McDuffie County lost a “walking history book” with the death of veteran Roger Reid, said Luke Martin, who had known Reid for more than 40 years.
Reid, who saw combat in three wars, died Sunday at the Georgia War Veterans Home. He was 89. Born in 1922 in Lincoln County, he had lived in Thomson since 1945.
As perhaps the last remaining Pearl Harbor survivor in McDuffie County, Reid was well-known and respected, Martin said.
Reid enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1940 and fought in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. After 22 years of service and numerous honors and awards, he retired as a master sergeant.
“He was a good man, and he’s going to be missed,” Martin said. “Roger went through three combat wars and still maintained his stability, and he never hesitated to let you know that he was a veteran and darn proud of it.”
Reid was involved in numerous organizations, including the local post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion.
“If there was anything that had to do with veterans, he would belong or participate,” Martin said. “If you don’t get involved in these things, it will be a fading thing completely. That keeps it alive.”
In recent years, Reid was regularly requested to speak about his service, especially to schoolchildren in McDuffie County and the surrounding area. He would never refuse a request to speak about Pearl Harbor and his military career.
“He spoke about it, but I always thought he was reluctant to do it,” Martin said. “It brought back some memories, and he still felt the impact of Pearl Harbor.”
He said Reid felt it was particularly important to share his stories with young people. Many of them will study these wars in history classes, and veterans in the community can serve as a valuable resource.
Reid enjoyed living at the Georgia War Veterans Home, a nursing home in Milledgeville.
“I just saw him not too long ago, and he was just happy as a lark,” Martin said.