Flag flies at cemetery in honor of Sgt. Dill

Wednesday, January 11, 2006
Tillman Dill (left) and son Ray Dill, both veterans, present the American Flag to fly at the Manila Cemetery in memory of their son and brother, Sgt. Garvin Dill. (Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)

It was with pride that Tillman Dill and Ray Dill of Manila presented a flag at the Manila Cemetery in honor of their son and brother, Sgt. Garvin Dill. Sgt. Dill's birthday was January 2.

"All gave some and he gave all," Veteran and cemetery board member R.J. Bennett said.

Sgt. Garvin Dill was the first reported casualty of the Cambodian invasion. Sgt. Dill was killed in action on May 25, 1970, and was laid to rest at the Manila Cemetery on May 30, 1970, at the age of 21.

"We are flying the flag with pride and in honor of Garvin," Bennett said.

Sgt. Dill was a 1967 graduate of Manila High School. He is the son of Tillman Dill and the late Drucill Dill, and the younger brother of Ray Dill.

He volunteered for the U.S. Army on July of 1969. He served with the 1st Calvary Division.

"He volunteered to serve in the military and he volunteered for a covert mission in Cambodia," Ray Dill said. "He took a group of men into Cambodia for a specific mission. It was accomplished and they were ambushed on the way out."

The medals and badges earned by Sgt. Dill in his year of service are very precious to his family. Dill received the Purple Heart Medal;the Bronze Star Medal with an Oak Leaf Cluster and V for Valor; the Army Commendation Medal with Valor; The National Defense Medal; the Vietnam Service Medal; the Good Conduct Medal; the Automatic Rifle Badge; the Machine Gun Badge; and the Combat Infantry Badge.

In 1989, 19 years after Sgt. Dill was killed in action, the family was most surprised to find a picture, and Sgt. Dill's name sketched on a piece of paper featured in the People's Magazine Extra Fall Edition.

"My daughter was browsing through the magazine and found the article entitled Coming to Terms with Nam," Ray said. "In the article an unidentified American Veteran was trying to explain to his son about the war. A man's hands were holding a photograph of two men from the war and one was Garvin. Garvin had sent me the exact picture in a letter dated April 15, 1970, one month before he died. There was a slip of paper with the name "Garvin Dill imprinted from the Vietnam Monument on the mall in Washington, D.C. It was ironic of all of the thousands of names on the wall it was Garvin featured in the story."

Tillman Dill is a veteran of the U.S. Navy. He served from 1944 until 1946. Ray is also a U.S. Navy Veteran. He did two combat tours (two years, three months and one day) in Vietnam. He was with the Seabees MCB 11 A Company automatic Rifleman attached to the 3rd Marine Division.

"No war is ever over until every man and woman who has fought in it has died," Ray said. "I am thankful for my brother and the thousands like him who served our country. As we walk around enjoying our freedom, living safely we should stay behind our country and our men and women serving in the military.

"My brother, like so many others, died in honor of his country," Ray said.

Bennett said anyone that would like to fly a flag in honor of a veteran buried at the Manila Cemetery is welcome to contact him.

"We have a lot of veterans buried here but only a few who were killed in action," Bennett said.

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