Local News

Two Lynchburg Soldier’s Stories

There are around 20 million veterans living across the United States and a quarter of them hail from small, southern towns like Lynchburg. Whether they served in World War II or as recently as Afghanistan or Iraq, each soldier’s story is different. To celebrate Veteran’s Day, The Lynchburg Times asked readers to nominate veterans to be interviewed for this article. Today, we honor not only them but also the other local veterans from all American conflicts.

A Vietnam veteran’s story

Bill Bedford served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. (Photo Provided)

For some veterans, they’d rather just forget. That’s the gist of our conversation with local veteran Bill Bedford, who served in the U.S. Army from 1966 to 1968 during the Counteroffensive Phase II portion of the Vietnam War. Though Bedford admits the U.S. Army drafted him, he says he would have proudly served his country regardless. He served in the Mekong River Delta – a vast and dangerous maze of rivers and swamps surrounded by rice paddies in southern Vietnam. His tour of duty ended in February 1968 after 18 months in Vietnam. Bedford says he hated the war and felt eager to get back to Lynchburg to marry the girl he’d gotten engaged to prior to deployment, Sandra Jo Hill. Bedford was wound by shrapnel in Vietnam and transferred to a Japan hospital before returning to the states.

“I just try to forget those two years of my life,” Bedford says.

Today, Bill Bedford is officially retired. He and his wife, JoJo, live in Moore County near the Franklin County line.

A Iraq veteran’s story

Patrick Hill served in the U.S. Air Force following 9/11. He retired in 2008. (Photo Provided)

For other veterans, they remember the people and experiences fondly. That’s the moral of the story for local US. Air Force veteran Patrick Hill. Hill comes from a long line of military including his sister, Tabatha Whitsett, and his grandfather, Raymond Finchum, who both served in the U.S. Army. Hill says September 11, 2001 inspired his enlistment. He joined the USAF in March 2002 and spent three and a half years deployed in places like Balad, Kirkut, and Camp Bucca in Iraq as well as Kuwait and Jordan. In June 2008, he decided it was time to move on to the next chapter. He jokes that his wife, Lashonda, decided it was time for him to get out.

The people and experiences are hands down the best part of serving,” Hill says. “It’s a brotherhood and sisterhood.”

Today, Patrick Hill, his wife, Lashonda, and sons BrayLynn and Grayson, live on Bobo Hollow Road near the Moore County, Coffee County line. He works as a distillery operator at Jack Daniel’s Distillery. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg, Tennessee. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

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