Wendell Haire and the Invasion of Normandy -- By: David Bennett, Curator at the Port o’ Plymouth Museum


 (Photo courtesy of Virginia Haire.)


In May 1943, Wendell Haire, a native of Creswell, N.C., dropped out of high school to join the United States Navy. Haire chose the Navy because he thought it would offer him an adventure and he liked the uniform. Little did he know that one adventure would change his life forever.

At 10a.m., June 6, 1944, Haire was aboard a troopship off the coast of Normandy disembarking soldiers bound for Utah Beach. It was D-Day and the invasion of Normandy was on. Unfortunately, due to a lack of landing craft, the ship was unable to disembark all of its troops. The captain decided to move the ship close to shore to find an available landing craft and disembark the rest of the troops. Just after the vessel had unloaded its remaining soldiers it was struck by a German artillery shell on the starboard side below the waterline.

Four explosions rocked the ship instantly killing five of the crew and wounding everyone else. Wendell Haire suffered a broken leg and severe burns. He was also trapped in the galley by himself. All seemed lost until one man selflessly came to his rescue. An African American sailor by the name of Flynt carried Haire up to the main deck and put him in a lifeboat. They cast off right before the ship rolled over and sank. Then everything went black. When Haire woke up he was in a hospital bed in England. He was lucky to be alive. His ship had sunk in five minutes taking over half of the crew
with her. Haire’s war was over. He would spend the next three years in the hospital undergoing a total of seven surgeries for his shattered leg. For his wounds, he received the Purple Heart.

After the war, Wendell Haire married, had a family, and a made a career with the U.S. Postal Service. He was plagued, however, by his wounds for the rest of his life. He had sacrificed his health and comfort for his country.

Comments? E-Mail br549@modernmedianow.com
Wendell Haire and the Invasion of Normandy -- By: David Bennett, Curator at the Port o’ Plymouth Museum Wendell Haire and the Invasion of Normandy  -- By: David Bennett, Curator at the Port o’ Plymouth Museum Reviewed by kensunm on 7:00:00 PM Rating: 5

No comments:

Copyright AlbemarleTradewinds. Theme images by merrymoonmary. Powered by Blogger.