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Service of Minter family detailed in new book
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David Minter is shown in front of an M48 A1 tank. Minter drove the tank while serving in the 7th Cavalry of the Army while stationed in Korea from 1966-67. Minter’s family and its military history is the subject of a new book titled “Extraordinary Service: The Life and Military Heritage of David Minter,” by local author Thomas Perry. Minter’s father, Philmore Minter, and his son, David Minter Jr., both served in the Army. (Contributed photo)
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Monday, June 9, 2014

By PAUL COLLINS - Bulletin Staff Writer

Historian Tom Perry’s new book focusing on the military service and history of a local family came out Friday, the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

The book is “Extraordinary Service: The Life and Military Heritage of David Minter.” David P. Minter lives in Axton.

“David is a friend of mine,” Perry said Friday. “He has a good story, about three generations of his family fighting in the Army for this country.”

“Everything that David is comes from his father ... ,” Philmore G. Minter, who served in the D-Day invasion and was wounded in “friendly fire” during the aerial bombardment of Saint Lo, Perry said. David “grew up hearing those stories” and that influenced him to later join the Army, Perry said.

David served in Korea during the DMZ Conflict in the 1960s and later, stateside, as a drill sergeant, training troops to serve in Vietnam, according to the book. One of his sons, David P. Minter Jr., “still serves in the (U.S.) Army all over the world,” according to the book. The book also mentions an ancestor who fought in the Virginia Calvary during the Civil War.

On June 6, 1944, Philmore Minter and his compatriots in Company H of the 116th Infantry Regiment, 29th Division, were in the second wave of troops coming ashore on Omaha Beach.

“... Rather than face certain death, Philmore told his son David, ... he went over the back of the boat taking them in. Being a good swimmer from his many summer days at the Liberty Heights Pool that was really a fire suppression system of ‘Capt’n Till’ Lester’s lumber company, his many days in the Smith River and his training in the English Channel, Philmore survived and landed safely on the beaches of Normandy...,” the book says.

According to an Army website, on D-Day, 160,000 Allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of heavily-fortified French coastline, and more than 9,000 Allied soldiers were killed or wounded.

On July 25, 1944, Allied forces made an aerial assault on an apple orchard near Saint Lo, about 20 miles inland from Omaha Beach, with the intent of opening a gap in the German lines so Allied forces could move through to break the German resistance that was slowing the Allied move toward Paris, according to Perry’s book. However, weather conditions, smoke, miscommunication and mistakes resulted in more than 100 Allied personnel near the apple orchard being killed and 490 wounded as bombs were released too early and fell on them instead of the Germans, according to the book and Perry.

Ernie Pyle, the Pulitzer Prize winning war correspondent, called the bombardment of Saint Lo “the most sustained horrible thing I’ve ever gone through.” Philmore Minter previously had been interviewed by Pyle, according to the book and Perry.

Philmore Minter was among the wounded. “He was involved in hand to hand combat during this time from the beaches to Saint Lo. ... David believes a bomb struck the truck Philmore was riding, killing everyone but him, and that the concussion of the shell knocked out his father,” the book states.

After being wounded in July 1944, Philmore Minter was sent back to England, where he lay unconscious for six weeks in a hospital in England. He was sent home in September 1944 and was in a hospital until Dec. 16, 1944.

Philmore Minter’s wife, Ruth Minter, wrote, “When he came home, he was completely lost to us. He was so nervous he could not sit still,” according to the book.

The book says Philmore Minter served in the Army from February 1941 until December 1944, and his discharge notes refer to his “shell shock in the summer of 1944,” which the book says today is probably post traumatic stress.

After the war, Philmore Minter worked with the U.S. Postal Service in Martinsville for more than 15 years. He went back to the hospital for the last time in March 1963 with chest pain. He died on his birthday, March 24, in 1963.

“Due to David’s efforts, Staff Sergeant Philmore G. Minter received a Bronze Star for his ‘exemplary performance of duty in active ground combat’ during the Normandy Invasion,” the book says. “David continues to try to get his father a Purple Heart for the shrapnel he carried in his leg and by honoring his memory by taking care of his family and the military heritage he learned from Philmore G. Minter.”

David P. Minter served during the little known conflict in Korea called the DMZ Conflict.

Perry’s book says: “During monsoon season, he (David Minter) was constantly wet. If the weather were not bad enough, the North Koreans psychologically taunted the Americans via loud speakers as big as a house. These speakers boomed all the time. This reminded David and his counterparts that the bridge behind was mined and that they, the North Koreans, were coming tonight and the Americans would find themselves cut off. David recounted several stories about men who lost control due to the taunting and previous combat experiences.”

David Minter served in 7th Calvary of the U.S. Army while stationed in Korea in 1966-67. Later, stateside, he became a drill sergeant, training troops at Fort Gordon, Ga.

After being honorably discharged from the Army on Jan. 16, 1969, he did electrical work and became a certified electrician, and he also invented a motion detector. He was ordained with the Primitive Baptist Church in 1972, has served a number of churches and still is pastor of Surl Primitive Baptist Church in Person County, N.C., the book says.

David P. Minter Jr. “is the third male in the line of his family to serve in the United States Army. He began in 1988 at Fort Gordon, Georgia, as a private in Company A, 369th Signal Battalion, 15th Signal Brigade. He served in Battery C, 1st Battalion 246th Field Artillery, 29th Infantry Division Light. He completed training in the Air Force Structural Specialist Course, Navy Construction Training Center, Air University Airman Leadership School, United States Border Patrol’s Operation Jumpstart, and the Joint Task Force Guantanamo Engineers. Over the course of his career in the military (he) received many service ribbons and medals. ... He hopes to retire from the National Guard,” the book says.

The book has chapters or sections on other family members, including David Minter Sr.’s son John David Minter; David Minter Sr.’s great-grandfather, John Meador Brooks, a private in Company K, 10th Virginia Calvary during the Civil War; David Minter Sr.’s mother, Ruth; and his brother, Donald, who was killed by police in an altercation in 2010 when he was suffering mental illness and had come off his medication.

“Instead of holding a grudge, David Minter wants this book to be used to work on legislation to keep mentally ill persons on their medicine and training of emergency personnel to make them more aware of the signs that mentally ill persons exhibit,” a news release about the book says.

For more information about the book, go to Perry said a portion of the proceeds from book sales will go to the Wounded Warrior Project.


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