or at least i think so!
right before gustav hit my grandfather came to town to be interviewed by wlbt for their veteran history project. they aired it last night on the 5 o'clock news and again today at noon. i'm not sure if it will be on tonight at 5, but possibly.
here is the piece they did on him...
Hugh Wardlaw was a senior in high school when he joined the National Guard in 1936. He stayed with the military as he went to college, honing his skills with the ROTC. He started with the 31st Infantry Division. In 1943, he was transferred to the 3rd Infantry and sent to northern Italy. "We broke out of the beach head at Anzio and then we fought in Rome and captured it." From Rome, he went on to France, working to clear out occupational forces. The locals were thrilled to see allied troops. "They welcomed us real well as we were going in." The troops moved north through France, into Germany and eventually Austria. "It was a heavy duty job. We had heavy casualties." As the fight in the European Theater drew to a close, Wardlaw and his fellow soldiers began liberating concentration camps, like the one at Dachau. "It was a terrible place to have to be. It was poor feeding and just a heck of a place to be. It was bad." As horrible as his surroundings were, he knew they were doing important work. "You felt you were really accomplished something at the time." After the war ended, Wardlaw went back to Mississippi State and got his degree in mechanical engineering. He stayed in the Reserves until 1978, when he retired as a colonel.
my grandfather received a purple heart, a combat infaltry badge and a silver and bronze star. my mom has been going through all of his old letters that he would send to my grandmother. for his 90th birthday my brother, clint, put them together in a book for everyone. he actually narrated the book and made a dvd for all of us to watch at the birthday party. my mom, clint and brooke worked so hard on this and it looks awesome! i wish you could read the letters....they are so sweet!
the intro of the book says:
enclosed are pictures and excerpts of letters sent home by this officer and humble gentelman to his wife. as a soldier in the army's 30th regiment of the 3rd infantry division, wardlaw was nicknamed the "ole man" due to his gray hair in his twenties. commanders would know how bad a situation was by asking the radio operator, "has the old man picked up his rifle yet?"
so i guess i get my early gray hair from my granddaddy and i'm ok with that.
here is a picture of my grandmother writing him letters. she has his picture framed on the desk. she worked in the pentagon in the war department when he was in the war.
there are lots of things i love about the letters he wrote. he didn't want to worry my grandmother, so he tried to talk about his beard and other things besides the war. you could tell how much they loved each other. he used every way possible to tell her how much he loved her! another thing i love is that he wrote out his division's song in one of the letters...
I wouldn't give a bag of beans to be a fancy pants marine I'd rather be a 'dog face' soldier like I am I wouldn't trade my old M1 for all the Navy's great big guns I'd rather be a 'dog face' soldier like I am On all the posters that I see they say the Army builds men So they're tearing me down to build me over again I'm just a 'dog faced' soldier with a rifle on my shoulder and i eat a 'kraut' for breakfast every day So feed me ammunition, keep me in the Third division Your 'dog-faced' soldier boy's ok.
here is the link to the article on wlbt's site... veteran's history project and here is the video they showed... hugh wardlaw
he looks good for 90!