Fort Walton Beach, Florida

A Quick Look

I was born in Vardaman in Calhoun County, Mississippi and attended school in Vardaman, Big Creek, and Calhoun City. I graduated from high school in Calhoun City and studied Electrical Engineering at Mississippi State University. After graduation from MSU, I entered the Air Force through the Reserve Officer Training Program. My first assignment was to Washington D.C. for three years and my second was to the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) at Wright-Patterson AFB, Dayton, Ohio, for graduate school. While there, I met Wanda Birt, and we were married when I graduated from AFIT. My first assignment after graduate school was also at Wright-Patterson AFB.

Our two daughters were born while I was on active duty. They graduated from Choctawhatchee High School in Fort Walton Beach, FL, and then from the University of Florida in Gainesville. I've included some photos of them and their children on the My Family pages

I had interesting jobs while I was in the Air Force. I've listed my Air Force assignments here.

[F-15 Over the Sound} Eglin AFB was my final active duty base and I've lived in the Florida Panhandle since I retired. Sights such as the Eglin-based F-15 flying over Santa Rosa Sound and the beaches are familiar.

After retiring from active duty, I worked for a defense contractor in Panama City (FL) which supported the Air Force Civil Engineering Center at Tyndall AFB. I worked there for several years and then moved back to Fort Walton Beach when the Air Force office we were supporting moved from Tyndall AFB to Eglin AFB.

I continued to work as a contractor providing technical and engineering support to the Air Armament Center until I decided to retire again at the end of September 2006.

[FWB Seal]

Fort Walton Beach

Fort Walton Beach is on Florida's Gulf Coast between Pensacola and Panama City. Destin, a popular tourist destination, is about six miles to the east. The main source of income in the area is still the military bases with tourism close behind. There is little industry. The beaches and water are still glorious, but overdevelopment is an increasing threat. I've included several pages of local scenes.

Family History

I enjoy learning about my family history and into the history of the area where I was born and grew up. My mother became interested in our family and area history some years ago and interviewed many of our older surviving relatives and wrote down what they were able to remember as well as her own memories. She also did exensive research and corresponded widely with relatives. I helped her put a lot of this information together in a book The Cherry Hill - Reid - Poplar Springs Community in Calhoun County, Mississippi. All of the printed copies of that book have been distributed, some to libraries in Calhoun County and to the Mississippi State and the Ole Miss libraries. However, I've also put the book on line for anyone to read or download (in PDF format) at no charge or obligation. To access it, click HERE.

I've also put some of that information in my family history and genealogy pages on this site. I've created some pages with old family photographs and other pages with miscellaneous old stories, obituaries, letters, and so on.

My Family Groups pages contain a fairly large collection of genealogical information on family lines connected somehow to my family. These families include Young, Richard, Blue, Winter, Morgan, Murphree, Hardin, Birt, Davisson, Ganti, Hollis, Moseley, Spratlin, Stribling, Swindoll, Vaughn, and Yancy, as well as a few others.


Vegetables from the supermarket just don't taste as good as those raised in the garden. My memories of food are largely those of fresh, home-grown vegetables and I've included a page where I remember those and other food from my childhood.

It's hard to believe, but our girls are grown and out on their own now. I still think of them as children and enjoy remembering many wonderful things they've done (and still do!) to brighten my life. I've included some separate pages with these pictures and memories.

Some Favorite Links

I'm a member of and currently (2016) the Newsletter Editor, and Webmaster for the Genealogical Society of Okaloosa County (GSOC), Florida. The GSOC website can be visited by clicking

I'm also a member of and currently a Director of the Murphree Genealogical Association (MGA). I'm the Webmaster for the MGA, too. My Murphree lineage is through my mother's side of the family: my great grandfather was Jefferson D Murphree. The MGA website is at

The Vardaman History Project is another of my interests. A couple of years ago, some of my friends from the Vardaman, Mississippi, area asked me to head up a group to write a history of the town and area where we grew up. With the help of these friends and many other contributors we've begun to piece together the history of this place that is near to the heart of many of us. I put the Vardaman History Project web site together to document what we've gathered and written so far.

I mentioned my love of and interest in history. I'm currently the President of the Alabama-West Florida United Methodist Conference Historical Society. Our Annual Meeting for 2016 was held at St. Stephens United Methodist Church, St. Stephens, Alabama, in September 2016. The Society's web site is at

A wonderful site that I enjoy visiting is the  Calhoun County Historical and Genealogical Society. It was formed several years ago and has done great things in preserving the history of Calhoun County and helping folks find their links to the past. One of the most valuable services that the CCH&GS provides is that of publishing material that is of interest and use to those of us who enjoy studying Calhoun County's history. The GenWeb project provides a great source of information for those interested in Calhoun County, MS, history. My special thanks to Rose Diamond for the MSGenWeb site.

I was the best man at the wedding of Wallace and Carolyn Parshall in 1965. Wally retired a few years ago from the banking business and has turned his long-time hobby of photography into a full-time job. His  web site  has some beautiful images taken on his trips to Europe and to the southwestern United States. He has made quite a name for himself in Lansing, Michigan, and is becoming increasingly known for his work in the midwest and on the art show circuit which he and Carolyn enjoed being a part of for many years. Sadly, Carolyn passed away this year.

Most of the Air Force bases that I've been assigned to have web pages now, even the secretive National Security Agency, which was my first active duty assignment. The USAF Museum has some nice photographs and art of airplanes and aircraft equipment.

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Page Design and layout by Jim Young. Last Updated on 4 October 2016.