Veteran Memorial: Milford Gay Wiggins

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(Photo from findagrave.com)

Milford Gay Wiggins was born September 25, 1923 in Cullman County. His parents were Arnold Henry and Flossie Minerva Wiggins and they resided in Holly Pond. At the age of 19, Milford enlisted in the United States Army at Ft. McClellan. He served during World War II and was attached to 172nd Infantry Regiment, 43rd Infantry Division. 

Wiggins fought in the Pacific Theater in the campaign on New Guinea. Conditions on New Guinea, annual rainfall amounts can be as much as 300 inches per year, were dismal in the jungle area where most ground fighting took place. In an excerpt from history.army.mil, one veteran described conditions by saying, “It rains daily for nine months and then the monsoon starts.” 

The 43rd Division were sent to New Zealand for a period of rest and rehabilitation before returning to New Guinea on July 19, 1944.

On December 28, 1944 Pfc Milford Wiggins was listed as Missing in Action in Papua, New Guinea. He was declared deceased on December 29, 1945 and his body was never recovered. He received the Bronze Star and is now memorialized at Manila American Cemetery and Memorial Tablets of the Missing in Manila, Philippines. 

Wiggins is also memorialized in his hometown at Holly Pond Cemetery, and honored on the World War II monument at Cullman’s Veterans Memorial Park. 

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Christy Perry

christy@cullmantribune.com