Grand marshals honored at July 4th Hometown Celebration

Staff Writer
Plaquemine Post South

The City of Plaquemine honored eight veterans as Grand Marshals of the July 4th Hometown Celebration. They led the annual boat parade on Bayou Plaquemine and were honored in a ceremony at the Mark A. "Tony" Gulotta Bayou Plaquemine Waterfront Park. The Grand Marshals for 2019 are:

Alcee Becnel, III

Mr. Becnel, 86, served in the U.S. Army as a Specialist Third Class from 1955 until 1957.He graduated as a mechanical engineer from LSU in 1995, and was drafted into the Army after his graduation. He spent most of his service at the Army Ballistic Missile Agency in Huntsville, Alabama, which was the forerunner of what is now NASA. There he worked with civilian engineers and German scientists who were brought here after World War II. The unit was made up of graduate engineers. His work involved the handling and launching of the Redstone missile, which flew astronaut Alan Shepard, and he went to Cape Canaveral for the launch. After his service, he was offered a job with the program, but took a job with the La. Department of Transportation and Development.

Earl Bourgoyne

Mr. Bourgoyne, 74, served in the U.S. Air Force as a Sergeant during the Vietnam War. His active duty was from 1963 until 1967, and inactive duty from 1968 to 1969. He was stationed in England as a London liaison military policeman at the Douglas House. U.S. troops who had been out to sea for months would stay at the house when visiting London for rest. He often had to work with London police to keep rowdy troops from serving jail time. He met his now wife of 51 years, Jackie, in London. After his service, he worked various jobs until becoming a plant operator, and then instrument and electrical specialist until his retirement.

Coan Bueche, Jr.

He served in the U.S. Coast Guard during the Gulf War as a 2nd Class Quarter Master and End Class Diver. He was stationed in Honolulu, Hawaii and Grand Isle, and recalls a number of activities many don’t associate with the Coast Guard – arresting drug dealers and confiscating drugs from ships; rescuing 28 people from a sinking ship. He dove at Pearl Harbor and traveled to foreign countries during his service from 1986 until 1991. Honors he received include the Boat Camp Honor Graduate, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Commandant’s Letter of Commendation, Good Conduct, Sea Service Ribbon and Expert Pistol and Rifle Marksman.

O.J. Dupuy

Mr. Dupuy, 82, served in the U.S. Navy as a YNSN (Navy Yeoman) from 1955 until 1957.He was stationed in San Francisco and made ten trips transporting troops across the Pacific Ocean. After completing his service, he worked at Dow for 33 years, and worked contract with Dow for 20 years as a tour guide/bus driver.

Stacey Lynn Ferrier

Mrs. Ferrier, 50, was a Sergeant First Class and Special Agent with the U.S. Army. She served 21 years, from 1988 until 2009, and was stationed in Ft. Benning, Georgia, Germany, Ft. Stewart, Georgia, and Korea. Her service included time in the Gulf War, Bosnia and Iraq. She held jobs from vehicle operator to computer software trainer to Division Non-Commissioned Officer, to Special Agent. She received many honors, including the Bronze Star, National Defense Service Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, NATO Medal and more. Her fondest memories of her service were serving as the first and only female Non-Commissioned Officer in charge of the 3 rd Infantry Division Assault Command Post in Ft. Stewart, Georgia, where she said she had amazing soldiers working under her and great leaders supporting her. After her service, she became a master gardener and naturalist, and runs Goula Paradise Farms, LLC.

Elliott Germany

Mr. Germany, 72, was a Sargent E5 in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. He served from 1966 until 1969, and was stationed in Korea, Oklahoma, Ft. Polk and Ft. Hood. A small arms expert in M-14 to M-16 weapons, he spent 13 months in Korea, where he was a member of a guerilla warfare group. He remembers is being very cold. "You couldn't get away from the cold," he said. He credits the military with teaching him discipline. After his service he worked at the Carville Hospital in the laboratory for 27 years until his retirement.

James "Jimmy" Higginbotham

Mr. Higginbotham, 76, served in the U.S. Army as a Private First Class (E-3) from 1959 until 1962. He served in Germany with the 24th Infantry Artillery Division. After attending specialized radio school, he served in that capacity. He said it snowed six months of the year in Germany, and in his spare time he tried to find Elvis Presley, who was stationed in Germany at the same time. After completing his military service, he worked in the oil fields.

Felisha Nelson Jones

Mrs. Jones, 47, served in the U.S. Army as a Private First Class (E-3). She was stationed in Oahu, Hawaii. She most remembers friends made during her service. After she completed her service, she became a mail carrier for the U.S. Postal Service.

Contributed by City of Plaquemine