Multiple Crockett County staff members were featured in a book and video documentary on tnhistoryforkids.org.
Eric Mansfield, Keith Eason, John Reddick, W.D. Wade and Rob Achee were all featured in a book titled “Tennessee’s Education Force: Veterans Who Work in Public Schools”.
The author, “History Bill Carey”, is a veteran former high school teacher. He is the founder of TN History for Kids and was a U.S.Naval Flight Officer from 1987-1992. He wrote the book to honor veterans and educate students.
“When I was a teacher, it bothered me that none of the students, other teachers or administrators made note of it on Veterans Day,” said Carey.
“The goal of TN History for Kids’ ‘Tennessee Education Force’ program is to remind everyone that there are veterans working in public schools and with public school students. These veterans aren’t necessarily in charge, but that doesn’t make them less important. The fourth-grade teacher might have been in the marines. The culinary arts aide might have cooked in the Navy. The nurse in the clinic might have been a medic in the Army. The custodian might have served a tour in Vietnam. If we are going to acknowledge Veterans Day, we need to at least recognize these people. I hope that these stories of veterans inspire students to be better citizens.”
Eric Mansfield spent about a decade in the Army National Guard. “Everyone in my family, for generations, has served,” he explains. While in the service, his job involved technology that is probably not used anymore. “I was in the 230th Signal Battalion and operated the switchboard, like Radar did on [the TV show] MASH,” he explains. Today he is a maintenance supervisor for Crockett County Schools.
Keith Eason spent 27 years in the U.S. Air Force – 12 as an enlisted man and 15 as an officer. Since you have to have a college degree to become an officer, he mostly got his degree at night school. “I went to various night schools all over the world—from the Philippines to Texas,” he says. “It took me quite a while.” Eason’s specialty was in the area of communications, and he eventually rose to the rank of major. Today he is the technology director for Crockett County Schools.
John Reddick was drafted in 1967 and sent to Vietnam. “I was a gunner in an artillery battery,” he says. “I saw lots of action. I would rather go to the war than have the war come to the U.S. for the safety of my family and your family as well.” Reddick remained in either the U.S. Army or the National Guard for 30 years, retiring in 2007. Today he is the SRO at Crockett County High School.
He doesn’t look it, but W.D. Wade is probably the oldest U.S. military veteran working in a Tennessee public school. Mr. Wade is 91 years old, was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1952, and spent about two years as a gunner on a 75 mm “recoilless” rifle, one of the most common weapons associated with the Korean War. Today he is a custodian at Crockett County High School.
Rob Achee remembers the year he enlisted in the Navy. “My wife had twins in December and I shipped out in March,” he says. He spent four years in the Navy, most of it as a sailor on the USS Emory Land, delivered supplies, mail and people to submarines and fixed submarine equipment when it broke down. Achee worked in the ship’s print shop. “We printed the plan of the day, duty rosters, change of command—that sort of thing,” he says. Today he is the custodian at Crockett County High School.
In addition to these featured veterans, Sgt. Riddick participated in a video zoom sharing his military experience. The video is accessible to everyone here.