Their memory lives on…
Published 9:15 am Friday, May 26, 2023
JOHNSON CITY – Beginning after the American Civil War, Memorial Day has its roots as a day of remembrance for those who have died during United States military service.
In the decades following, communities, cities and states began observing the event.
Now a federal holiday, Memorial Day sees scores of Americans visit cemeteries and memorials, usually placing an American flag at gravesites.
In that spirit, ETSU looks back at former students who gave their lives in service of their country. These veterans are part of the storied history of ROTC at ETSU, now celebrating 70 years of service to the region and country.
Here are the veterans, listed in order of their passing:
Capt. Alvin K. Broyles
Born in Limestone, Broyles graduated from Science Hill High School and lived most of his life in Johnson City. He died in the Vinh Long Province in Vietnam on April 28, 1965. He served as a military adviser to the Army of the Republic of Vietnam and became the first Washington County resident to die in Vietnam.
Capt. Donald J. Fillers
Fillers was born in Greene County in 1939 before attending East Tennessee State College. He died in a helicopter collision near Bien Hoa in Vietnam on May 28, 1965. He is buried in the Andrew Johnson National Cemetery in Greeneville.
Capt. Eugene D. Franklin
Born in Bristol, Tenn., and an alumnus of Tennessee High School, Franklin graduated from East Tennessee State College in 1955. Only 11 days into his service, he was injured in an attack and earned his first Purple Heart. He was killed in an ambush attack in Vietnam on June 24, 1965.
Maj. Billy J. Nave
A native of Johnson City and graduate of Science Hill High School, Nave died in a plane crash at the now-closed Tuy Hoa airbase in Vietnam on June 27, 1966. A member of the East Tennessee State College class of 1955, he majored in history and literature, served as vice president of the Phi Sigma Kappa Fraternity in 1954 and completed ROTC training.
1st Lt. Douglas L. Jones
Growing up in Erwin, Jones was born in 1941. He attended East Tennessee State College before joining the Army. He died on Oct. 12, 1966, in a helicopter crash in Vietnam. He is buried in Unicoi County.
Capt. Gordon O. Walsh
A Johnson City native, Walsh was born in 1940 and graduated from ETSU. He died in a plane crash on April 16, 1967, in South Vietnam. While at ETSU, he was a leader in the ROTC program.
1st Lt. Daniel L. Mullins
Hailing from Wise County, Va., Mullins was born in 1943 and attended ETSU. He died on Aug. 31, 1967, in South Vietnam following a mine explosion. He is buried in Big Stone Gap, Virginia.
Capt. James E. Reed
Born in Kingsport, Reed graduated from Lynn View High School and attended ETSU, lettering in track and field. He died on Feb. 1, 1969, during a heavy artillery attack in Vietnam. Referred to by those whom he served as “the best loved CO in Vietnam,” he is buried in Kingsport.
1st Lt. James D. Dugger
A native of Pennsylvania, Dugger graduated from ETSU in 1969 and served as commander of the ROTC battalion at the university. He died on October 16, 1972, after helping rescue American soldiers injured in Vietnam. He is buried in Elizabethton.
Capt. Daniel E. Graybeal
A Tennessee native and graduate of Happy Valley High School, Graybeal earned a degree in criminal justice from ETSU. He died on Feb. 27, 1991, after his aircraft was hit by enemy fire. He and others had volunteered to rescue 12 seriously wounded soldiers from Iraq. Graybeal is buried at Mountain Home National Cemetery in Johnson City.