Honoring heroes|County home to two Medal of Honor winners
Published 3:17 pm Tuesday, May 26, 2009
By By Lydia Grimes
Brewton native William Wayne Seay was just 19.
Seay had entered the U.S. Army at Montgomery. In 1968 he was a sergeant with the 62nd Transportation Company, 7th Transportation Battalion, 48th Transportation Group.
Driving a supply truck filled with ammunition and supplies from Long Binh to Tay Ninh on Aug. 25, 1968, he was ambushed by a battalion from North Vietnam.
His convoy under heavy fire, Seay left his truck and took a defensive position behind the wheel of one of the trucks — which was loaded with high explosives.
He killed two of the North Vietnamese and shot a sniper out of a tree.
Two grenades were thrown at him; he left his cover to throw them back, killing more of the enemy.
Wounded, he found shelter in a shallow ditch. He saw some of the enemy about to shoot some of his fellow Americans, so he stood up, bleeding, and fired — killing three more enemy soldiers.
A sniper’s bullet killed him.
He was just 19.
Seay was buried in Weaver Cemetery on Appleton Road, in his hometown.
Seay and fellow Escambia County native Sidney Manning are two of just 11 Alabamians who have been awarded the Medal of Honor, established during the Civil War to honor valor on the battlefield. It is the highest military honor an American can receive and is awarded by the president.
Seay, who lost his life in the Vietnam War, will be among those remembered at 9 a.m. Monday during a Memorial Day service at the Veterans Memorial on the Escambia County Courthouse lawn.
Every Memorial Day, friends and family are asked to attend the short ceremony at the courthouse. A wreath will be laid in memory and words will be spoken.
According to the Medal of Honor Web site, Sidney Manning (1892-1960) was born in Butler County, but moved to the Flomaton area when he was a small boy.
He became a corporal with U.S. Army Company G, 167th Infantry, 42nd Division (the Rainbow Division). When his platoon commander and sergeant became casualties, on the fortified heights overlooking the Ourcq River, he took command of the platoon. Although he was already wounded, he led the 35 men remaining in his command. During the ensuing fighting, all but seven of his men had fallen. He held off a large body of the enemy with a machine gun and declined to take cover until all of his men had been safely reunited with the line of the platoon. When he finally dragged himself to shelter, he was suffering from nine wounds in all parts of his body.
Manning returned to Flomaton after the war and resisted any of the honors he was offered, including a memorial to him. It was only after his death that a memorial was erected when he was buried at Little Escambia Baptist Church Cemetery.