Many Americans who wear their racism on their sleeves are fond of saying that either they or their ancestors served in America’s military – implying that only white Americans have fought for America. Nothing could be further from the truth.
From the earliest days of America – from Crispus Attucks to the 54th Massachusetts Regiment to the 9th and 10th Colored Calvary to the Tuskegee Airmen to the present day – Black Americans have fought and died for liberty and justice that was often denied to them in spite of their military service. June 16, 2018 allows us the opportunity to say “thank you for your service” to a Lowcountry resident who gave his life while serving his country.
Sergeant Earl Singleton, born on January 11, 1955 in Huger, SC, was the only son of Ms. Elizabeth Singleton. Following his graduation from Cainhoy High School, he enlisted in the United States Army to serve his country and to seek the educational and vocational opportunities afforded by military service.
Sergeant Singleton rose through the ranks, became a member of the vaunted 101st Airborne Division and was among those deployed as United Nations’ “peacekeepers” on Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula in 1985.
Those in his division served honorably and were headed home to see family and friends for the Christmas holiday when their chartered flight to Fort Campbell, Kentucky stopped for a layover at Gander, Newfoundland on January 12, 1985, but a horrific tragedy crushed their plans.
When their flight took off from Gander, the plane failed to gain altitude and crashed 3,000 feet from the end of the runway, bursting into flames and claiming the lives of the 248 soldiers and 8 crew members on board.
Sergeant Earl Singleton’s life and his demise at 30 years old are reminders that giving one’s life in service to one’s country is not just a matter of dying on the battlefield, but also a matter of giving one’s life in often unexpected circumstances that can also result from serving one’s country. Sergeant Earl Singleton is worthy of honor and remembrance as an American hero, and there will be an opportunity to remember his service and his sacrifice at what is now Cainhoy Elementary/Middle School, 2434 Cainhoy Road, Huger, SC on Saturday, June 16, 2018 at 2 pm.
Per the request by Resolution of Berkeley County Representative Joseph H. Jefferson, the South Carolina General Assembly approved naming the portion of Cainhoy Road from S.C. Highway 41 to Cainhoy Elementary/Middle School the “Sergeant Earl Singleton Memorial Highway.”
The official ceremony to affirm that name change will be held at Cainhoy Elementary/Middle School, 2434 Cainhoy Road, Huger, SC on Saturday, June 16, 2018 at 2 pm. All members – and especially military veterans and their families – in the Lowcountry community are encouraged to attend, to meet Sergeant Singleton’s family and to share in food and fellowship.
Make every effort to attend, so that in between Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, we can pay a fitting tribute to a local and authentic American hero who gave his “last measure of devotion” in service to our nation.