Looking back: National Guardsmen at Camp Pendleton for two weeks

Published 10:13 am Friday, August 10, 2012

EDITOR’S NOTE: Looking Back features past articles from The Tidewater News with commentary by local historian Clyde Parker.

August 1962

Camp Pendleton hosts guardsmen

Ninety National Guardsmen of the Franklin unit, Battery “B,” 111th Artillery, are getting their annual two weeks in the sun at Camp Pendleton.

Although the camp has its own oceanfront, just south of Virginia Beach, the troops are not playing in the sand at either place. They are engaged in intensive military training.

Camp Pendleton is owned by the state and is used by the National Guard for training purposes. A cottage at the camp is also the summer vacation home of the governor of Virginia who is commander-in-chief of the Virginia National Guard.

Led by commanding officer Capt. Hudson Lankford, members of the Franklin unit are undergoing joint anti-aircraft and tank training with units from other parts of the state including Newport News, Suffolk, South Norfolk, Fredricksburg, Roanoke and Richmond.

In addition to Lankford, Franklin area officers in attendance are Capt. George Gehrken, 1st Lt. Jimmy Howell, 1st Lt. William Lankford and 1st Lt. William O’Brien.

Early on Sunday, Sgt. Lawrence “Bozo” Councill fell 15 feet while stringing telephone wire on a pole. He was treated for multiple injuries, but his condition is not considered to be extremely serious.


A redevelopment and housing survey for the City of Franklin was put off for the time being by City Council Monday night. The issue will be reconsidered as soon as it is known whether the city will go to court against Southampton County over school ownership and school debt issues.

Most city officials do not want to move forward on the redevelopment and housing issue until they know what kind of impact the school issue might have on the city’s financial resources. A motion to that effect was made by Councilman Floyd Briggs. Councilmen Carl Steinhardt and John Parker supported the motion.

Mayor Darden Jones and Councilman Dellie Cotton were in opposition, both stating that they would like to see the survey launched immediately.

Bill Ellis, executive vice president of the Franklin Chamber of Commerce, spoke in favor of an immediate start of the survey. Also speaking in favor of an early survey were Jim Barnes, representing the Franklin Jaycees, and C.A. Sawyer of the Franklin Kiwanis Club.

Establishment of a redevelopment and housing authority is one of two primary reasons that Franklin wanted to become an independent city. Such a body would have authority to condemn and tear down substandard homes. In its place, for the most part, public housing would be established.

The authority could buy substandard commercial property, raze the buildings and convert the land to other preferred uses.

Many historical properties would be in jeopardy.


A decision as to whether Franklin attorneys will move to take Southampton County to court over school negotiations may be announced at the next meeting of the Franklin City Council.

There are two issues that need resolved. First, how much, if anything, will the city pay the county for ownership of two high schools and two elementary schools in Franklin. The value of the school property is estimated to be $1 million.

Second, how much of the county’s $1.15 million school debt will the city assume.

Early in the negotiations, the city agreed to assume $170,000, but refused to pay the county for any of the school property. The city is resolute in its position on these matters.

City officials continue to point to the fact that prior to 1948, Franklin was a separate school district. Back then, the residents of Franklin, through their taxes, paid for school buildings that were constructed, back then. Those buildings are still in use.

School construction and building maintenance that took place in Franklin after 1948, when Franklin was a part of the Southampton system, was also paid for through taxes paid by Franklin residents.

In the meantime, the county and city have reached an agreement to have a consolidated school system for the 1962-1963 school year.


Two new area manufacturing establishments, one in Southampton and one in Isle of Wight, were among the 13 new industries announced by the Commonwealth of Virginia during the second quarter of 1962.

Aster Nut Co., a producer of peanut-based products and various nut-based candies, is in Boykins. And Franklin Equipment Co., manufacturer of the Franklin Logger, set up a tractor assembly operation at the Franklin Municipal Airport.

CLYDE PARKER is a retired human resources manager for the former Franklin Equipment Co. and a member of the Southampton County Historical Society. His email address is ParkerC@seva-redcross.org.