Soldier’s resting place sought

Published 6:52 am Tuesday, January 21, 2014

WILMINGTON – The search continues.

For brothers Tom and Jim Reece, what began as a memorial for Wilmington-area soldiers killed in action in the Vietnam War has evolved into an effort to recognize more than 1,750 of those brave souls that were born, based or buried on Tar Heel soil.

And for all their efforts to obtain photos of these valiant fighting men, 140 faces are missing, including a handful from the Roanoke-Chowan area that died during that war.

An article published in this newspaper in October of last year led the brothers to learn the burial site of James Hudson Jr. of Como. Now the Reece brothers need to discover the final resting place of Army PFC Lamont George Epps, who was raised in the Margarettesville area of Northampton County. His mother was Annie Stevenson Epps.

“He is buried up there somewhere, but we can’t locate an obit,” said Tom Reece. “We’re hoping that your newspaper can put out some information to see if someone knows Mr. Epps or his family. What we’re searching for is a photo and grave site location.”

Those with information on Epps can send an email to

The Reece brothers are asking for the help of local citizens as they want to place a face with a name listed as part of the new Education Center at the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. That project is expected to be completed sometimes this year.

“My brother and I feel that having all these photos in place is important – not to us, but for the family members of these brave soldiers,” Jim Reece said.

The Vietnam Memorial Fund’s “Faces on the Wall” Project was launched with a groundbreaking ceremony in November of last year.

“This memorial will feature photos of those who died in action during the Vietnam War,” Jim Reece stated. “Here in North Carolina, myself, my brother and one more volunteer are trying to locate every one of their gravestones and a photo of each one as well. We started out with 1,610 and it ballooned to 1,760 and we have it whittled down to 140. We need your help to fill in the gaps we have with the final 140, to include Mr. Epps.”

The search was productive to find the grave site, photos and information, which follows, on James Hudson.

Specialist Four James Hudson Jr. was a casualty of the Vietnam War. As a member of the Army Selective Service and a draftee, SP4 Hudson served the country until April 22, 1969 in Dinh Tuong, South Vietnam. He was 21 years old and was not married.

It was reported that Hudson died from drowning. His body was recovered. SP4 Hudson is on panel 26W, line 025 of the Vietnam Memorial Wall in WashingtonD.C. He served for one year.

James Hudson Jr. was born on December 4, 1947 in Como, the son of James Hudson Sr. and Mrs. Willie Hudson. He had two sisters, Annie and Virginia, and was a member of MillNeck Baptist Church, where he is buried. He was a graduate of CalvinS.BrownHigh School in Winton.

CPL James Hudson Jr. was awarded the Bronze Star with 1st Oak Leaf Cluster and the V Device along with other medals posthumously for service in Vietnam. He served with Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 39th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division, “Old Reliables”, USARV. He was awarded The Combat Infantryman’s Badge(CIB), The Bronze Star Medal with One Oak Leaf Cluster, The Vietnam Service Medal, The Republic of Vietnam Campaign Service Medal, and The National Defense Service Medal.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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