Texas Fallen Heroes High School Open Won By Long and Mueck
by Terry Sympson -
Jackson Hill Marina
The 2018 Texas Fallen Heroes High School Championship was held at Jackson Hill Marina on Saturday and Sunday June 23-24th with top teams from Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Arkansas competing for bragging rights, prizes and scholarship awards.
After two days of fishing in temperatures closing in on the 100 degree mark and surface water temps in the low 80’s, the hot team of Kaden Mueck and Breckett Long from Livingston High School and this year’s Deep East Texas High School Champions added another great finish to their season by edging out South East Texas High School Champion Tyler Shearin and Trent Andrus of Little Cypress Mauriceville, Orange, TX by less than a pound to win the sixth annual Texas Fallen Heroes High School Fishing Championship and a $2,500 scholarship award with a two day total of 30.70 lbs.
Third place went to Colin Pones and Ethan Bounds the 2018 Arkansas Junior State Champions from Texarkana who made their first trip to Sam Rayburn and managed to sack 23.51 lbs of Texas green gold.
The event began with a Friday evening cookout and opening ceremony honoring our Texas Fallen Heroes. Each participant was presented a set of dog tags to honor them and all who have paid the ultimate price for our liberty and freedom. The American Legion Posts 113 Lufkin and 387 San Augustine along with the VFW Post 9313 San Augustine conducted the traditional missing man table and the folding of the American Flag explaining the symbolism to the student anglers and guests.
The crowd also had a chance to meet and hear two stories of service and sacrifice from local Veterans. Vietnam Veteran John Alexander from San Augustine was honored for his service as part of the 50th Anniversary Commemoration of the Vietnam War and presented a custom fishing rod with the Vietnam service ribbon, fiftieth anniversary seal and period jungle camo pattern inlaid on the rod.
Alexander was part of the Army’s first elite Long-range reconnaissance unit. These specially-trained reconnaissance units of the United States Army were employed for clandestine operation for gathering direct human intelligence information deep within enemy territory. During the Late 1950’s, with the Cold War beginning to heat up, the US and NATO feared the possible outbreak of war with the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies. In the event such a situation arose, the US would need a unit capable of providing it with information on the situation deep in the enemy’s area. This information would be critical in any future conflict arising in Europe and became a critical component of the Vietnam War. The Long Range Reconnaissance program traces its origin to John’s unit.
Everyone in attendance was also inspired by the reading of the Silver Star Medal commendation of local Jasper, Texas resident Robert “Buck” Collins who as a Master Sergeant for Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha was ambushed by Anti Iraqi Forces on April 4th 2005 in Balad-Ruz Iraq. During the attack MSG Collins displayed extreme heroism and extreme bravery under fire that resulted in defeating the platoon sized enemy force. During the battle MSG Collins placed himself in an exposed position to draw fire away from his men and killed the enemy attackers before they could fire a shot. MSG Collins then ran into withering rifle, rocket propelled grenade and machine gun fire in total disregard of his own safety to recover a wounded soldier saving his life.
Saturday morning began with a special anglers’ prayer to give thanks for the wonderful natural resources that we are all free to use because of the sacrifices made by our military members and their families. The weather was hot with wind advisories in effect for most of the day. The student anglers found fish biting on morning top water baits and Carolina rigged plastics. Sunday was much of the same with many teams reporting a good frog bite and fish remaining shallow throughout the day.
“We would like to thank our sponsors, Lonnie Stanley and John Hale of Hale Lures for their continual support and to Ross Motor Sports of Lufkin” said Connie Sympson from Jackson Hill Marina. Other supporters and sponsors included Outdoor Freedom Network, Lews Tackle, Tournament Trail Ink and the American Legion posts 113 Lufkin, 387 San Augustine and VFW post 9313 San Augustine Texas.