In last week’s edition of The News, we incorrectly stated that Mr. Ruben Odle was the last surviving World War II veteran in Wayne County. While Mr. Odle was indeed the oldest WWII veteran in our county, there are several more of these honorable and courageous WWII veterans in Wayne County.
We are requesting that family members or friends of these surviving heroes in our county submit the veterans’ names, photos, and history of military service to The News for future publication. We want to honor our veterans as much as possible, and let our readers know more about these fine gentlemen who served their country all those years ago.
This week we are featuring Mr. Jay F. Wright of Collinwood, Tennessee. Below is Mr. Wright’s military history submitted by his family:
“Jay F. Wright was drafted into the United States Army on January 1, 1943. He traveled to Ft. Oglethorpe, Georgia, and was processed into the Army on January 13. From there he went to Camp Shelby, Mississippi, for basic training and then to Ft. McClellan, Alabama, for Advanced Infantry Training. From Ft. McClellan he went to Ft. Knox, Kentucky, where a new infantry division was being formed, the 75th Infantry.
At Ft. Knox he was assigned to Headquarters Company 289th Infantry Regiment of the 75th Infantry Division. From Ft. Knox his division traveled to England for additional training before crossing the English Channel and joining United States forces in France.
The 75th Infantry Division took part in three major battles: the Battle in the Ardennes at the beginning of the Battle of the Bulge, the Colmar Pocket Battle, and the Battle for the Rhur. It was in the Battle of the Ardennes just outside of Bastogne, Belgium, on December 26, 1944, that Pvt. Wright was wounded and awarded the Purple Heart.
Other awards given to Pvt. Wright were the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Marksman Rifle Badge, National Defense Medal, Good Conduct Medal, and the European Campaign Medal with three bronze stars representing the three major battles that involved his division.
After the war ended, he was honorably discharged at Camp Atterbury, Indiana, on March 13, 1946.”
Mr. Wright is now 93 years old, and resides in an assisted living facility with his wife Effie. He was and will remain a true hero for his family, his community, and his country.