On this page, you will find an ongoing collection of stories and records of the servicemen and servicewomen buried on the Pohick Church grounds. This project, kickstarted by Caden Ritchie’s “Pohick Church’s Military Legacy” Eagle Scout project, aims to highlight the service and sacrifice of those who have served the United States in uniform throughout history. Regardless of branch or era, we seek to remember the Church Members who have served in the Armed Forces.
Wayne Kirkland, a Philadelphia native, was drafted into the US Army in 1970 when he was 26 years old. Kirkland graduated basic training in October 1970, and was being sent to Vietnam when he was pulled out and sent to Germany as a Military Policeman, or “MP.” Kirkland was stationed in Nuremburg with the 793rd MP Battalion, serving from 1970-1972. His partner was African American. The duo were referred to as a “Salt and Pepper Team,” and drew a lot of controversy from fellow MPs. While breaking up a bar fight in Germany, Kirkland was pushed down a flight of stairs by a rowdy soldier, giving him a back injury which eventually led to his discharge. Kirkland left the Army qualified as Expert Marksman with the M14, and sharpshooter with the M16. He also earned the National Defense Ribbon and a Good Conduct Medal.
William Wilson Wright
William W. Wright of Arlington, VA, born in 1918 had an extensive service record, spanning numerous eras of military history. During WWII, serving in the Pacific Theater, Wright earned a Silver Star on the island of Guadalcanal for destroying no less than 9 Japanese tanks. In Korea, Wright earned a Bronze Star at the Chosin Reservoir, a battle characterized by freezing temperatures and barren landscape. During the Vietnam War from 1967 to 1968, Wright was the USAFI (United States Armed Forces Institute) Officer at the University of Virginia.
Boyd Nesaw, born in August 1929, served in the US Airforce during the Korean War. Nesaw served during the early Airforce, as it only separated from the Army in 1947. Nesaw achieved the rank of Airman First Class.
World War II
George William Cyr
George W. Cyr was born on February 20, 1920, in Amesbury, Massachusetts. Cyr served during WWII in the Army Air Forces in Europe with the 455th Bomb Group, 743rd Squadron, 15th Air Force. Cyr earned the Distinguished Flying Cross (awarded for heroism or extraordinary achievement while in aerial flight) and four Air Medals (awarded for heroic or meritorious achievement while in aerial flight). Once, while on a mission, his copilot was hit by anti-aircraft shrapnel in the leg. Concerned that he would bleed out, Cyr took the plane to low altitudes and dropped the payload in order to return to base to seek medical attention. The copilot lived, and the piece of shrapnel from his leg is now a family heirloom. Cyr was awarded three bronze stars, and left the military at the rank of Captain. In addition to serving the nation through military service, Cyr also served as the Executive Director of the U.S. Constitution Council and the Council of the Thirteen Original States. George W. Cyr died February 8, 1981, at the age of 60.
Archibald Erskine Nevitt
Archibald E. Nevitt was born on August 25, 1923. Nevitt served in the 29th Infantry Division during WWII. Nevitt participated in the Normandy Invasion, and was scheduled to hit the beach with the 2nd wave. His landing craft’s door would not go down, which delayed landing several hours. After landing, Nevitt would go on to be promoted in the field to Sergeant, and was recommended for a Silver Star for his actions. Nevitt fought through St. Lo with the 29th, and recalled numerous close encounters with enemy forces, once almost committing suicide to avoid capture. Through all this, Nevitt refused to go home with a medical discharge. Archibald E. Nevitt ended the war with two Purple Hearts, and died at the age of 79 of natural causes.
At 23, Colonel Robert Cockroft served during WWII as one of the youngest Majors in Patton’s 3rd Army. Cockroft was the Executive Officer of the 748th Tank Battalion, nicknamed the “Rhinos,” which saw extensive action in the European Theater of Operations. Cockroft was a ROTC graduate, and after tank training at Camp Bouse, Arizona, Cockroft was shipped to a training camp in Whales. In August 1944, Cockroft’s Battalion came ashore at Utah Beach, where he participated in the Liberation Campaign, from Western France to the Elbe River. Cockroft participated in liberating numerous Concentration Camps all over Germany with the 3rd Army, including Mauthausen and Buchenwald. Cockroft was awarded a Bronze Star, cited for a period when the 748th advanced 500 miles from the Saar River to the Danube. Like many of his fellow 3rd Army soldiers, Cockroft was quite the fan of Patton for his colorful language and big personality. As Cockroft would often say, “Patton was Old Blood And Guts, but he didn’t lose many men.” Cockroft served in the Army Reserves until 1980, where he retired as a Colonel.
Irving L. Hicks
Irving Hicks, born in 1923, enlisted in the US Army Air Corps on December 8, 1942. Hicks, a sales clerk in civilian life, served as a Private during the war.
World War I
The brother of Archibald Nevitt, WWII Pohick Church Veteran, Robert Nevitt served in the US Army during the First World War. Nevitt left the army with a dishonorable discharge, and took his own life in 1942.