Bob Horn’s uniform from the Vietnam conflict is one of many on display in the Special Exhibit of Military Uniforms and artifacts of local veterans which opened May 25th to honor the late Bob Cheadle, a former Big Walnut Area Historical Society Trustee and a veteran of the Korean War.
This exhibit was put together by Sue and Bill Comisford and will be open thru July 4th in the Myers Inn Museum.
SP4 (E4) Robert Eugene Horn was born in 1937 in Johnstown, second son of Alvin and Vergie Horn. Alvin was the 6th child of William and Daisy Horn, farmers in Trenton Township.
On March 21, 1919, forty-five year old William died in the influenza epidemic at home on Dent Road. On the 8th of that month, his wife had given birth to their 7th living child and was unable to help with all the sickness in the family. Teenager Mary nursed the sick children and her father. She died the day after her father. Widow Daisy Horn was left with her farm and 6 children the oldest being 13 down to the newborn.
The Horn children went to Sinkey school on corner of Ross and Dent Road. There was only one pair of shoes so only one went each day. Thus the boys quit to farm after 8th grade. The older boys decided Melvin would finish so they worked to keep him in school and he graduated from Sunbury High School in 1934. He enlisted in the Navy in October 1940 and was the first Delaware County casualty of World War II. He was Fireman 3rd class on the U.S.S. Arizona at Pearl Harbor. His single brothers, Jim and Burt, were in the Army “to kill the Japs who killed their brother.” Burt became the point man for General Patton.
Bob’s dad had 3 small boys (ages 1, 3, and 5) and not eligible for draft so he left his wife to close down the tenant farm and he drove to California to build battleships. His wife followed with the children by train. Alvin became a master welder. The boys were impressed when their uncles would show up in uniform when on leave. While in California, Bob got polio and spent time in an iron lung before the family returned to Ohio as farmers in Trenton Township.
The Horn’s prospered and eventually built a gasoline station in Condit Station with living quarters for the family above it. Alvin continued to farm and run the station with the help of his wife and children. All three sons would graduate from Big Walnut High School and serve in the army.
Following the males in the family, the middle Bob enlisted for 3 years as a Private E-1 in U.S. Army Corps on December 5, 1960 at Fort Hayes in Columbus. He served as a Missile Integration Repairman with 1 year in Korea. He received the Good Conduct Medal, Expert (Rifle M-1) and Sharpshooter (Rifle M-14). Upon honorable discharge from Oakland, California, in August 1962, he was transferred to Army Reserves until Dec. 1966. Later he served as a civilian at the Newark Aerospace Guidance and Meteorology Center (known as the Newark Air Force base) keeping minute man missiles in the air.
When his widow, Polly, turned in his uniform for the exhibit she listed his military time as Korean War not realizing he was in during the Vietnam War but served in Korea. Bob never mentioned Vietnam but talked about Korea often. Thankfully Sue Comisford caught the error so the right flag holder is on his grave. Bob last wore his uniform in the Sunbury Bicentennial Parade in 2016.
The exhibit will be open noon-3 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays. Museum will be open 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Wednesday, July 4th. Myers Inn Museum is across from the southwest corner of Sunbury Village Square.
For more information on the museum or the exhibit visit the website at http://BigWalnutHistory.org.
Information for this story was provided by Polly Horn.