The history of the National Guard armory in Brundidge

Published 7:22 pm Tuesday, August 15, 2023

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The local National Guard Armory officially became Fort Wendall K. Taylor and was dedicated in ceremonies Sunday afternoon, May 24.  Chief Warrant Officer Taylor, for whom the fort was named, was a member of the local guard unit for sixteen years.  He was employed there as a full-time technician from 1955 until his death, which came October 9, 1969, after a  courageous battle against cancer.  His diligence and devotion to duty made the Brundidge guard unit one of the most outstanding in Alabama.

Dianne Smith

Dianne Smith

Taylor was a native of Pike County, the son of Mr. and Mrs. N. H. Taylor.  Born in 1930, he grew up on the family farm with ten brothers and sisters, and graduated from Pike County High School in Brundidge.  Except for two periods of service in the U. S. Army, 1951-1953, and 1961-1962, Brundidge was his home.

He was active in community life, serving as president of the Rotary Club, member of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Boy Scout Troop Council and the Bethlehem Baptist Church.  Taylor’s widow is the former Sara Faye Lewis.  He is survived by three children, Rendell, Wendolyn and Wendel Keith, Jr.

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The Sunday ceremony was opened with prayer by Rev. Mack King, pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church.  First Lieutenant Jimmie LeDon Shehane, Commanding Officer of the 900th Heavy Equipment Maintenance Company, Brundidge, gave the welcome and introduced Captain Joseph Faircloth from the Headquarters of the Alabama Army National Guard.

Faircloth, former Commanding Officer of the Brundidge Guard Unit, introduced distinguished guests and presented Honorable Robert Barr, Mayor of  Brundidge, and Major Lawrence Bowden of Brundidge, who is with the 167th Support Brigade, ARNG.  After both Barr and Bowden had given addresses, Brigadier General Oral Davis addressed the guests and presented Dr. Ralph Adams, President of Troy State University, who gave the dedication address.

The Reading of the General Order officially proclaiming the armory as Fort Wendell K. Taylor was done by Second Lieutenant Bobby Wiggins, from National Guard headquarters.  Another highlight of the program was the unveiling of a portrait of CWO Taylor done by Brundidge artist Larry Godwin.  The portrait, which will hang in the Fort, was presented by the citizens of Brundidge and unveiled by Rendell, Taylor’s oldest son.

     sion was by the United States Army Band from Fort Rucker.

All of these articles can be found in previous editions of The Troy Messenger.  Stay tuned for more.  Dianne Smith is the President of the Pike County Historical, Genealogical and Preservation Society.