Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

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January 9, 2012

Historical marker honoring local veteran dedicated

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CHATFIELD - After leading the U.S. Army through Italy, pushing the Germans before them like a broom sweeping up broken glass, Gen. Lucian Truscott Jr. eventually retired to a sizable farm in rural Virginia. Originally named Rock Hill, the general renamed his farm Chatfield, after the town of his birth in Navarro County.

On Sunday, the tiny Texas community recognized its most famous son with the unveiling of a historical marker and a celebration of his life and accomplishments, a man whose leadership proved essential to victory during World War II.

On hand were about 40 or so members of the extended Truscott family, including his son, James Truscott, who was himself an officer in the Air Force. In addition, there was a small contingent of World War II soldier reenactors, and an impressive World War II band of about 20 or so members.

Helping organize the effort was Rob Jones Jr., who noted that he’d grown up hearing stories about General Truscott, so having a historical marker dedicated to the four-star general was “long overdue.”

“Home is where you start from, and Lucian Truscott started from here,” Jones said, adding that the virtues of growing up in rural American were inculcated early, and Truscott lived those values each day of his illustrious career.

It’s been nearly 100 years since the general joined the U.S. Army in World War I, and since then there has always been a Truscott family member in the military, Jones noted.

“General Truscott began a legacy that continues onto this very day of service in the U.S. military, and I think that’s a wonderful legacy,” he said.

The keynote speaker at the event was Jeff Hunt, director of the Texas Military Forces Museum, located at Camp Mabry in Austin. He detailed the general’s rise in the ranks, as well as the times when he led the 36th Infantry Division, which is the Texas National Guard.

Following World War II, the general was invited to speak at a Memorial Day ceremony and dozens of dignitaries and press were present, along with a large audience. When Truscott got up to speak, however, he turned his back on the people gathered and addressed his remarks of thanks and honor to the graves of the soldiers buried there.

“That story most captures what Truscott was all about,” Hunt explained. “The people of Chatfield and this community have something to be very, very proud of.”

Following the unveiling of the marker, James Truscott said the ceremony and attention to his father’s legacy was welcomed by the entire family.

“I think this is marvelous,” James Truscott said, adding that he wasn’t sure how his father would have reacted to the event.

“He was not one to seek fame and glory,” James recalled. “I think he’d be proud, and I think he’d be pleased.

Although the Truscott family moved away when he was younger, Truscott continued to call himself a Texan, James said.

“The interesting thing about Dad, he was always proud to be from Texas and Chatfield,” James Truscott recalled.

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Janet Jacobs may be reached via email at jacobs@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “sound off” to this article? Email: Soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com

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