Lovie Neel, Sam Lloyd, El-Hugh Ferguson and Sidney Nason met at the Roadway Inn in Cleveland for the 20th reunion of the 213 Medical Detachment and the 114 Engineer Battalion.
By Leah Allen
BC Staff Writer
Many schools and towns throughout the region hold homecoming events in the fall, but a few area veterans hold their own special homecoming each September.
Since 1998, the men of the 213 Medical Detachment and the 114 Engineer Battalion have gathered the last weekend in September to reminisce and reconnect.
The two groups were both part of an Army National Guard unit from Drew.
According to the National Guard website, “approximately 74,803 Mississippians served in the Armed Forces of the United States in Korea from 1951-1953.”
The unit from Drew was called to active duty on Sept. 11, 1950.
Sgt. El-Hugh Ferguson was just 17 at the time and about to start his senior year in high school.
“When I was going to school, I join the National Guard to make a little money and serve my country,” said Ferguson.
“Next thing I knew we were called into active duty. After being discharged. I went back to Drew High School and finished my education. Most of us were very young men,” he said.
Ferguson said that there were older men in the unit and “they were the leaders of the bunch and they did a good job of instructing us.”
“I hadn’t been further north than Memphis before then, maybe Clarksdale,” said Ferguson with a laugh.
“None of us had really ever been anywhere. We were mostly just young guys,” he added.
Now in its 20th year, fewer and fewer attend the reunion.
Of the 129 men who left Drew together nearly 70 years ago, just four were able to make it to this year’s meeting at the Roadway Inn in Cleveland.
“We used to meet in Greenville, but over the years, we moved our location. Our reunion used to last two days when we had a big crowd. We had a full weekend and a lot of activities. Since there are just a few of us now, we only have one day. We meet on Saturday,” said Ferguson.
Ferguson still appreciates the time with his friends and brothers in arms.
“Those of us who are still living, we call one another on a regular basis. Nearly all of them have passed away though. When you get to our age, you’re liable to get gone any time,” said Ferguson.
Ferguson recognizes the sadness of these losses, but said they do not diminish the fun the men have in getting together each year.
“We remember the good times. We remember the bad things too but it’s always good to get together. We certainly enjoyed it years ago when we had 30 of us. It’s only four of us now, but we still enjoyed it,” he said.