Springtown Veterans Memorial
Springtown, Texas

The Springtown Veterans Memorial in Springtown, Texas is dedicated to all who serve in the military forces of the United States.

A special dedication atop of the memorial for Corporal James H. McRae, U.S.M.C. who lost his life in Iraq.

Cpl. James Heath McRae, 22, a 2003 graduate of Springtown High School, was killed Tuesday in the Diyala province, the Defense Department announced. Relatives said he was driving a Humvee when a roadside bomb exploded. Two other Marines - Lance Cpl. Robert Lynch, 20, of Louisville, Ky., and Cpl. Matthew Zindars, 21, of Watertown, Wis. - also died. "I talked to him Monday," his mother, Rhonda McRae, said Thursday. "He was in good spirits, but he was tired. He was staying as busy as he could to make the time go by faster. He was ready to come home.

"Cpl. McRae is the 34th service member from the Fort Worth area to die in Iraq, and the second in four days. Army Cpl. Rhett Allen Butler, a Glen Rose native, died July 20.Services for Cpl. McRae are pending at White's Funeral Home in Azle. But his family has decided that he will be buried at Willow Point, a small cemetery in southwestern Jack County near the family ranch."We had never talked about that," his mother said. "It's where his dad and I chose.

"Cpl. McRae, born July 6, 1985, at Harris Methodist Northwest Hospital, grew up in Springtown, learning at an early age how to fix fences and work cattle and how to repair boat and car engines under the watchful eye of his dad, Bill McRae. He enjoyed deer hunting and especially loved fishing, whether in the stock tanks on the family ranch or on a charter boat in the Gulf of Mexico."He was the baby and the only son," his mother said. But Heath, as he was known, was not strictly a country boy. Outgoing and never wanting for a date, he played trombone in the Springtown marching band and the jazz band.

His skill earned him a music scholarship to Weatherford College, which he attended for a year. He taught himself how to play the guitar and tried to match Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan in a garage band that played at Springtown talent shows."He was a team player," said retired Springtown band director J. B. Perry. "For one thing, he stuck with it all the way through, from sixth grade to his senior year. And he gave it his best and showed a good attitude the whole way. Not all students can do that.

"Cpl. McRae believed he needed to repay his debt to his country by enlisting in the service, his mother said. In May 2004, he shipped off for boot camp and had been home very little since. He was serving as a diesel mechanic on Okinawa, Japan, when he was attached to a California-based unit destined for Iraq. After a week at home in Springtown, he deployed in April to the Ramadi area, his mother said. "The day before he left from San Diego, we went to SeaWorld with some of his friends, and we went to the pier and ate out," she said. "We had a wonderful time."Other survivors include two sisters, Misty Rix of Oahu, Hawaii, and Amy Styles of Springtown.

Close-up of the dedication on the memorial.

Another view of the Springtown Veterans Memorial.

Overview of the Springtown square, the Springtown Wall of Honor in the foreground and the Springtown Veterans Memorial in the background.
All photos © 2010 Michael W. Pocock
and MaritimeQuest.com all rights reserved

Page published Nov. 2, 2010