Sarah Vise, Tennessee division president of the UDC conducted the installation. The new officers are president, Jane Dugger, first vice president and registrar Teresa Deathridge, second vice president Cynthia Cato, third vice president Margie Ayers, secretary and treasurer Ruth Cato, historian Pamela Annette Dies, recorder of military service awards Pamela Kolbe and webmaster Laura McCallister. Dugger appointed Betty Wright as chaplain and Jean Ayers as parliamentarian.
Woody McMillin addressed the chapter regarding the U.S. Army maneuvers and other events in Middle Tennessee during World War II. McMillin is author of the book, “In the Presence of Soldiers: The 2nd Army Maneuvers & Other World War II Activity in Tennessee.” He began his remarks by telling about the disastrous training accident that happened March 23, 1944, in which 21 soldiers drowned while trying to cross the rain swollen Cumberland River near Averitts Ferry between Lebanon and Hartsville. About one in four U.S. soldiers were trained in Middle Tennessee for World War II.
McMillin displayed an impressive collection of World War II memorabilia that included sweetheart pillowcases, guns, uniforms and other equipment. He explained the operation of a field telephone and told the uses of other items. McMillin said the Lebanon Woolen Mills made U.S. Army blankets during the war. Davis Cabinet Co. made rifle stocks. Nashville Bridge Co. made ships for the U.S. Navy.
Jerry McFarland assisted McMillin. McFarland explained the differences between several firearms. He explained why the M1 Carbine rifle was superior to those used when the war began by our soldiers. An earlier rifle required re-sighting after each shot. Another only shot five rounds without re-acquiring the target. The MI Carbine shot 15 rounds, was semi-automatic and had a range of 200 meters. U.S. enemies never developed its equal. The M1 Carbine was a weapon that helped the U.S. win World War II. McFarland also named several locations around Lebanon and told how they were changed during the war. For example, the site of the old Lebanon High School was a prisoner of war camp.
McMillin also related how Gen. George Patton’s Tank Corps proved their mettle while training in Middle Tennessee. The U.S. Army stationed three training divisions near three Middle Tennessee towns, including Lebanon. Patton’s Tank Corps was challenged to beat them. Patton attacked each from the rear and won the “training battle” in six hours. Patton’s tanks victoriously paraded down S. Cumberland Street.