Ohio family's military roots now three generations deep

From Left, Lorenzo Chambliss, Linda Chambliss, Olin Ledgerwood, and Zachary Chambliss.


By STEVEN M. GRAZIER | The Repository, Canton, Ohio | Published: November 9, 2019

MASSILLON, Ohio (Tribune News Service) — From a grandfather who served on a warship in World War II and a mother who suited up for Desert Storm, it appears the extended Chambliss family is aiming even higher in the armed forces.

Larry and Linda Chambliss' twin sons, Lorenzo and Zachary, 19, are U.S. Army basic training graduates who also have completed their technical job training. Lorenzo is primed to serve as an Army engineer, and Zachary as a military police (MP) unit.

Both brothers are reservists and 2019 graduates of Fairless High School, where their father, Larry, is the principal.

Linda Chambliss is an eight-year Army reservist, and her 92-year-old father, Olin Ledgerwood, served for 18 months in the U.S. Navy during World War II.

Ledgerwood was a fireman first class aboard the USS Renshaw DD-499 – a destroyer-class vessel that deployed to Panama for part of the war.

"I enjoyed my time; it was a really good experience," recalled Ledgerwood, who opted out of his junior year at Suffield High School (Portage County) in 1945 to serve in the war.

According to Ledgerwood, good experiences are also coming for his grandsons.

"I'm proud of 'em," he said. "I think it's good for all males to join (the military) after high school (for at least a year) to give back."

According to Lorenzo Chambliss, lessons of the family's military service and history have been shared throughout his early years growing up. Keeping the generational streak going was among the reasons he and his brother signed up for the Army reserves.

"Ever since I was little, I wanted to go into engineering and be Army," he said. "I'm proud of our military family."

Zachary Chambliss agreed.

"The Army has always been something I've wanted," he said. "I never really wanted a desk job."

Military roots

Linda Chambliss doesn't have to pull rank at home to keep her sons in line, but she does speak from experience. She served in the Army reserves from 1985 to 1993 as an MP assigned to the 361st Military Police Co. in North Canton.

A former sergeant, she maintains a well-disciplined home, her sons said. Some of of her military time was spent guarding a prisoner of war camp overseas during Desert Storm.

Chambliss nodded her head with approval earlier this week when queried about her sons and their decisions about military service.

"They've got good goals and have been wanting to do this for a long time," said Chambliss, a 1985 graduate of Lake High School. "They were proud of their grandpa being in (the military). We kind of just have a military family."

Chambliss said she appreciated her father's wartime service. Starting in her youth, she always had a longing to become an MP.

"It's the kind of job that you stick together and work well together," she explained. "Thirty years later, I still have the friendships."

Looking forward

Both Chambliss brothers have endured 10 weeks of basic training, with Zachary adding police technical school – a combined 19 weeks – that ended with his return home Wednesday night. He said he's eager for his first deployment, whenever it comes.

"Everyone who volunteers wants to do something (overseas). I do want to see some action," said Zachary, suggesting that guarding a military post or multimillion-dollar equipment, or serving on a humanitarian mission would be worthwhile assignments.

Lorenzo completed his basic military training last summer and followed that with 10 weeks of military engineering school.

The brothers acknowledged that training can be frustrating at times, but the discipline and order are worthy aspects that help shape a soldier. Continuous pushups and standing at attention for multiple hours can take a toll, they said.

"Everyone does the same crappy things and gets yelled at (by drill sergeants)," Lorenzo said, smiling. "But you learn a lot and come out better from it."


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