Waynedale resident, Donald W. Waldron, was born August 21, 1925 in Hazelton, Pennsylvania and graduated from high school when he was seventeen. The year was 1943 and WWII was in full swing.
Don was making his living working in a machine shop but, most people in the area worked in the Pennsylvania coal mines. He received his draft notice in late 1943 and after his basic training was assigned to 1075th Engineers. His tool room experience contributed to his assignment to the USS Glenn Jerrold Griswold, a ship assigned the task of laying piers for the D-Day Invasion.
Earlier, Waldron’s brother Private First Class Jennings Waldron had been drafted into the Army. Both thought they would be going to Europe and they hoped to keep in contact, even though the chances of them hooking up would be slim.
Waldron was shipped out on D-Day, June 6, 1944 with his ship headed for Cherbourg, France. Their task was to lay cement piers on the beach to allow for heavy equipment to be off-loaded for the invasion. They also had a dive team to clear mines and they carried depth charges to rid the waters of the German U-Boats. There were 12-dozen men aboard ship that specialized in repairs and serviced generators for the invasion.
Waldron remembers expending all their depth charges before proceeding to their other duties at Cherbourg. He felt lucky that his group was not involved in the heavy fighting that occurred at Normandy. Operation Overload was the code name for the allied invasion.
The D-day forces deployed from bases along the south coast of England, the most important of these being Portsmouth. The battle for Normandy continued for more than two months, with campaigns to establish, expand, and eventually break out of the allied beachheads, and concluded with the liberation of Paris in August 1944.
Over sixty years later, the Normandy invasion still remains the largest seaborne invasion in history, having involved almost three million troops crossing the English Channel.
In Southern France after the invasion Waldron was surprised to find that his brother Jennings and two of his cousins that were all drafted at different times and had served in different places, were all together in the same place in France. All of the men survived the war without injuries and they were able to stay in contact with each other during this time.
Waldron was discharged on February 18, 1946. He received the Distinguished Unit Badge, European African Middle Eastern Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal, and the WWII Victory Medal.
After the war, Waldron returned to his home in Hazelton, Pennsylvania where he began his career with United Airlines. He married his first wife while in Hazelton and they had two sons Gary and Mark.
After separation from his first wife he was sent with United Airlines to work at what is now Fort Wayne International Airport.
Waldron met his current wife, Corrine, at United Airlines and they have been happily married for over 20 years. They both retired in the early 80s and the Waldron’s still reside in Waynedale.
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