Clay County World War II veterans remembered for "heroic" service

By: Morgan Lentes Email
By: Morgan Lentes Email

MANCHESTER, Ky (WYMT) - Many who knew them say they were some of the bravest men to ever live.

Cousins Ted and James Garrison always knew the Price brothers, Walter and Steve, served in World War II. But that was about it.

"I could not help but notice that he passed away in 1945 at 27-years-old. I thought what happened. because he is not listed as a killed-in-action in WWII," said Ted Garrison.

For Walter Price, a decorated B-17 bomber who flew over Germany's skies, his story ended really before it began. Shortly after returning home from the war, he died in a car crash.

But that still left questions about his brother, Steve.

"He would never talk about the military to me, you know? The experiences and things there," said James Garrison.

It was not until James Garrison had a chance meeting with another World War II vet, Bobby Dodd, that Steve Price's war stories finally came to light.

"He said I was in the military with a boy from Clay County in World War II. He said we flew in the same squadron and I said, gosh, what was his name? I probably know him," said James.

Once the two were reunited, James Garrison said the emotions were overwhelming.

"They started talking and lord, the longer they talked, the tears come in my eyes. It was just as if it was yesterday, see, that those two men could stand there and talk about the experience they had there," said James.

A bomber like his brother, Steve flew in the legendary 352nd Fighter Group. His plane of choice? A P-51 Mustang, which he nicknamed "Kentucky Babe".

"What he done to Germany's air force probably gave our nation the chance to overcome and win World War II," said James.

Almost two decades since Steve's death in 1995, the Garrisons are happy to highlight the life and legacy of two of eastern Kentucky's finest.

"Our people, if they could only understand and really let it sink in to them, what our freedom has cost them and our loved ones," said James.

Both Ted and James Garrison spent years researching about the Price brother's lives. They wanted folks to know the two also have ties to Harlan County.

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