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Presenting a Medal of Honor

On May 14, 1946 General A. A. Vandegrift, Commandant of the Marine Corps, signed his letter addressed to Mrs. Laura Francis Lummus: 

"My dear Mrs. Lummus:  

"I take pride in informing you that the President of the United States has posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor with citation to your son, the late First Lieutenant Jack Lummus, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty in action against enemy Japanese forces on Iwo Jima in the Volcano Islands, 8 March 1945.

"In accordance with custom, this Headquarters wishes to arrange a formal presentation of the medal and citation to you under such conditions and at such place as may suit your wishes and convenience.

"I tender again my sympathy and condolence in your bereavement and also assure you that the entire Service shares your pride in the heroic conduct of your son."

On May 20, 1946 Laura Lummus replied to General Vandegrift:

"Dear General Vandegrift:  

"May I express my deepest appreciation for your kind letter of May 14, 1946.

"If possible I would like very much to have the presentation made in Ennis where, through cooperation of the local American Legion Post, a program can be arranged for May 30th at 8:00 P.M.

"I am proud that my son served his country well and for this recognition."

On Memorial Day, May 30, 1946 at 8:00 p.m. at Tabernacle Baptist Church in Ennis, Texas, a Memorial Service, under the auspices of the American Legion and Auxiliary, was held to honor Ennis area war dead, and host a Medal of Honor Ceremony. Mrs. Laura Francis Lummus would be presented the Medal of Honor awarded posthumously to her son, 1st Lt. Jack Lummus.

At the top of the program Father C. E. McTamney of Holy Redeemer Church gave the invocation followed by W. F. Onstead, Adjutant, American Legion, reading the names inscribed on the Roll Call of Honor for Ennis area war dead. 

The Memorial Service continued with a solo of "My Buddy" by George H. Barney, Jr. The Memorial Day address was given by Reverend James T. Duvall, Chaplain, American Legion. George P. Hines, Commander, Veteran of Foreign Wars, introduced Rear Admiral Joseph James "Jocko" Clark, Chief of Naval Air Basic Training, Corpus Christi Naval Air Station, Corpus Christi, Texas.

Admiral Clark was detached from sea duty in the Central Pacific on June 16, 1945, after more then four years at sea. On December 7, 1941 he was Commander Clark, Executive Officer aboard the USS Yorktown (CV-5). On January 2, 1942 he was promoted to captain, and assigned to command the new escort carrier USS Suwannee (ACV-27), and participated in the invasion of North Africa. On April 15, 1943 Captain Clark was assigned to command the new USS Yorktown (CV-10). The USS Yorktown (CV-5) had been sunk in the Battle of Midway on June 7, 1942 in 3,000 fathoms of water with her battle flags flying. On January 31, 1944 Clark was promoted to rear admiral, and on March 15 raised his flag in the USS Hornet (CV-12), which was his flagship until detached from sea duty. On April 13, 1944 Admiral Clark was assigned to command Task Group 58.1 in Fast Carrier Task Force 58 in 5th Fleet. Clark was Commander of Task Group 58.1 until June 16, 1945, at which time he was assigned a shore billet taking command after landing at Corpus Christi Naval Air Station on July 3.

Admiral Clark spoke briefly paying tribute to the men who gave their lives on Iwo Jima. He termed the battle for Iwo Jima, "the bloodiest fighting of the war." He urged, "a strong right arm to prevent the rise of any aggressor who could again plunge the world into brutal conflict." 

Following Admiral Clark's speech, Lieutenant Colonel James T. Wilbur, USMC, read the Citation signed by President Harry S. Truman awarding the  Medal of Honor posthumously to First Lieutenant Jack Lummus, USMCR.

Following Lt. Col. Wilbur's reading of the Citation, Admiral Clark presented the nation's highest award in the name of the Congress of the United States to Mrs. Laura Francis Lummus. At the moment Clark fastened the clasp joining the two ends of the ribbon holding the Medal, Johnny Hayes, staff photographer of the Dallas Times Herald, snapped the award winning photograph entitled "Medal for a Son" that captured "fierce pride and tragic sorrow" in the face of the mother.

Following the Memorial Day Service Laura Lummus hosted a reception at her home for Navy and Marine representatives, American Legion and Auxiliary, friends and family.  

Jack Lummus Bio 

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