- [S75] Atchley Funeral Home Records, Volume II, 1955-1973, Larry D. Fox, (Smoky Mountain Historical Society), 28 May 1955.
Edward Hall "Sailor Clark" Oury obituary
- [S84] E-Mail, Linda Rogers [email@example.com], 29 Jul 2005.
- [S106] The Mountain Press, 6 Nov 2005.
Vietnam veteran a Marine for life
By: J.J. KINDRED November 06, 2005
PIGEON FORGE - Robert Oury has seen more combat than he ever wanted to see.
The Pigeon Forge native said there is not a day that goes by he doesn't think about his experience as a Marine in Vietnam.
"One of the proudest things I've ever done was to be a Marine serving in the Marine Corps," said Oury. "I was 19 pounds overweight when I took a physical. It made me mad - all my friends had ways of trying to get out of going to Vietnam, and I was trying to get in.
"I worked out and lost 30 pounds, and went on and joined the Marine Corps," Oury said. "I wanted to be a Marine practically all my life and I got my wish. I wasn't a hero. People saw a lot more things than I did, but that's relative anyway."
Oury has lived in Pigeon Forge all his life, except for a brief stint in California for a few months before he joined the Marines in 1966. He served two years and won many ribbons and citations, including the Combat Action Ribbon; the Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon with two bronze stars attached; the National Defense Service Ribbon; the Vietnam Service Ribbon with three bronze stars attached; and the Marine Corps Rifle Marksmanship Badge.
"A friend of mine in the 278th was talking to me about how (Vietnam) changed him," said Oury. "He served a tour of duty in Vietnam, and I remember when I came back from Vietnam we landed at Travis Air Force Base in California, took a taxi to San Francisco International Airport, and there was a crowd of people waiting on us.
"I was a dumb ol' country boy and I thought they were to greet us, and they were there to greet us but for different reasons," Oury said. "This woman slaps me in the face and jerks my ribbons off. Another woman tried to spit in my face and I turned my head. Even the airline people would mess over you. Flying military standby, they would have empty seats but they would bump you off the plane and wouldn't let you ride. The Vietnam veterans never got any 'Johnny Comes Marching Home Again' tributes."
He volunteered to go to Vietnam and spent much of his time there scared.
"The scariest time is the first month you're there," said Oury. "When your flight date is coming up, the last 30 days you start wanting to dig your foxhole a little deeper."
After he left the Marines, Oury attended Hiwassee College in Madisonville and also worked for the city of Gatlinburg and at the Gatlinburg Golf Course as a greenskeeper.
"I changed jobs as often as I changed clothes," he said with a laugh.
He retired a year and a half ago and is currently establishing the Sevier County Marine Corps League.
Oury said he suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder associated with his combat experiences. He copes with it on a daily basis.
"Something that no one can ever take away from me is being a Marine," Oury said. "With this Veterans Day coming up, I always reflect on that day and think about all the people I was in combat with and in the service with. It's a sad feeling, but sometimes it's a good feeling.
"The real heroes of Vietnam are the people that are on the Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C.," Oury said. "It wasn't a totally bad thing to be there - it was a very beautiful country and they had very beautiful people. Someday I would like to go back and revisit some of the places where I was. I don't know when that will be, but hopefully in the near future."
Oury wants people to think about the sacrifices veterans like him made.
"I want them to remember that freedom isn't really free," said Oury. "You have to pay a cost for it. If it weren't for (veterans) doing extraordinary things, the world would be a different place. We might be speaking German or Japanese.
"A lot of people have given their lives so people can demonstrate against the war," Oury said. "I don't have to agree with them, as long as they don't come and spit in my face."
- [S74] Atchley Funeral Home Records, Volume IV, 1987-1999, Larry D. Fox, (Smoky Mountain Historical Society), 6 Oct 1997.
Margaret Faye Valentine obituary
- [S23] Atchley Funeral Home, (http://www.atchleyfuneralhome.com/), 13 Jul 2011.
Robert Carroll Oury
July 24, 1946 - July 13, 2011
Birthplace: Sevierville, Tennessee
Resided In: Pigeon Forge, Tennessee USA
Visitation: July 17, 2011
Service: July 17, 2011
Robert Carroll Oury, 64, beloved child of God, last worldly residence Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, was born July 24, 1946, in Sevierville, Tennessee, to Edward Hall Oury and Frankie Louise Newman Oury. Robert died to this life on Wednesday morning, July 13, 2011.
He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1966. He left for Vietnam on Easter Sunday, March 26, 1967. His specialty title was field artillery man, and his ending rank was Corporal E4. Robert survived the TET offensive, one of the bloodiest battles of the Vietnam War. Robert arrived back in the States on April 21, 1968. His mother said her “little boy” never came home. Robert loved his country and was proud to be a member of the Marine Corps. There is a special bond or brotherhood between these men and women that lasts a lifetime.
Robert is preceded in death by his parents, Ed and Frankie Oury, brothers Jack and Eddie Oury, sister and brother-in-law Dot and Jim McCall, and mother-in-law Margaret Valentine.
Robert is survived by Marilyn, his beloved wife, Leah, his “little girl,” pets Hank, his “little white puppy dog,” Hamlet, his favorite cat, and Pooky, Kitty and Lily. He is also survived by sister, Jane Bradley; father-in-law, John Valentine; brothers and sisters-in-law, Pat (Rick) Glaspie, Jack (Toni) Valentine, Donna (Kent) Atkins, Barbara (John) Wojtowicz, James (Cheryl) Valentine, Bill (Marie) Valentine, Carolyn (Danny) Schofield, Nina Oury and Katherine (Charles) Christman; special niece Jenean Terry and her children Mariah and Caleb, and multiple nieces and nephews. Robert also leaves many special friends.
Semper fi, Robert C. We love you and will see you again, Marilyn and Leah.
The family will receive friends 2-5 PM Sunday with a Celebration of Life service to follow at 5 PM in the West Chapel of Atchley Funeral Home, Sevierville. Rev. W.W. Cope will officiate. Interment 10 AM Monday at Pigeon Forge Baptist Cemetery. Arrangements by Atchley Funeral Home, Sevierville. (atchleyfuneralhome.com)
- [S1] U. S. Social Security Death Index.
Issued in Tennessee, residing in Sevier County, Tennessee