John William Haynie, my father, was born on June 5, 1924, in Franklin, North Carolina. He died on September 9, 1984, in Center, Alabama, at the age of 60. He entered the Army on March 16, 1944, when he was 19 years old and served in World War II, Company G 157th Infantry 45th Infantry Division. He served in Vietnam in the year 1967 and served with the 199th Light Infantry Brigade. He retired at the rank of Captain after 26 years of service in 1969. Some of his assignments after the war were: Heidelberg, Germany, Fort McPherson, Georgia, Fort Monroe, Virginia, Orleans, France, Vietnam, and Fort Benning, Georgia.
Below is an article in the Asheville Citizen-Times newspaper published in 1944 which talks of an action in World War II, with Company G 157th Infantry 45th Infantry Division (the Thunderbirds) that includes my father.
Haynie Gives Alarm, Many Jerries Sadder
For a little while the Thunderbirds in the little house on the hill were looking down the Jerries’ throats – but only figuratively. There was no doubt in anyone’s mind that the Krauts had the drop on them.
The assault company, G, trudged along the road. Directly behind them was 200 yards of blacktop and nothing else. Then came the support companies and a few tanks.
To the right of the road was a little house on high ground. Tech. Sgt. Gene Thompson had set up a cannon company OP there, and St. Sgt. Paddy Williams, Durham, N.C., was up there looking around for the mortars. Sgt. Louis Wims, Attleboro, Mass., and Pvt. John W. Haynie, Ashville, N.C., went up to help.
One of the four men spotted a couple of figures coming around the bend of the hill below them. No one was quite sure if they were German, but the suspense didn’t last long. Around the bend came about 50 more figures, and there was no mistaking them this time. They were Krauts.
They headed for the open stretch of blacktop, intending to cut off Co. G from the support that followed. A few of them stopped long enough to set up a mortar.
The four Thunderbirds looked down at the Germans. The 50-odd Germans looked back up at the Thunderbirds.
Then Private Haynie made a dash. Across open terrain under the observations of all the approaching Krauts he sped to warn the companies coming up.
He made it. His information was relayed to our mortars and machine guns and the Germans were pinned down before they could get off more than a couple of rounds of mortar ammo. Later when Co. A cleaned up the sector, over 70 prisoners were taken.
The photograph on the left is Private John W. Haynie, age 19, May 1944 before leaving for WWII, assigned to the 45th Infantry Division.
The photograph on the right is Captain John W. Haynie serving in Vietnam 1967 with the 199th Light Infantry Brigade. He lost a lot of weight while there. He was 43 years old when this picture was taken.