It was a sunny, cool Memorial Day morning as members of The Fort Dale Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, met in Magnolia Cemetery to hold a memorial service at the grave of George Tyson Reese.
Members were moved by Reese’s story and felt privileged to remember and honor the WWII veteran who died while serving his country.
Reese served in the Navy aboard the USS Washington, one of the most famous Navy battleships of all time.
Initially charged with covering the U.S. east coast and later deployed to Britain to reinforce its home fleet, the ship was the site of a visit from King George VI when he came aboard in June 1942.
It was recalled in July 1942 and sent to the Pacific where it helped turn the tide of the war in that arena, most notably during the Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal.
Seaman First Class Reese spent his entire time in service as a crew member of the USS Washington.
An only child, he was born in Crenshaw County in 1922 and moved to Greenville as an infant.
He attended Greenville High School until he enlisted in the Navy in February 1941.
Reese died on board the USS Washington in June 1943 when it was in dry dock at Pearl Harbor for repairs and upgrades.
He fell from a scaffold suffering a fractured skull and traumatic intercranial injuries.
Reese was initially laid to rest in Hawaii. His body was not returned to Greenville until May 1949 when his funeral was held with full military honors.
He was awarded the Purple Heart posthumously.