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“The few, the proud, the Marines.” Corporal Matthew Hampton, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, is the 2013 recipient of the 28th Annual Palmer Veterans Appreciation Award, which is presented each Veteran’s Day by Town Historian David Patton and sponsored by Citizen’s Tri-County Bank.
A 2002 graduate of Grundy County High School, Hampton went in the Marines that summer. After boot camp at Parris Island, SC, his next stop was Marine Combat Training at Camp Devil Dog in North Carolina. In Iraq in 2004-2005, he was a Hey and Cobra helicopter crew chief and gunner as part of the Marines’ 24th Expeditionary Force.
Among the military decorations that Hampton has received are the Naval Achievement Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Presidential Unit Citation, Naval Unit Citation, National Defense Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal, and Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.
“Matthew is a fine hardworking young man and we’re proud to honor him this year,” said Patton. “After doing exceptionally well on the military aptitude test in high school, he could have joined any branch of the military. But the Marines offered him a chance to fly. That fulfilled a childhood dream and coupled with the stories of U.S. Marine Bob White of Palmer led him to join the Corps. He regards his military service as a life changing experience that took him from rural Grundy County to across the United States and across the world.”
Employed by the family business, Hampton Trucking of Jasper, TN, Matthew is a son of Randy and Rena Tate Hampton and has a brother David. He is the grandson of Johnnie Ruth Cordell Hampton and the late Melvin Hampton and the late Harley and Oma Lee Meeks Tate.
Malcolm Rankin, a highly decorated World War I soldier, first received this award and was followed in order by Obed Marion “Soap” McNabb, Rufus Kilgore, Jr., Glenn A. Nunley, Robert W. Levan, William “Wet Duck” Dishroon, Alfred “Buddy” Nolan, Earl F. Creighton, Charles E. “Gene” Brooks, Bedford R. Glisson, Herschel L. Finch, Jr., James Lowrie “Jim” King, J.C. “Tom” Scissom, Carl E. “Teeter” Morrison, John W. “Bill” Partin, Thomas M. Burnette, James Shrum, Jr., Billy Carl Guffey, William J. “Jack” Partin, Daniel “Dan” Coffelt, Larry G. Henry, Bobby Lynn Stinnett, Dennis A. Sweeton, Seann E. Lewis, Charles Edgar Sanders, Justin Smith, and Steve A. Garner.
This story may be viewed soon on the Grundy County Historical Society website at www.gchs.homestead.com.