Earl Claxton Warren
The Spirit of America Festival Committee proudly presents the 2013 Spirit of America Barrett C. Shelton Sr. Freedom Award posthumously to the family of Earl Claxton Warren, who bravely served his county and is known as “The Teenager at Pointe du Hoc” and later made significant contributions to his community and state.
At the age of 17, Earl Claxton Warren volunteered for service in the United States Army. Just six short days past his 18th birthday, serving with the 2nd Ranger Battalion in the European Theater, He landed at Pointe du Hoc, France. His initial mission was to scale the 130 foot cliffs and destroy 6 cannons located there so that the invasion fleet could land. In terrible weather conditions, they caught the German troops off guard and in ensuing crossfire where able to take control of the cannons and destroy them with phosphorous bombs. In Warren’s remembrances he writes, “It is hard to reflect back on the vast loss of America lives. The second day we had about 90 troops left out of the 225 that had landed that bitterly cold day…we had cleared the way for our invasion fleet to come ashore.” In the next several months, he fought in the Hedgerow Battles and then the Battle of the Bulge. Of his original company that landed in Normandy, only five survived. Upon his return from the World War II, Mr. Warren was awarded four bronze stars.
Arriving home, Earl Claxton Warren graduated from Madison County High School and received a football scholarship to Tennessee Tech University. He also received an MBA from Memphis State University. Many people affectionately called him “Coach” and he was inducted into the DeKalb County Sports Hall of Fame in 2000 and the Morgan County Sports Hall of Fame in 2009. Mr. Warren also made contributions in the Hartselle banking and insurance industries, and was very active in civic activities to include Kiwanis, Rotary, the Board of Education and the Chamber of Commerce. For 19 years, he served as Chairman of the Hartselle Housing Authority and the OWO Gymnasium (Osborne, Warren and Oden) is named in his honor. He served his church, Hartselle Church of Christ, as an elder for 24 years, a song leader for 47 years and as Bible teacher for 50 years. He also made mission trips to Romania.
In November of 2012, Mr. Warren was the only member of that group still living. Sadly, after a life of dedicated service, Mr. Earl Claxton Warren died on May 9, 2013.
The life of Mr. Earl Claxton Warren exemplifies the character and commitment of so many individuals from the “Greatest Generation” and veterans from all of our nations wars and conflicts.
Earl Warren shared a poem written by a friend, Doug Styles, entitled “Arlington” and the opening stanza reminds us of freedom’s price and our need to remember and honor these courageous individuals.
Do you know the price of freedom?
Have you ever checked the cost?
Our liberty we take for granted
Thoughtless of lives once lost.
From “Arlington” written by Doug Styles, a close friend of Earl Warren