Thornton to be Memorial Day speaker

Published 11:32 am Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Veterans of all services, eras, and wars along with their families and friends are invited to attend the annual Memorial Day Ceremony at 9:00 AM, Monday, May 25, 2015, in front of the Jefferson Davis County Court House. This event is sponsored by the Prentiss Lions Club.

The purpose of the Ceremony is to pay our respects to those who have given their last full measure in service to our country.

Guest speaker for the event will be Colonel Charlie M. Thornton, Mississippi Army National Guard, Retired.

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COL Thornton is a graduate of Raymond High School and Hinds Junior College. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Southern Mississippi with a major in History and a Minor in Political Science.

Upon graduation he received a commission as a Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. After serving three years on active duty, he returned to Mississippi at the end of his military service.

In 1986 Mike was appointed as a Captain in the Mississippi Army National Guard and served in that capacity until 1991 when he was appointed to full-time active National Guard duty.

He served as the full-time officer-in-charge at Battalion, Regiment, Group and Brigade level. His final assignment was as Deputy Commander of the 155th Brigade Combat team where he supervised a force of 209 soldiers at 49 unit locations throughout the State of Mississippi.

During his military career, he has served not only in Mississippi, but also in Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Kuwait and Iraq.

During the period 2005 – 2006 he was the Deputy Brigade Commander of the 155th Heavy Brigade Combat Team consisting of 4400 soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines which deployed to Iraq and conducted combat operations in AI Anbar, North Babil, Karbala and Najaf Provinces of Iraq.

Mike’s military education include selection to and completion of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, and the prestigious Army War College where he earned a Master’s Degree in Strategic Studies. In addition he is an Honor Graduate of the U.S. Army Ranger Course, and successfully completed the Special Forces Parachute Course.

He has earned the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, and the Meritorious Service Medal with 5 Oak Leaf Clusters as well as many other awards and decorations for meritorious service and achievement. He has also earned the Combat Infantry’s Badge, The Ranger Tab and the Army Parachutist Badge.

In 2007, Mike retired from the Mississippi Army National Guard with the rank of Colonel with over 26 years of active and reserve service.

Shortly after his retirement, he was hired by the Mississippi Department of Human Services as a special projects officer and served as the Director of the Oakley Training School from February of 2008 until March of 2009. Since then he has performed a variety of duties for the Director and Deputy Director of the DHS.

Mike is married to the former Kim Speights of Prentiss, Mississippi. They are the parents of three children and currently reside here in Prentiss.

Many others from Prentiss and Jefferson Davis County have volunteered their time and services to assist with the ceremony and make it a success.

Sheriff Ron Strickland will have his people prepare and set up the site.

Mr. Charley Dumas, Mayor of Prentiss, will make welcoming remarks.

Mr. Walt Moeller (USA, Retired), of the Prentiss Lions Club, will be Master of Ceremonies, and will present a wreath at the veterans monument.

Reverend Jessie Holloway, Pastor of Outreach Fellowship Revival Center, will give the invocation.

The Color Guard from the Prentiss High School Junior ROTC Battalion will present the Colors and Mr. Kayron Berry will sing the National Anthem.

In addition, the members of the Prentiss Lions Club who have strived to make this ceremony a success in honor of the Veterans of Jefferson Davis County.

Refreshments will be served at the conclusion of the ceremony.

In case of inclement weather, the ceremony will be moved indoors to the courtroom on the second floor of the Courthouse.