Jones, Reives named veterans of the year

Randy Jones (left) and Eddie Reives

The city of West Point will honor its military men and women on Friday with a special Veteran's Day ceremony at City Hall.

BancorpSouth in West Point President Dwight Dyess, who serves as civilian aide to the Secretary of the Army, told the Daily Times Leader the ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. and feature speakers and honorees to commemorate the occasion.

"(Circuit) Judge Jim Kitchens will be the speaker," Dyess said. "Then we'll have a veterans of the year ceremony."

The two veterans honored will be West Point City Manager Randy Jones and Clay County native Eddie Reives.

"We decided to begin honoring Veterans from the Vietnam War," Dyess said.

Dyess referred to Jones as a "legend" in Army aviation. The West Point native's extensive military record includes serving 29 years of active duty as an Army Aviation Warrant Officer, achieving the rank of CW5. He was a member of the "Task Force Ranger" Black Hawk mission in October 1993 and was honored for actions during the United Nations operations in Somalia.

Jones saw combat in Vietnam, Panama, Saudi Arabia, and Somalia, which earned him a slew of honors, including the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, and the Purple Heart.

At the time of his retirement in 1998, Jones was the most experienced Army pilot on active duty.

"There are so many deserving people out there," Jones said. "I certainly feel humbled I guess and certainty excited to go along with Eddie Reives, a great American."

Reives entered active service on April 10, 1967 at Detroit, Michigan and served in Vietnam, where he was assigned as a Light Weapons Infantryman to C Company, 3rd Battalion, 12 Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division. 

Reives was wounded during the Tet Offensive of 1968 near Dac To and earned the Purple Heart.

"I feel good and I'll be there," Reives said when asked about the honor.

Among his other numerous honors are the Combat Infantryman's Badge; National Defense Service Medal; Army Good Conduct Medal; Vietnam Service Medal with Four Bronze Service Stars; Vietnam Civil Actions Honor Medal, First Class; Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation with Palm Device; Sharpshooter Badge with Machine Gun Bar; Marksmanship Badge with Automatic Rifle and Rifle Bars and two Overseas Service Bars.

Reives would return to Clay County and worked at B&W for 32 years as a hot bender in the West Point plant.

Dyess said the colors will be presented at the ceremony by the West Point JROTC and Oak Hill Academy sophomore Chelsea Williams will sing the National Anthem.