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Curtis Morris Ashton was born in Rotan, Fisher County, Texas, the son of Alpha Omega Coan and Richard Walter Ashton. He was the youngest of six children. His family moved to Sweetwater when he was seven years old and he attended Sweetwater Schools through the sophomore year. Before his junior year, he moved to Tye and lived with his older brother, Troy and his family. He attended school there. He moved back to Sweetwater and dropped out of high school his senior year and joined the Navy in January 1965. He completed the requirements for his GED in the Navy.
He completed his recruit training at the Naval Recruit Training Depot at San Diego, California and then completed training as an electrician’s mate. He served with the fleet and served off the coast of North Vietnam at Yankee station in 1966. After his tour with the fleet, he applied for Seal Training and was accepted. He completed the training in June 1967 and then married Stephanie Huddleston, his childhood sweetheart from Sweetwater, July 15, 1967.
He completed a voluntary tour in Vietnam as a member of the 7th Seal Platoon from October 1967 through June 1968. He returned for a second tour with the 7th Seal Platoon from October 1968 through May 1969. He re-enlisted on June 15, 1969 and was promoted to AE1, E-6. He began his third voluntary tour on December 12, 1969 and was a member of Seal Team 2. He had completed over 150 SEAL missions in his two previous tours and was the recipient of two purple hearts and many awards for valor. According to a SEAL buddy, he was loyal, fearless and was deadly with a Stoner Machine Gun. He went anywhere at anytime to complete a mission. To his buddies, he was known as “Litl Ashton.” He died from multiple fragmentary wounds on December 27, 1969 near Ben Hoa during a training exercice with South Vietnamese personnel. It was felt that the incident was hostile as the trainee was perceived to have been a V.C. sympathizer and mishandled a live grenande and it exploded, killing Curtis and several trainees. He had been back in country a little over 2 weeks.
He was buried in the Garden of Memories Cemetery in Sweetwater with full military honors. He was survived by his wife, Stephanie of Virginia Beach, Virginia; his parents of Sweetwater, his sisters: Helen Tommie, of Colorado Spring, Colorado; Carol Nezat of Fort Walton, Florida and his brothers: Troy of Glen Burnie, Maryland; Gene of Lovington, New Mexico; and Gayland of Pleasanton, Texas.
His father passed away in 1986 and his mother in 1995, they are buried near him. His sisters, Tommie and Carol and his brothers, Troy and Gayland are now deceased. His wife, Stephanie Nelson, married a mutual friend of Curtis and her from Sweetwater. She lives in McDade, Texas.
AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Navy Seal Badge, Underwater Demolition Badge, Silver Star, Bronze Star with “V” and 2 Gold Stars, Purple Heart with 2 Gold Stars, Navy Commendations’ Medal with “V” and Gold Star, Navy Achievement Medal with “V”, Navy Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Gold Palm, Vietnam Campaign Medal
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