 341st Wing, Strategic Air Command, from 1961-65 as a missile technician and teletype/crypto specialist. He went on to work for Xerox, where he rose to become the manager of field services. Throughout his career, he devoted his time to serving as a mentor to young African Americans. Mr. Ricks was the first black elected municipal official in Montgomery County, serving as councilmember and mayor pro-term in the City of Takoma Park from 1972-82. He is a member of the Mount Zion United Methodist Church in Georgetown, the oldest African American congregation in Washington, D.C., where he serves as chair of the Trustee Board. View full profile
Miguel Sapp

Miguel A. Sapp

Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Miguel A. Sapp served 28 years of active and reserve duty in the U.S. Army.  He commanded at the platoon, battery, company, and battalion level.  His military obligations included back to back tours in support of Operation Sea Signal and Operation Uphold Democracy in Guantanamo, Cuba and Haiti respectively.  LTC (Ret.) Sapp also served two tours in Iraq and received the Bronze Star, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, and the Iraqi Campaign Medal with three campaign stars, the Combat Action Badge, the Valorous Unit Award and the Joint Meritorious Unit Award with two oak leaf clusters for his service in Iraq.  He currently serves as the Senior Vice Commander of VFW Post 2562 in Silver Spring.  In addition he serves as a Veteran Benefit Specialist II for the Maryland Department of Veteran Affairs in Montgomery County. LTC (Ret.) Sapp currently resides in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Senator William Smith, Jr.

Senator William C. Smith, Jr.

The Silver Spring resident is a lieutenant in the United States Navy Reserves and is a Maryland State Senator. In 2019, Senator Smith deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, serving in Kabul, Afghanistan. Senator Smith is a graduate from the College of William and Mary, earned a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University and a law degree from William and Mary. Senator Smith was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates in November 2014 and was appointed to the Maryland Senate in December 2016. He is a member of the Senate’s Legislative Black Caucus and in December 2019 was appointed chair of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. View full profile
Joyce Tabb

Joyce Tabb

Served Active Duty Army during the Gulf War from 1975-1978 as a Finance Specialist at Fort Hood, Texas, with honorably discharge in December 1978 as Sergeant.  She immediately joined the Army Reserves in January 1979 serving in Norfolk and Richmond, Virginia and later Riverdale, Maryland, serving until retirement in 1996 as Sergeant First Class.  While assigned to the U.S. Army Reserves in Riverdale, Tabb served in Operation Desert Storm during the Gulf War at Fort Meade, Maryland, in 1991.  During her 21 years of service she worked as a Finance Specialist, Administrative Specialist, Payroll Clerk, Supply Specialist, and Training Specialist and received numerous rewards for her service.   Tabb has worked in Management and Budget for the Montgomery County Police Department since March 2014 as a Fiscal Assistant and Accountant/Auditor.



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Willie Vaughn

Willie Vaughn

Enlisted in the U.S. Army and served in Active Duty at Fort Polk, Louisiana; Fort Meade, Maryland; Fort Monroe, Virginia; Germany, Korea, Vietnam (2 tours) and  finally at Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC), Washington, D.C.   During his military career he served in logistics and received the Good Conduct Medal Bronze Clasp with 5 loops; National Defense Service Medal; Vietnam Service Medal with 4 Stars; Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal; andExpert (Rifle M-14 and M-16).  Upon completion of military service, Vaughn entered the Federal government as an employee of the Logistics Division, WRAMC and retired in 2002 from the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology. He lived in Silver Spring, Montgomery County, for over 30 years with his wife Cheryl and two children. Vaughn passed away in 2006.
Ernest Walker

Ernest Walker

Served in the U.S. Navy during Vietnam as a Torpedoman’s Mate Third Class, from September 3, 1965 to September 2, 1969. He served aboard the USS Perkins (DD-877) with two tours to the Western Pacific and Vietnam and one tour to the same areas aboard the USS Robert L. Wilson (DD-847). Walker currently resides in Kensington, Maryland.
Charles Williams

Charles Williams

Served in the U.S. Army as a Buffalo Soldier from Aug. 11, 1941, through Nov. 27, 1945, in the 15th Infantry. He was wounded while fighting in the D-Day Invasion of Normandy and was awarded a Purple Heart Medal. The Laytonsville native later worked for the U.S. Government Printing Office and the National Labor Relations Board. His family moved to Lyttonsville near Silver Spring—a community founded in 1853 by freed African-American Samuel Lytton. Mr. Williams died at the age of 95 in 2015. View full profile
Michael Wilson

Michael Wilson

Completed basic training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina and subsequently served as an Infantryman and Scout Sniper with 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines (1989-1993) in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.  From 1994 to 2010, Wilson served in both the North Carolina Army National Guard and Virginia Army National Guard (VANG) as a Military Police Officer, Squad Leader, Platoon Sergeant, and Operations Non-Commissioned Officer.  During this time, he was deployed to Kosovo in 2004 and deployed in 2008 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom where he served with the VANG as a Military Police Platoon Sergeant supporting the training mission of Iraqi Police Officers. Wilson retired in 2010 as Sergeant First Class. He currently is an appointed Commissioner with the Montgomery County Commission on Veterans Affairs and is a member of the Gaithersburg-Rockville (MD) Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated.  Wilson is currently a resident of Germantown, Maryland.  View full profile
Glen Barry Wolff

Glen Barry Wolff

Enlisted in the U.S. Air Force from 1968 to 1972 as an aircraft maintenance specialist. He served a year in Thailand with the 436th Organizational Maintenance Squadron and the 16th Special Operations Squadron. He worked on various types of fixed-wing aircraft including the C-121 Constellation, C-123 Provider, C-130 Hercules, C-141 Starlifter and the C-5A Galaxy.  Wolff was promoted to Sergeant during his time in the Air Force.  After his commitment to the U.S. Air Force, he completed a Bachelor of Science Degree at Delaware State University and a Master of Art at Central Michigan University. Wolff worked in Federal Government as an auditor for 26 years and retired in 2003. He continued working after his retirement as a security office r with Coastal International Security , a baseball umpire with the Metropolitan Baseball Umpires Association and a substitute teacher for the Montgomery  County Public School System. Wolff is a Life Member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and his post is 974. He has volunteered some of his time at Shepherd's Table, the Mid-County Community Recreation Center and with his college alumni association. He currently lives with his wife Brenda in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Waverly Woodson

Waverly “Woody” Woodson, Jr.

One of only two black members of an anti-aircraft officers’ training school, he was told before graduation that there were too many antiaircraft officers and was sent back to the 320th Barrage Balloon Battalion for training as a medic. The battalion’s job was to set up explosive-rigged balloons to deter German planes. At a time when the military was still segregated by race, the balloon battalion was the only African American combat unit to land on Normandy on June 6, 1944. Mr. Woodson’s landing craft hit a mine on the way to Omaha Beach. Although wounded, he went on to spend 30 hours on the beach tending to other wounded men before eventually collapsing. Among the honors he received were the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star Medal. Mr. Woodson went on to study medical technology and worked for 28 years at the Naval Medical Center in Bethesda. Mr. Woodson, who lived in Clarksburg, died in 2005 at age 83. View full profile
William Harvey Zeigler

William Harvey Zeigler

A Damascus native who still lives in that northern Montgomery community, he was drafted into the Army on Dec. 8, 1941—one day after the bombing of Pearl Harbor—and served through November 1945. He was a private first class in the 329th segregated unit that protected supplies needed on the front lines of Europe. His grandfather escaped slavery in South Carolina in the 1860s through the Underground Railroad. At age 25, Mr. Zeigler returned to Montgomery County and joined the NAACP. He worked as a youth director to help young African Americans and organized a Montgomery County group to attend the historic 1963 March on Washington. Mr. Zeigler, who founded an AMVETS chapter in Frederick, earned numerous honors, including induction into the Montgomery County Human Rights Hall of Fame. View full profile



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If you would like to share your story or the story of a friend or family member, please either fill out our Google form or fill out the PDF form. Questions can be directed to Carly.Clem@montgomerycountymd.gov or Betsy.Luecking@montgomerycountymd.gov


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