Thornton to be speaker for annual Memorial Day ceremony

Published 11:05 am Monday, May 13, 2024

Veterans of all services, eras, and wars along with their families and friends are invited to attend the annual Memorial Day Ceremony at 9 a.m. May 27.  The ceremony will be held in front of the Jefferson Davis County Courthouse and is being coordinated by the Jefferson Davis County Veterans Affairs office and the Town of Prentiss.

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

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

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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 2008 until March of 2009. Since then, he has performed a variety of duties for the Director and Deputy Director of the DHS.

A flag will be placed in front of the monument for each Jefferson Davis County soldier killed in action as their name is read, followed by the placing of the wreath and playing of Taps.

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.