Eastland, Texas' Own, Clifton A. Horn
The small rural Texas town of Eastland is the home of Clifton A. Horn who was born there 92 years ago on October 24th. After graduating from high school in 1943, he worked in the shipyards building destroyer escorts for the U.S. Navy in Orange, Texas. In 1944, the Colonel, as he is known to all, was inducted into the Army Air Corps as an aviation cadet training to be a multiengine pilot. However, World War II ended before he was able to serve.
The Colonel returned to Texas to attend the University of Houston where he served as a judge on the Student Court, as president of his fraternity, and as a member of the student government. Colonel Horn worked to establish the ROTC program at the University of Houston and was in the first class of members who graduated from the program at the University of Houston. His portrait still hangs on the wall in the ROTC office.
While attending the University of Houston, Clifton was a volunteer that fought the fire caused by a fertilizer explosion on the S.S. Grandcamp, a French freighter. The explosion obliterated Texas City, killing nearly 600 people, and lifting ships directly out of the water. The Texas City Disaster of April 1947 was the largest non-nuclear explosion killing hundreds and destroying the docks.
After graduating from the University of Houston, he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant and called to active duty. The Colonel then served in the 7th Field Artillery of the Big Red One 1st Infantry, attended Basic Officers Course, and then served as a Company Commander in Korea’s 142nd Quartermasters Battalion, then served as a Group Commander at Ft. Bragg. He served all over Germany, Europe, Japan and the United States. During this time, he also graduated from the United States Army War College.
Colonel Horn’s decorated career continued as he served as an advisor to the Vietnamese Army during his first tour of Vietnam. During his second tour, he commanded a firebase as a battalion commander in the 1st Cavalry Division Airmobile. After his final tour in Vietnam, Colonel Horn was transferred to Washington, D.C. to serve in the Immediate Office of the Assistant to the Secretary of the Army. It was during this time that he was promoted to full Colonel.
In 1972, he was transferred to Germany as the Commander of the US Army Procurement Agency Europe. The Colonel retired in 1978 after honorably serving his nation for over 30 years. He can now be found most days on the golf course or playing gin or poker in the locker room of the Atascocita Country Club. Clifton’s daughter-in-law, Tonia Horn, a United States Air Force Veteran, is a member of my Texas staff. For all of his world travels, the Colonel is happiest when surrounded by his wife of 62 years, three children, seven grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.
Happy golfing, Colonel Horn. Your bravery and courage has helped make our nation a safer place.
And that is just the way it is.