Memorial Day Observance promises to bring a crowd

  • Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Col. Clarence Hilton, Chief of Force Integration Team, Deputy Commander for the Military Intelligence Readiness Command will be guest speaker at the Memorial Day observance. The observance will be presented at the Alex Chatman Complex located next to the Williamsburg County Courthouse in Kingstree. PHOTO PROVIDED

Williamsburg County is home to thousands of veterans and hundreds of active duty and National Guard servicemen and women. On Monday, May 26, they along with the local citizenry will observe Memorial Day, which commemorates the men and women who died in military service. At the local level, the Williamsburg County Veteran’s Affairs Office will host an Observance at the Alex Chatman Complex located beside the courthouse on Main Street in Kingstree.

Colonel Clarence Hilton, Chief of Force Integration Team, Deputy Commander for the Military Intelligence Readiness Command will be key speaker. Colonel Hilton is the Senior Army Instructor (SAI) at C.E. Murray High School; he joined the C. E. Murray staff in July 2013.

COL Hilton graduated from Scott Branch High School, Summerton, South Carolina. After graduating from Howard University, Washington, DC, COL Hilton began his military career as a Military Intelligence officer at Fort Huachuca, Arizona.

COL Hilton has over 33 years of experience in the Intelligence Community, working with the following organizations: Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), National Security Agency (NSA), Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Department of State (DOS), Department of Justice (DOJ), and the United States Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM).

COL Hilton’s awards and decorations include: Legion of Merit (with Oak Leaf Cluster), Meritorious Service Medal (with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters), Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal (with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster), Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Army Superior Unit Award, Master Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge and the Army Staff Identification Badge.

Since Veteran’s Affairs director, retired Army National Guard First Sergeant Robert McClary’s appointment in August 2013, he has been working hard for the 2,464 veterans. He has been successful in having County Council and the Town of Kingstree proclaim Williamsburg as a Purple Heart County and plans to visit every municipality for the same.

McClary is also carrying on a tradition spearheaded by former director Gusta Gains. After the Memorial Day program veterans are invited to the Cassleshack for a complementary meal.

Since Veteran’s Affairs director, retired Army National Guard First Sergeant Robert McClary’s appointment in August 2013, he has been working hard for the 2,464 veterans. He has been successful in having County Council and Kingstree Council proclaim Williamsburg as a Purple Heart County and plans to visit every municipality for the same.

McClary is also carrying on a tradition spearheaded by former director Gusta Gains. After the Memorial Day program veterans are invited to the Cassleshack for a complementary meal.

Another event that faded years ago is being resurrected. McClary’s plans are to bring back the Veterans parade and he has proposed the idea to the Kingstree Town Council and County Council. The local office historically has operated on a thin budget even though the veterans - through their $20.1 million in benefits - annually contribute a huge financial chunk to the local economy. McClary is in high hopes both governmental bodies will support him in this meaningful endeavor.

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