- Cullman, Alabama

February 18, 2014

Winston County Sheriff’s Office hosting Iwo Jima flag-raising reenactment

Community ceremony set for Wed. in Haleyville, Roy Drinkard special guest

By Trent Moore
The Cullman Times

— The Winston County Sheriff’s Office will host a community event Wednesday evening highlighted by a reenactment of the iconic flag-raising at Iwo Jima from World War II, as part of a week-long slate of training and keynotes related to 911 first responders.

The event is set to begin at 4 p.m. and will be hosted at the Haleyville National Guard Armory, at 4434 Newberg Road in Haleyville.

Winston County Sheriff Rick Harris said the event is part of a larger schedule of statewide training in the county, and noted it could be of interest for local veterans and community members.

“It’s a week-long summit of law enforcement and fire department and rapid responder training with local and national speakers,” Harris explained. “We have 30 different departments coming in, and we’ve pretty much sold out all the classes. But, Wednesday is free admission and open to the public. It will have a focus on military personnel and would be a great event for veterans.”

Exhibits will include the Blue Star Memorial Foundation display honoring “America’s Fallen Heroes,” and The Howlin Mad Smith’s Marine Corps Leagues Detachment’s reenactment of the famous flag raising at Mt. Sirabachi, Iwo Jima on February 23, 1945.

Displays of collectible military weapons from the collection of retired Master Sergeant J.O. Duke will also be on display, and organizers will give special recognition for local first responder professionals and volunteers.

Special guests include Cullman area developer Roy Drinkard, a World War II veteran; Barney Fyffe impersonator David Browning; and Dwana Pusser, daughter of the famous Tennessee Sheriff Buford “Walking Tall” Pusser.

The keynote will be given by Dr. John Schmidt, Senior Vice Chancellor at Troy University in Troy, Alabama, and a retired U.S. Marine Corps Colonel. He is a chair of the Alabama Historical Commission and is past chairman of the USS Alabama Battleship Commission.

In the U.S. Marine Corps, Schmidt commanded at all levels from Vietnam, Desert Shield, Bosnia and Haiti. Schmidt is a graduate of the Air War College and is an honor graduate of the U.S. Marine Corps Command and Staff College.

Trent Moore can be reached by e-mail at, or by telephone at 734-2131, ext. 134.