ROTC Welcomes Four Inductees Into 2020 Hall of Heroes
JONESBORO – Four alumni of Arkansas State University’s Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program will be inducted into the prestigious Hall of Heroes in a special induction ceremony Saturday, Nov. 14, and recognized at halftime of A-State’s football game with Louisiana-Monroe in Centennial Bank Stadium at 2 p.m.
The inductees are Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Bentley E. Story of Forrest City; First Sergeant (Ret.) Francis H. Gay Sr. of Newport; First Lieutenant (Ret.) David S. Douglas; and First Lieutenant Larry Gene Moody (killed in action).
Following an open house at 8:30 a.m. in the Military Science building that includes a tour of facilities and the Hall of Heroes, the induction ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. at the Cooper Alumni Center, 2600 Alumni Boulevard.
LTC Bentley E. Story earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and was commissioned a distinguished military graduate as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army in 1971. He went on to graduate from the University of Memphis School of Law with his Juris Doctor degree.
LTC Story served on active duty as the Command Judge Advocate, Headquarters, U.S. Army Security Agency, from 1974 to 1977. He was the legal officer for contract reviews for the Army Security Agency Material Support Command, giving legal approval for over $50 million in ASA procurements.
LTC Story served in the Reserve Component from 1977 to 1999. He mobilized in 1990-91 for Operation Desert Storm serving as the general staff judge advocate for the 332nd medical brigade of the VII Corps in Saudi Arabia. While there he provided legal advice and services for the Brigade Commander, 56 subordinate commanders, and more than 5,000 soldiers. He was awarded the Southwest Asia Service Medal, the Kuwait Liberation Medal, and the Bronze Star. He returned from the war to serve with the 332nd Medical Brigade in Nashville, the 3rd MED COM in Jackson, Miss., and the 125th ARCOM in Nashville.
In 1983, LTC Story was sworn in as chancery judge for the First Judicial Circuit of Arkansas, making him the youngest sitting circuit judge in the state. He was reelected unopposed five times and after 32 years he retired in December 2014 as the longest-sitting circuit judge in Arkansas at that time. He is a past president of the Arkansas Judicial Council and the first recipient of the Arkansas Judicial Council’s Community Service Award.
He and his wife, Linda Jones Story, also a 1971 A-State graduate, live in Forrest City and have two grown children, Emily and Bentley, and three grandchildren.
First Sergeant Francis Gay Sr. enlisted in the U. S. Army in 1950 in Searcy. He served on active duty for over 21 years with overseas tours in West Germany, Korea and Vietnam. Serving in many capacities throughout his career, he was the senior military science instructor for the Arkansas State Red Wolf Battalion from 1965-68. During this time, he utilized his experiences and leadership skills to prepare young cadets to become second lieutenants while continuing his education at A-State.
Following this assignment, he deployed to Vietnam with the American Division. During his deployment, he was a combat hero in connection with ground operations against a hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam. On Nov. 28, 1968, while serving with B Company, 4th Bn, 31st infantry regiment, his company was conducting routine operations when it encountered a concealed enemy force. One platoon sustained several casualties and did not have a medic immediately available.
First Sergeant Gay located a senior aidman and took him to the wounded soldiers and took charge of moving the wounded to a secure location. On his return to the company post, he learned the company commander had also been seriously wounded. He assumed command of the unit and regrouped his men. After all of the casualties had been extracted, First Sergeant Gay rallied his men and led an assault on an enemy emplacement. For his valor, he was awarded the Bronze Star medal with Valor on June 22, 1969.
After his retirement from active duty, he moved his family to Newport where he was a co-founder for a new JROTC program and spent many years molding high school cadets into future leaders. He later followed his passion to become a commercial truck driver and was an owner operator for several years. Eventually he was hired to assist and teach at the commercial driving course located at Arkansas State University-Newport.
First Lieutenant Larry Gene Moody was born in Dell Jan. 24, 1941. After graduating from Dell High School as the valedictorian, he attended then-Arkansas State College and received a Bachelor Science degree in mathematics in 1962. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army branched infantry.
Shortly after graduation, Moody was sent to Korea for a year and then returned and attended schools at Fort Hood, Texas, and Fort Bragg, N.C. He completed the military assistance training adviser course and he was deployed to Vietnam.
On July 8, 1965, a Viet Cong ambush wiped out the major portion of a Vietnamese government battalion near Saigon. Lt. Moody, an adviser with the ADV Team 70, HQ, MACV Advisors, was one of four U.S. advisers with the battalion. The ambush occurred as the battalion was rushing to relieve a besieged outpost at Xan Dua in Binh Duong Province. The enemy was waiting for the reinforcements. Lt. Moody was reported missing and ultimately declared dead in 1965.
Lt. Moody, who was 24-years-old, was survived at the time by his father L.M. Moody, three sisters Mrs. R.V. Cordell, Mrs. Marcella Calhoun and Mrs. Billy Keener, as well as two brothers L.M. Moody Jr. and A.G. Moody.
A native of Searcy, David S. Douglas graduated from Searcy High School in 1965. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Arkansas State and commissioned as a second lieutenant, branched Armor in the U. S. Army in 1969. After the officer basic course and jump school, he received orders to go to the Republic of Vietnam where he joined the 11th Armored Calvary Regiment. As a platoon leader he was engaged in frequent combat operations. During one such operation, direct action by Lt. Douglas led to him being awarded the Bronze Star with Valor.
In May 1971, Lt. Douglas was involved in an engagement during which he received wounds that resulted in permanent disability. He received multiple fragment wounds to his entire body from an enemy rocket-propelled grenade.
As a result of the combat injuries, Lt. Douglas was awarded two Purple Hearts and medically retired from the Army. Upon leaving the Army, Lt. Douglas went on to earn a Master of Administrative Studies degree from Southeastern Oklahoma State University and have a successful business career. Over the years Douglas served in management positions in such companies as Johnson & Johnson, Oscar Meyer Foods, Bryan Foods and Sara Lee Corporation.
Lieutenant Douglas and his wife Mary have two daughters, Kristjan and Erin and reside in Calhoun, Ga.
The Hall of Heroes provides an opportunity for Arkansas State University to pay tribute to ROTC alumni who have distinguished themselves through heroic service, government service and outstanding representation of the university. The list of members can be found on the A-State website.