Photo Gallery | Juliette Man Triple War Veteran
Small town Juliette in Monroe County is famous as the site where the movie "Fried Green Tomatoes" was filmed.
But among town locals, a real legend lives just a few miles up the road.
First Sgt. Charles A. "Hoot" Gibson has lived in Juliette since the 1980's, after a military career spanning three wars -- World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.
Gibson, who was born in 1929 in Tennessee's coal country, enlisted towards the end of WWII in 1945 by lying about his age. The 16-year-old went up to a skeptical recruiter who asked for his father's signature. "I said 'my father's dead,'" Gibson says. "And he said 'well, you get your mother's signature. And I said okay, so I went around the corner and put her name on that thing."
The forged signature sent Gibson to Germany as a teenager. He says some of the older officers suspected he was underage, but took him under their wing and had him driving tanks. Much of the fighting was over by then, but his group helped liberate a concentration camp.
"I remember riding a tank over top of one of them fences and tearing it down," Gibson recalls. He says after seeing the condition of the prisoners in the wintertime, "I don't know how they survived."
Gibson continued serving in the Army in Korea, and two tours in Vietnam, where he received a Purple Heart.
In between tours, while recovering at a hospital in Georgia, he happened to get an assignment as an ROTC instructor at Lanier High School in Macon, an experience he calls "the best three years I ever spent in my whole life."
He also started a family and has four sons who all went to college.
His experience in Macon made in fall in love the Middle Georgia area and ultimate choose to live them once his service was up.
"This is the house that I thought about when I was laying in those wet leaves in Vietnam," he says. "This is the place where I would lay there and dream about having a good place, a warm place to live, and a nice place in the state of Georgia."
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