The late Maj. Homer L. Pease decided in 1942, when he was only 13 years old, to join
the Marine Corps. He convinced a stranger to play the role of his father and appeared
at the Johnson City recruiting office.
After completing basic training and qualifying as an airborne paratrooper in the 101st
Airborne, Pease jumped into France on D-Day, June 6, 1944. He was wounded, received
a Purple Heart, and rejoined his unit to fight in Ardennes Forest, the Battle of the
Bulge and at Berchtesgaden. He was again wounded, but this time his true age of 15
was discovered. He was reduced in rank from Sergeant to Private and sent home to Johnson
Pease attended Science Hill High School until his 16th birthday and then managed to
sign on for a two-year hitch, getting as far as Fort Bragg, North Carolina, before
he was sent home again.
After his high school graduation in 1950, Pease immediately joined the Tennessee Army
National Guard and attended both East Tennessee State University and Milligan College.
After 12 years in civilian life, Pease again joined the military. In 1965, he volunteered
to be a military advisor in Vietnam and completed the U.S. Army Ranger course. On
November 19, 1966, he was killed in action at Ba Tri in Kien Hoa Province of South
Vietnam while leading a ground combat operation.