Lexington VA facilities to be renamed

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WTVQ) – The two campuses of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in Lexington will be renamed to honor two Kentucky heroes.

The VA health care facility on Veterans Drive will be the Troy Bowling Campus, and the facility on Leestown Road will be known as the Franklin R. Sousley Campus.

The legislation to change the names was introduced by Republican Congressman Andy Barr, of Lexington.  The bill passed the U.S. House on Tuesday and the U.S. Senate on Thursday.  It now heads to President Trump’s desk for his signature.

“We can never repay Private First Class Franklin Sousley and Private Troy Bowling for their service to our nation, but renaming these VA campuses in their honor will ensure their memory and sacrifices are never forgotten,”  said Congressman Barr.   “I applaud the work of the Sixth District Veterans Coalition for bringing this idea to my attention, House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Phil Roe for his support in moving the bill through the House, and Leader McConnell for ensuring swift action in the Senate to deliver this important legislation to the President’s desk.”

Private Troy Bowling served in the United States Marines during the campaign against Japan during World War II. His unit was among the first to land on Iwo Jima, a Pacific island on which more than 6,800 United States service members gave their lives to secure.  After the war, Private Bowling devoted more than 78,000 hours of volunteer service at the Lexington, Kentucky VA Medical Center over more than 66 years.  He was an active member of the Disabled Veterans of America, serving in multiple leadership positions including Kentucky State Commander. He received the Lifetime Service Achievement Award from the Department of Veterans Affairs, and is a member of the Kentucky Veterans Hall of Fame.  Private Bowling passed away in 2017.

Private First Class Franklin Sousley of Fleming County, Kentucky also fought in the Battle of Iwo Jima.  Shortly after American forces secured Mount Suribachi, Pfc. Sousley along-side five other fellow services members, raised a large U.S. flag so it could be seen over the island.  An iconic photograph taken while raising the U.S. flag, led to an immortalized symbol of the American bravery, perseverance, and sacrifice endured by members of the U.S. Armed Forces during the intense battles of World War II. Less than a month later, Pfc. Sousley was killed in combat by a Japanese sniper on March 21, 1945.  His remains were laid to rest at the Elizaville Cemetery in Fleming County in 1947.


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