Talmadge Alphin, Jr. was a founding member of Colonial Williamsburg’s Fife and Drum Corps, formed in 1958. Remembered as the first bass drummer, his legacy is alive and well within this company of outstanding young musicians. His story doesn’t end there. After graduating from Williamsburg’s James Blair High School in 1961, Alphin studied journalism before enlisting in the U.S. Army at the onset of the Vietnam War.
By the summer of 1968, 25-year-old Staff Sergeant Alphin was a “Green Beret” serving in Da Nang as part of the elite 5th Special Forces Group. He was on duty in the Tactical Operations Center early on the morning of August 23 when their base was overrun by North Vietnamese. Alphin was killed along with fifteen of his fellow Green Berets in an attack now mourned as one of the darkest milestones in Special Forces history. Shortly thereafter, his remains came home and were interred with full Honors in Williamsburg Memorial Park.
2021 Memorial Service
Memorial Day weekend 2021 will see a celebration of the tragically short life of Talmadge Alphin, Jr., an inspiration to generations of children participating in Colonial Williamsburg Fife & Drum Corps. The ceremony, which will take place at Williamsburg Memorial Park situated at 130 King William Drive, will include a formal unveiling of Alphin’s newly renovated grave marker.
Talmadge H. Alphin, Jr. Award
Open to graduating Seniors, the annual Talmadge H. Alphin, Jr. Award is amongst the most prestigious given to Corps members. Recipients receive a scholarship and their name engraved on the award trophy on permanent exhibition in the Fifes & Drums Building. To win this accolade, applicants must write an essay discussing the benefits and growth experienced as a leading member of the Corps. Since 1993, the winners have learned, practiced, and perpetuated the very same virtues Alphin exemplified, and which make the Fife & Drum Corps so important to the Colonial Williamsburg family.