Nov 13 2019

A Noble Effort | “A Noble Porterfield Story”

Even though we are past Veterans Day- this story, among so many others help shape the story of Giles. We are grateful for the service men and women from our communities. Thank you to Doug Martin and the Walkers of Newport for sharing this story with us. 

A Noble Effort | “A Noble Porterfield Story”

It is appropriate to recognize veterans in all wars and also to pause and reflect on some of the realities of those who left the friendly confines of the Sinking Creek Valley to travel world-wide leaving their footprints and fingerprints as indelible markers in service to their country.  One such individual from Newport was Noble Porterfield.


Growing up in the 1920s and 1930s could be challenging as the world went through World War I, the horrendous flu epidemic of 1919, then the Great Depression.  The Porterfield family similar to many of the local families had the strong work ethic, the rural survivor skills and a “make -do” mentality that would serve them well as they each traveled their journeys into adult hood.


1930s picture of Mr. Portfield

Noble Porterfield


Noble was the oldest of six brothers and sisters and joined the army in the 1930s serving as a platoon sergeant.  One of his early assignments was in Hawaii and on Saturday December 6, 1941 Noble’s football team (with Noble as the left end) had prevailed as football champions.  After a night of celebration, his regiment quartered at Schofield Barracks (Pearl Harbor) was to leave for the island of Hawaii for a period of rest and relaxation.  At about 7:55 a.m. on December 7, 1941 the first Japanese planes appeared over Oahu and began strafing the motor pool at Wheeler Field and bombing the American fleet in the harbor about 3 miles away.   The surprise attack on Pearl Harbor that President Franklin Roosevelt called “a date which will live in infamy” would formally place the United States into WWII.  Amid the confusion at that time, the US soldiers in Noble Porterfield’s unit dug into their fox holes and never returned to their Schofield Barracks.  On that day the Navy nearby took the brunt of the attack and as a side note Maury Atkins who grew up in Maybrook near the Porterfield home was a survivor on the USS Oklahoma at Pearl Harbor.


As bad as the Pearl Harbor experience was, World War II had more tougher times ahead for Noble and his unit.  After helping in troop training in Oklahoma, Europe called with Noble being in France (Strasbourg) on Christmas Day 1944.   In the snow and cold of the winter of 1944-45, Noble’s platoon laid wire near the Siegfried Line and on into Germany and Austria with over half the platoon either not surviving or being captured.  Noble was also present for the release of prisoners at Dachau, an unforgettable experience.  For his military efforts, Noble was decorated with the Bronze Star for meritorious service in France and Germany and cited for his quality and outstanding leadership, courage and initiative while on wire-laying missions under heavy fire.


Bronze Star medal

Bronze Star


Noble was discharged from the military in June 1945 and began work at the Celanese in Narrows, Virginia in August 1945.  In 1947, He married Christine Lucas, a Newportonian, and from that union came two daughters, Mickey and Rochelle.  Today, Rochelle continues that service dedication with the Newport Rescue squad knowing that she is standing on broad shoulders and that her service is also appreciated.  As we pause on Veterans Day it is with a reverence that we offer “Thanks for your service” to the Porterfield family and to all veterans – admittedly often not fully understanding the depth of the dedication and experience.


Mr. & Mrs. Porterfield

Noble & Christine Porterfield

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