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Friday, 26 August 2011


J'ville vet honors Elvis' military service

A Jacksonville resident and Army veteran had a hand in honoring the military service of Elvis Presley.
James Bryan Welch was among a delegation of 3rd Armored Division veterans who attended the unit’s annual reunion last month in Memphis, Tenn. They visited the late entertainer’s home, Graceland, and presented a plaque recognizing his Army service.
“I was very humbled and proud to be there,” Welch said. “It was kind of a surreal moment. For a moment in time, we forgot that he was the ‘King of Rock and Roll.’ For about five minutes, he was Sgt. Elvis Presley.”
Presley served in the 3rd Armored Division from 1958 to 1960 in Friedberg, West Germany, and was honorably discharged with the rank of sergeant.
While in Memphis, Welch and other members of the 3rd Armored Division Association also visited Beale Street, Sun Studio, the Memphis Rock ’n’ Soul Museum and St. Jude Children’s Hospital, where they presented a $2,500 check as a donation.
Welch enjoyed his first visit to Graceland.
“I was impressed with how they have maintained Graceland and kept it much like it was the day [Presley] died,” he said. “Graceland is an amazing place.”
Presley died Aug. 16, 1977, at age 42.