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Army History of Marvin B. Ratliff     Seay Military History     Ratliff Military History

Justin Ratliff's Family Lineage    Background on the Ratliffs    Background on the Seays


Background on the Ratliffs
My story of my Ratliff ancestors includes a story handed down of 4 brothers riding out of Virginia in the late 1700's and coming to settle in eastern Kentucky.  Two of the Ratliff brothers continued on to Washington State.

Floyd and Ollie Ratliff

Floyd Ratliff and Ollie B. Hale: Parents of 8 children including...
Marvin Bryan Ratliff was born on 7-1-1925 and died 8-20-2005 (in Middletown, OH) at the age of 80.  He served in W.W.II.  His first marriage was to Pauline Lawson.  Marvin and Pauline had two children: Marvin Wayne Ratliff and Joyce Gail Ratliff (Wright).  He then married Wilma W. Seay who was born 1-11-1925 (in Covington, Ky) and died 3-23-2002 (In Middletown, OH) at age 77.  Marvin and Wilma had one daughter, Doreen Ratliff, and a couple of children who did not survive child birth. 

My grandparents Marvin and Wilma Ratliff lived in Middletown, Oh and were very happily married for 45 years.  Marvin worked and retired from Aeronca where he worked as an aircraft machinist.  He took part in projects for the B-52 bomber, the Apollo Space missions and the Space Shuttle.  Marvin Ratliff was an avid hunter and expert marksmen.  He was also a member of the Masons and NRA.  He was also a neighborhood handy man who would fix just about anything for anyone.

Wilma Ratliff was the head nurse in the surgical department of Middletown Hospital until she was in a sever car accident caused by a drunk driver.  Wilma enjoyed cooking, baking, volunteering at Church, bringing food to the needy and making lap ropes (small blankets) to donate to area nursing homes.  Both Marvin and Wilma were very active in their Christian life, volunteered at their church at Titus Ave. Church of God and later Towne Blvd. Church of God both in Middletown.  Both were also foster parents to a number of children throughout their years together.

Doreen Kay Ratliff was in part named after her aunts on her mother (Wilma's) side which were Katharine Crowe and Dora (Crowe) Seay.

Justin Richard Ratliff born 4-15-1979 is son to Doreen Ratliff and Timothy Buckles. 

Floyd Ratliff's parents were Andrew T. "Andy" Ratliff, born 4-3-1859, died 1942 Menifee Co., Ky.  And Mary Susan Trimble, born 1865, married Andrew in 1882 and died 5-20-1916 Menifee Co., Ky.  Mary's mother was Mary Ellen Hughes and her father was James Harvey Trimble.

Andrew T. Ratliff's parents were Henry Ratliff b.3-5-1823 d.3-11-1907 his Father was James Ratliff and his Mother was Elizabeth Lawson Godsey.  Henry Ratliff married on 2-8-1854 to Nancy Caroline Nickell b.3-3-1834 d.10-11-1881 and her Father was John Nickell and her mother was Nancy Kash.

Henry and Nancy Ratliff had the following children: Emily (Stamper) Ratliff b.1850 d.6-10-1929 married 12-27-1865 to Benjamine Wells; James Kelse Ratliff b.4-10-1855 d.5-30-1916 married 4-10-1875 to Nancy Jane Dennis; Pauline Ratliff b.3-20-1855 d.12-30-1928 married 1877 to William Thomas Wells; Andrew T. Ratliff b.4-3-1859 d.1942 married Mary Susan Trimble; Levi T. Ratliff b.4-30-1861 d.4-16-1937 married 12-22-1881 to Grace Wells, Palmere Rangee; Eveline Ratliff b.1864 d.1-22-1945 married 12-29-1881 to Ben Roe Wells; John W. Ratliff b.1868 d.4-26-1926 married 1887 Maggie/Sarah/Margaret Sexton; William "Bill" Ratliff; b.1868 d.1928 married 1892 to Jousha "Rossie" Ledford; Sarah Bet Ratliff b.1875 d.1929, Ellis/Elsie Ratliff b.3-16-1876 d.10-10-1950 married 3-16-1876 to James William "Jim" Sutherland.

Andrew and Mary Ratliff had the following children: Will Ratliff b.1885 d.1964; Millard Ratliff b.1886  d.11-30-1961; Floyd Ratliff b.8-30-1888 d.2-12-1968; Leona "Onie" Ratliff b. 11-19-1889 d.3-5-1961; Pearl Ratliff b.12-19-1891 d.1972; Clarence Ratliff b.1901 d.1976

So my history is James Ratliff, father of Henry Ratliff, father of Andrew T. Ratliff, father of Floyd Ratliff, father of Marvin B. Ratliff, father of Doreen Ratliff, Mother of Justin R. Ratliff



Background on the Seays
The story of my Seay family history starts with Willie Tilford Seay, who was born Willie Tilford Sea.  Durring World War One (W.W.I) the United States War Department forced his name to be changed to Seay, with a Y, the reason that was explained is because the name "Sea" would cause a disruption to communications and the enemy might mistake his name for a special code.  A strange story, but one that appears to be true as his name did change.

Willie T. Seay married Dora Crow McPherson. 


  The Sea Coat of Arms.

 Origin:  England




Army Service of Marvin B. Ratliff

Marvin B. Ratliff reported for service to Fort Knox , KY October, 8th 1943

  Stationed at Fort Eustis , VA for Basic Training

  Stationed in Philadelphia , PA and entered Company C of the 601 Anti Aircraft Artillery regiment

  Stationed at Cape Cilvern , NJ 1944 where he boarded the Ile de France, the 3rd largest ship converted from a cruise ship to transport troops.  After enduring sea sickness with thousands of other young Americans his ship arrived in Glasgow , Scotland .  Stationed in Wales in Dover along the English Channel .





His C Company was made up of several colorful characters including Sergeant Paris, Corporal Greasy who was of German descent and could speak the language fluently and a Jewish private from NY City whose father was the owner of a large department store which supplied the US Army.

  Took part in protecting England from Luftwaffe air raids and shot down more V1 and V2 rockets than any other unit.

June 3rd prepared their artillery guns went to port of embarkation.  Was prepared as 6th wave to attack Normandy beaches but was held in reserve and not needed.


 Landed in Normandy after D-Day in July and turned 19 when he arrived in France .  They were creating the burial ground where the soldiers are buried at Normandy when he arrived.


601st Was assigned to the 57th under Clark .

601st Re-assigned to the 3rd Army under Patton for the breakthrough into Paris .

601st Re-assigned to the 1st Army under Bradley.

Then the 601st was re-tasked to defend airfields for the 8th Air Force.

He went through Belgium , Holland , Kemnet Germany , among many other places.

 He and other members of his unit also took part in the search for war criminals in Germany after the war ended.

During his service he was involved in five major conflicts and awarded four bronze stars and decorated with the American Theater Ribbon, European-African-Middle Eastern Theater Ribbon and Good Conduct and Victory Medal. 

[The Distinguished Service Medal]



He left the service with the rank of Corporal and stayed in the Reserves throughout part of the Korean War and helped train troops in  C company 141st Tank Battalion at Ft. Campbell , KY. He was awarded the ERC Distinguished Service Medal for gallantry in action beyond the call of duty and at risk to his own life.  His actions prevented two tank battalions from firing upon on another saving countless lives.

  He was also a driver for many staff officers including one Major who wanted a ride and asked, “Son, can you drive this jeep?” to which Marvin replied “Yes, Sir”.  And the Major said, “Well, do it then.”  And with that Marvin said, “Yes, Sir.” He put the petal to the metal and drove off in the jeep and left the Major standing there. He did not go overseas for the Korean War.

      Marvin B. Ratliff in Grade School.


              Wilma Seay

Wilma Seay (Marvin's Wife and mother to Doreen) also served her country during W.W. II.  She became a nurse, through an Army program to train nurses and was assigned the rank of Lieutenant, though she was not actually in the Army.  She was not needed overseas when she graduated but she did excel as a nurse stateside in the veterans hospital in Indiana

Sanford Seay, circa W.W.II

Wilma Seay's brother William Sanford Seay also served in W.W.II in the Pacific and was stationed in Japan.

Willie Seay, circa W.W.I

Previous Seay ancestors participation in the military included Willy T. Sea who served in the first World War.  His birth recorders shows that his last name was spelled SEA.  However the Army told him they were going to add a Y to his last name because the enemy would think SEA was a code name.  Because of this SEAY became the family name, as it was changed by the government.


Ratliff Military History:

Please Note: This history is written by Justin Ratliff and placed in reference to Marvin Bryan Ratliff.  So when Older Brother is used, that means the person is the Older Brother of Marvin Bryan Ratliff.  Also please note that history of many of the Ratliff's listed here can be found at the website thanks the the efforts of several other Ratliff family members.


Wife, Wilma W. Ratliff (Seay), served as a VA nurse for the veterans returning home from WWII

Older Brother, Alva Edison Ratliff reported for service in December 1942.  He saw combat as a technical 5HT Grade in Company B of the 118th Medical Battalion as an ambulance orderly in the Southern Philippines, Luzon, New Guinea and Bismarck-Archipelago.  Honorably discharged October 1945.  Edison was decorated with the Asiatic-Pacific Theater Ribbon, 4 Bronze Stars and 1 Bronze Arrowhead, Philippine Liberation Ribbon with 2 Bronze Stars and the Good Conduct Ribbon.

  Edison in Grade School



Older Brother, Willard C. Ratliff, served July 20th, 1942 and was honorably discharged November 27th, 1945.  He served in the 115th Battalion of Combat Engineers in Southern Philippines, Luzon , Bismarck-Archipelago.

  Willard in Grade School

Brother-In-Law, Sanford William Seay, served in the Pacific and was stationed in Japan WW II.

  Brother-In-Law, Earl Taulbee, husband of Eunice (Ratliff) Taulbee, served in WWII

  Cousin, Paul Ratliff, served as a medic in North Africa , Sicily and Italy in WWII 

   Paul recounted how it was hard to trust the Arab people in their area as they most often would want to work in the American camp and trade with them during the day and the same people would try to kill them at night.

   Paul took part at the landing in Anzio , Italy which became a proving ground to the tactics of the D-Day invasion.  Paul Ratliff’s memories are of a rough go during the landing while is unit sustained heavy artillery fire.  Paul retold the story of the landing troops being pinned downed by Waffen SS divisions which were the mechanized artillery arm of the Nazi SS storm troops, in other words the best of the best.  At long last the word came down; the sky was going to be filled with parachute troops but not to fear they would be American Air Borne Rangers.  The sky became dark with parachutes.  Paul heard the Waffen SS march out from their bunkers down the city streets of Anzio . 

    Soon after words he heard the sound of gun fire and horrible screams of the wounded and troops running in disarray.  He feared the worst had happened to the Air Borne and his unit was low on ammunition.  But this time it was not the Americans screaming and running, it was the SS.  The SS were running and stealing or begging for Italian civilian cloths.  They wanted out of their SS uniforms.  A few hours later, Paul found out why.  The Waffen SS troops were found pinned up to all the doors where they had once painted a Star of David which signified a Jew once lived there before being taken to a concentration camp.  The SS were ran of town that day.

Younger Brother, Albert Herald Ratliff, served in the Korean War

  Cousin, Roger (Bud) Ratliff, served during the Korean War

  Father-In-Law, Willy Tilford Seay (Sea), served in WWI overseas and was forced to change his family last name from Sea to Seay by the US Government.

  Son, Marvin Wayne Ratliff, served in Vietnam 1967-1969

  Nephew, Billy Yocum, joined the Navy and served in Vietnam  

  Nephew-In-Law, Robert Lavangie, served in Vietnam

  Cousin, Billy H. Ratliff, son of Harrison Ratliff, served and died in Vietnam 1970

  Grandson, (Name not listed) serves in the Navy as an officer, graduated from VMI (Virginia Military Academy), the rest of his military service is not published as he is an active officer in United States Navy.

Distant Cousin, Nathan Hale, served as a spy during the American Revolutionary War, worked directly for George Washington and was discovered and hung to death by the British at the age of 21, his famous last words were, “I regret that I have but one live to give for my country.”  His death caused a total reformation of the spy business and a new methodology was created, a method which is still used to this day to gather human intelligence.  His statue stands outside the front entrance of the United States Central Intelligence Agency headquarters.

Distant Relative, Commander of a Division for One Charge, American Civil War

General Trimble

Major General Isaac R. Trimble, a native Baltimorean, had accompanied the Army of Northern Virginia northward to Gettysburg without a command. General Trimble had served under "Stonewall" Jackson in the Shenandoah Valley and at Second Manassas where he was wounded. By the time he was again fit for duty, there was nothing for an officer of his rank to command. So, he rode with the army attached to General Ewell's headquarters. He was assigned to lead General William Dorsey Pender's Division on July 3rd after Pender had been seriously wounded on July 2. Trimble would not have much luck during his short tenure in command of the division. He was seriously wounded near the Emmitsburg Road during Pickett's Charge and relinquished command with the remark: "If the troops (I) had the honor to command today for the first time cannot take that position, all hell can not take it!" That night, the general's leg was amputated in a Confederate field hospital. He was captured when the Confederate army retreated and convalesced in a Federal hospital for prisoners in Philadelphia . Though General Trimble was exchanged in 1865, his career as a field officer was finished. After the close of the war, he returned to Baltimore and lived a quiet life until his death in 1888.





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Last modified:
January 25, 2013