A Spring Hill High School graduate accepted a retired weapon on behalf of a Jacksonville, NC, VFW Post on Memorial Day. The weapon will serve as an Operation Iraqi Freedom War Memorial – one of the first of its kind in the United States.
Timothy Stone, the son of Tressa Stone and her late husband Robert E. Stone, of Spring Hill, was selected to accept the memorial weapon in part, due to his military service.
In 1986, his senior year at SHHS, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. Like most military careers, his started with boot camp and infantry training. He trained in California, but by December of 1986, he was a member of the Presidential Honor Guard in Washington, D.C.
In 1988, he was transferred to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. From there he was reassigned and deployed all over the world including Norway, Africa, Italy, Spain, France, Tunisia, Japan and Israel.
He also served during the 1990s Gulf War in Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
Currently, Stone serves with the United States Coast Guard in the Post Security Unit at Camp Lejeune.
On Monday, he accepted a 122mm Howitzer D-30. The weapon was first used in the 1960s. The motorized artillery is light compared to a tank, and versatile on the battlefield. It’s similar to a cannon.
The Howitzer Stone accepted on Monday came from Stone Bay, a satellite facility of Camp Lejeune. It was left to rust in the woods at Stone Bay after returning home from the Gulf War. However, military personnel had different plans for the mechanized artillery.
They restored the massive weapon at a Camp Lejeune auto body hobby shop. After two months, the restoration was complete and the weapon was ready for public view.
Jack Tagmyer, who supervised the restoration project, decided the local VFW Post in Jacksonville, NC, would be the best location for the retired weapon as a memorial to Operation Iraqi Freedom and the War on Terror.
As commander of the post, Kansas native Stone accepted the memorial Howitzer D-30 as one of the first Operation Freedom War Memorials in the country.
Stone’s mother, Tressa, who currently lives outside of Spring Hill, said, “I just think it’s a really neat thing for him to be involved in.”
Stone will be retiring from active duty in the military this summer and plans are underway for an August retirement party.