By Nate Smith
Daviess County’s Medal of Honor recipients were honored again Friday with a bridge named after each of them on the new Interstate 69.
On the 148th anniversary of the battle that earned his Medal of Honor, Pvt. Richard Taylor will be honored on the north-bound bridge while Lt. Col. Don Carlos Faith Jr., will be honored by the south bridge. Both bridges span the East Fork of the White River between Daviess and Pike counties.
Descendants of both Taylor and Faith were on hand with State Rep. Mark Messmer, R-Jasper, Indiana Department of Transportation officials and leaders from both Washington and Petersburg at Friday’s ceremony. The Washington High School NJROTC presented the colors for the ceremony.
Messmer said it was an honor to name the bridges after two that showed valor in the face of danger.
“When men and women do just that, it is our obligation as a nation and as a state to honor them wherever and whenever we can,” Messmer said.
Taylor received his medal for actions he took in the Civil War while Faith received his medal posthumously after his actions in the Korean War. Faith’s daughter, Bobbie Faith Broyles, said the bridge naming “gives people an opportunity to remember them in their daily lives.”
“It is occasions like this that we can honor the gallantry and valor of people of this community,” Faith Broyles said.
“I hope all the people of Daviess County will take inspiration from the lives of these special American heroes.”
The idea to name the bridges came from Tom Brummett, an INDOT Project Supervisor from Washington that oversaw the building of the bridges for I-69. Brummett said it was a day years in the making.
“These bridge structures are monuments that will always represent the pride, honor and courage that both of these men had for their family, community and country,” Brummett said. “The strength of these structures represents the strength of their courage that both show men showed in carrying out their heroic feats of valor.”
Taylor’s family was represented by Donna Kenworthy, who was the private’s great great granddaughter. She expressed her gratefulness after and wished her father, Donald Rice, would have been alive to have seen it.
“I know they are up there very happy,” Kenworthy said. “It’s a great honor.”
According to research by Brummett, Taylor served in Company E, 18th Indiana Infantry Division, Army of the Potomac. On Oct. 19, 1864, the 18th Indiana was in action at Cedar Creek, Virginia.
The army, about 30,000 in number, was meeting the smaller Confederate Army. The Union army was being routed by the smaller southern force, until they were rallied by Gen. Phillip Sheridan.
During the battle, Taylor captured a battle flag even though he was partially paralyzed from a bad smallpox vaccine.
“The day of the battle at Cedar Creek, he was supposed to be back in the ambulance corps,” Brummett said. “He disregarded the order and went to the front of the line.”
Taylor was awarded the honor on Nov. 21, 1864 by President Abraham Lincoln on the lawn of the White House.
Faith led a counterattack at the Chosun Reservoir in what would be known now as North Korea on Nov. 27, 1950. According to the citation read by Brummett, Faith’s unit, the 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division, was under heavy attack from enemy forces at Chosun.
Faith then lead several counterattacks and led the convoy across the frozen reservoir for troops and trucks loaded with wounded soldiers.
He was then killed when he personally led an attack on an enemy position, in direct fire, shooting his pistol and throwing grenades. Faith, who was born in Washington on Aug. 26, 1918, was the only Medal of Honor recipient from the bloody Chosun reservoir battle.
Faith’s remains were not identified until last week, Faith Broyles said. An Army research team positively ID’d the remains from some taken from the reservoir in 2004. She said in 2013, Faith’s remains will be buried alongside his parents at Arlington National Cemetery.
Faith Broyles, who now resides in Baton Rouge, La., received the posthumous honor for her father from Gen. Omar Bradley on Aug. 2, 1951. Her family was in attendance for the ceremony.
Taylor, who died on Feb. 23, 1890 in Washington, was originally buried in the old Catholic Cemetery in Washington. When the current Washington High School was built over the area, Taylor’s remains were moved to Pioneer Park, just in front of the city’s water tower.
In Madison County Ala., where Taylor was originally born, a display was made for him in the Madison County Courthouse, complete with a replica of his Medal of Honor.
In Indiana, 75 have earned the highest honor this nation can bestow. The resolution to honor the bridges was accepted unanimously in the statehouse on March 5.
“Stuff like this is what makes the job fun and is a great source of pride,” Messmer said.
Kenworthy’s daughter, Laurie Gress, said the work Brummett did to honor the two men was incredible. Brummett himself said the research done and working with Messmer to get the bridges named was an honor.
“This was a promise I made to these two men as they’ve been my heroes that something should be done to recognize for everyone to see and not just me,” Brummett said.