Bauguess’ No. 15 retired
by Justin Griffin
   A throng of fans and well-wishers was on hand in Moravian Falls for a ceremony held in memory of Maj. Larry J. Bauguess Jr. before Wilkes Central’s baseball game with Ashe County Tuesday night.
   Bauguess, a 1989 graduate of Wilkes Central who played baseball for the Eagles, was killed in Pakistan on May 14 along the Afghan border. Central retired his No. 15 on Tuesday.
   Bauguess, 36 when he died from small arms fire, was the highest ranking officer from Wilkes to die in combat since the since the Civil War and was one of two Wilkes men killed in the Middle East during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
   Tim Lackey, who coached baseball at Wilkes Central for 13 years, coached Bauguess and remembered Bauguess as the ultimate team player.
   “He wanted to do everything he could to help the team,” Lackey said. “He always said, ‘Coach, what can I do for the team?’ He played second base. He pitched and did anything else we needed him to do.”
   The ceremony also included remarks from current Wilkes Central Coach Terry Johnson and from Bauguess’ wife, Wesley Bauguess.
   “We just wanted to say thank you to everyone,” Wesley Bauguess said. “You have no idea what this has meant to our family. To remember Larry and to honor him the way you have, is to honor our family.”
   It was fitting that Wilkes Central retire the jersey of Bauguess, who loved the game of baseball, as Wesley Bauguess explained.
   “Larry took the game of baseball with him everywhere he went,” said Wesley Bauguess. “He would always take a bat, a ball and a glove with him. It was hard to get a bat in with all his other things, but Larry did. Throwing a baseball was a great stress relief to him. He loved the work he did and was proud to serve his country.”
   Lackey and Johnson presented Wesley Bauguess with the actual jersey that her late husband wore during his baseball career at Wilkes Central.
   Terry Bauguess, the younger brother of Maj. Larry John Bauguess, was overwhelmed by the community’s reaction and support for his family.
   “We’re continually humbled to be honored by this community in this way,” Terry Bauguess said. “In the past year, I’ve heard from people all around and I’ve heard him described with words like, ‘loving, faithful and dedicated.’ That was Larry.”
   Johnson spoke of the inspiration Bauguess has given his team on and off of the field.
   “I can’t tell you what this gentleman has meant to this program,” Johnson said. “As a team, we have talked about the importance of his sacrifice for this country and all of us. This young man gave more than anyone could give. He will be remembered as a man who did the unspeakable and did the unthinkable. He sacrificed his life for you and me and his family as well.”
   Members of Bauguess’ family were given plaques and his daughters, Ryann and Ellie Bauguess, were given silver necklaces with the No. 15 engraved and also threw out the game’s first pitch.
   The mistress of the ceremony was Adina Watkins. Larry Eldreth gave the invocation. Wilkes Central’s ROTC presented the colors and Tori Wyche sang the national anthem.­
   There’s been an effort in the community to name Wilkes Central’s baseball field after Bauguess. Mandy Brame Marxen and Keith Xavier-Hill Deveraux, both 1989 graduates of Wilkes Central, grew up with Bauguess and started the Maj. Larry J. Bauguess Jr. Memorial Fund Committee, a group whose objective is to remember Bauguess and get the baseball field at Wilkes Central named after him.
   “Larry was a great team player. He loved baseball more than anyone I’ve ever known,” Marxen said. “We felt like a field that’s unnamed currently should be named for a guy like Larry, who died doing something for all of us.”
   Deveraux wants to keep the memory of Bauguess alive.
   “He was always there if you were down, to give you an encouraging word,” Deveraux said. “He was well-liked and respected by all his classmates.­
   “I don’t see what the hesitation is for. When there is a life worth honoring, the powers that be should honor that life. The people who feel passionate about this matter need to speak to the powers that be and let them know how important it is that we honor this great man and name this field the Larry J. Bauguess Jr. Memorial Field.”
   Mrs. Marxen added: “His community should have something permanent with a little piece of him in it as well.”
   Bauguess was in Afghanistan as operations officer for the 4th Brigade Combat Team’s Special troops (headquarters) battalion of the 82nd Airborne Division, based at Fort Bragg, near Fayetteville.
   Bauguess was responsible for day-to-day operations of the battalion, which engages in humanitarian and peace-keeping efforts, while pursuing Taliban forces near the border with Pakistan.
   He had attended a meeting aimed at helping to ease tensions between warring Afghan and Pakistani factions on May 14 when he was shot twice and killed after entering an SUV in the compound where the meeting was out of the Pakistani town of Teri Mangal, near the Afghan border.
   NOTE: More information on the Maj. Larry John Bauguess Memorial Fund Committee can be found at