TOP PHOTO: WWII Veteran Eubaun Richardson’s medals, that number 12, include the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. He was proud of the fact that he had the highest score in his company on the machine gun.
By Jim Freeman
LAFOLLETTE, TN (WLAF) – It was nearing the 4th of July in 2015, and I wanted to highlight a local veteran. It was suggested to me to go see Eubaun Richardson. Am I ever glad I did. However, it’s with great sadness I tell you that the World War II hero passed away over the weekend. So, it’s my honor and sad pleasure to once again share his story with you as told in 2015. James Eubaun Richardson of Jacksboro was a true American hero.
JACKSBORO, TN (FROM THE WLAF ARCHIVES) – In October of 1942, Eubaun Richardson and 249 other young men from Campbell County gathered at Ducky Gross’s store in the heart of Jacksboro. That’s where the Pinecrest native and the others climbed on buses and headed for basic training at South Carolina before being shipped off to fight in World War II. From the moment the bus Richardson was on pulled out of Jacksboro, the young 21-year old man, who grew up on a farm, began a chapter in his life that he remembers to this day in great detail.
Along the way, Richardson volunteered to join a regiment, Merrill’s Marauders, that is recognized as the predecessor to the United States Army Rangers and that was led by Major General Frank D. Merrill. The Ranger Regiment traces its lineage to three of six battalions raised in WWII, and to the 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional)—known as “Merrill’s Marauders“, and then reflagged as the 475th Infantry, then later as the 75th Infantry.
Richardson says before he volunteered he was told that his mission would be dangerous and rugged. The training took more than four-months. It involved long-range penetration tactics and special operations jungle warfare training.
In slightly more than five-months of combat, the 2,997 members of Merrill’s Marauders had marched nearly a thousand miles with mule transport carrying equipment and supplies through some of the harshest jungle terrain in the world and engaged in combat with the Japanese Army on 32-separate occasions. Richardson said it was either blazing hot or raining during monsoon in the China-Burma-India Theater (CBI).
The mission was to take the Myitkyina Airport, the only all-weather air strip in northern Burma. And on August 10, 1944, Merrill’s Marauders took the airport.
Richardson was one of only 130 men who were able to survive the mission. Through bouts of malaria and a gunshot to his shoulder, he endured. He put his left hand on his right shoulder when he said his fox hole buddy cut out the shrapnel.
His medals, that number 12, include the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. He is proud to note that he had the highest score in the company on the machine gun.
Fast forward to the week of June 22, 2015. Richardson and some of the remaining members of Merrill’s Marauders reunited 71-years after their final World War II victory.
After the war, Richardson spent 26-years at Y-12. He’s been retired for 26-years. For 26-years, he also served as an usher for Tennessee home football games at Neyland Stadium.
His mother lived to be 104 years old. His father made it to age 93 while his grandmother died at age 100. And later this month, on the 22nd, James Eubaun Richardson turns 94.
On this 4th of July holiday weekend, all of us here at WLAF say “thank you” to all of you who have made and continue to keep our country free. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 12/29/2020-6AM-ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED JULY 2015)