Samuel Garrison's Tuskegee ties in question | News
TYLER, TX (KLTV)-
The Texas General Land Office says it's a possibility a veteran's name could be removed from the Watkins-Logan-Garrison Texas State Veteran's Home in Tyler.
This comes after researchers say they can't find any documentation that legitimizes Samuel M. Garrison claims that he was a Tuskegee Airman. Garrison died almost a year ago at the age of 88.
Now, researchers say Garrison's stories may have been just that. They are questioning the validity of his claims that he was a Tuskegee Airman.
Dr. Kirk Calhoun nominated Garrison to have his name on the Texas State Veteran's Home in November 2011.
"I think that if it weren't for the Tuskegee Airmen aspects of this, his chances of being selected would have been much less," said Calhoun.
Like many others in the community, Calhoun says he never thought to fact check Garrison's war stories.
"I don't think any of us want to play the role of the FBI," said Calhoun. "He was honored by the city, he was honored in the press. I was certainly impressed by what he had to say. If it's not true, that's sad. I don't think it was malicious, but sometimes people get caught up in stories."
For now Garrison's name will remain on the Texas State Veteran's Home sign. In July a board in Austin will meet to decide if it should be removed. That all depends on their findings from the U.S. Department of Defense.
"This is our eight veterans home to build in Texas and we name them after local heroes," said Jim Suydam, Texas General Land Office spokesperson. "We ask the community to nominate the names of heroes and we presented them to the board and the board casts the vote. We've never had an issue like this before."
"I think right now the most important thing is to get to the truth, understand what his service actually was and then the veteran's land board can make a determination if the naming was appropriate or not," said Calhoun.
Calhoun says regardless of the outcome, the veterans home is an honorable place, serving men and women who have served our country.
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