CBSDFW.COM — On this Memorial Day 2014, I would like to re-post an article I wrote several years back about the men in my family who made the ultimate sacrifice defending our great nation. So many Americans have so many important stories and memories to share on this day. This is mine.
Although I use the last name “Stevens” professionally, my real last name (maiden name) is Stevenson. I will never forget the conversation I had with my Grandpaw Steve in which I told him that my on air name was Tasha Stevens. He seemed hurt, and at the time, I had no idea why. I changed my name to ward off freaks who sometimes hassle media people, but my Grandpaw saw it differently. Years later, I understand why.
Grandpaw grew up in Frost, Texas…a small town about 65 miles south of Dallas… with a family who today would be described as sharecroppers. They grew cotton. The future of a sharecropper is not bright. You work the land and whatever money you make is spent at the company store, so basically, your profit is going back to the people who own the land you farm. You never get ahead.
WW2 arrived in the little town of Frost just as it arrived everywhere else in America, and the Stevenson men did their part to defend our nation. My grandfather was unable to enlist due to a leg that was shrunken by Polio. However, five of the Stevenson “sons” did leave home to fight. Two never returned.
John C. and Robert Lynn died in battle, John in the Pacific campaign and Robert in Europe. Robert kept a diary, beginning with his departure for Europe and continuing through the deaths of all his friends aboard the Flying Fortress. You can actually read Robert’s words as he came to the realization that he would never return home.
Not only did the two Stevenson men give their lives for our nation’s freedom, but they gave their lives for the freedom of their parents as well. The military offered a monetary award of sorts to the families of those who died in battle. My great grandparents rejected the idea and did not accept the money. The remaining Stevenson children saw it differently. They accepted the money and in doing so, bought their parent’s freedom by purchasing the land their parents had farmed so tirelessly.
I am proud to say that I now live in Frost, Texas. Each day, I drive past the hill that was once farmed by my Great Grandparents, the Methodist church they helped rebuild after the tornado that all but destroyed Frost in 1930, and the old buildings that were once a bustling farm town. I am also proud to say that I am a Stevenson…the granddaughter of William Roswell Stevenson and the great-granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. TW Stevenson.
Please allow me to introduce you to my family.
PFC 1/c Brown Lea Stevenson, son of Mr. and Mrs. T. W. Stevenson, Frost, was born Mar 27, 1906. His wife is Mary Strain Stevenson of Electra. Attended Frost Public Schools.
Entered service Dec 28, 1943, at Dallas. Assigned to Army, Eighth Service Command. Trained at Camp Wolters. Served at Ft. Sam Houston; Camp John T. Knight, Oakland, Calif.; Camp Haan, Riverside, Calif.; Turlock, Calif., Vancouver Barracks, Wash.
Was discharged March 15, 1944.
Military Marker at Frost Cemetery, Frost, Navarro Co., TX
S/Sgt John C. Stevenson, son of Mr. and Mrs. T. W. Stevenson, Frost, was born Apr. 18, 1916. Attended N.T.S.T.C., Denton.
Volunteered Aug 17, 1942. Assigned to A.A.F. Trained as Sheppard Field; Buckley Field, Colo.; Harlingen, Texas. Served overseas from Sept., 1943 to Jan., 1944, as gunner on Liberator Bomber in Pacific. Flew 21 missions.
Plane shot down by Japs Jan. 8, 1944, at Kendari, Celebes, crashed and exploded. Crew was never found or heard from. Eye witness stated possibility of men being thrown clear.
John Clendenning Stevenson
Marker at Frost Cemetery, Frost, Navarro Co., TX
T/Sgt. William Edgar Stevenson, son of Mr. and Mrs. T. W. Stevenson, Frost, was born Sept 10, 1918. Attended Frost High School and N.T.S.T.C., Denton.
Volunteered Apr. 7, 1942. Assigned to A.A.F. Trained at Harlingen, Texas, and Wendover Field, Utah. Overseas from Mar., 1944, to Sept, 1944, in European Theater as radio operator on Liberator Bomber in battles of S. France, Normandy, and Germany.
Received Air Medal with 3 Clusters, D.F.C., American Defense Ribbon.
Was discharged Sept. 18, 1945.
2ND/Lt. Thomas Fletcher Stevenson, son of Mr. and Mrs. T. W. Stevenson, Frost, Texas, was born Jan. 24, 1910.
Entered service Mar. 5, 1942, at Leavenworth, Kans. Assigned to Army Medical Corps. Trained at Camp Barkley, Texas. Served overseas from March, 1944, to Dec., 1945, seeing action in New Guinea and P. Is., and also in the occupation of Japan.
His company, 411 Medical Collecting Co., was awarded the Meritorious Service Unit Plaque for outstanding devotion to duty of exceptionally difficult tasks.
Was discharged Feb 2, 1946.
Died Nov 28, 2001, bur at Frost Cemetery, Frost, Navarro Co., TX
T/Sgt Robert Lynn Stevenson, son of Mr. and Mrs. T. W. Stevenson, Frost, was born Feb 10, 1921. Attended N.T.S.T.C., Denton.
Volunteered for Army Air Corps Jan. 1, 1942. Overseas from Oct., 1942 to Mar., 1943, as aerial gunner on a Flying Fortress, 303rd Bombardment (“Hells Angels”) which flew first 200 hours over France and Germany; also a member of the Yard Bird Crew which fought off 26 enemy planes.
Lost his life returning from a mission to Lorient, France.
Awarded 2 Air Medals, Purple Heart.
Frost Cemetery, Frost, Navarro Co., TX
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