Henry Wade, 91, Served In Navy During WWII And In Army Reserve During Korean War
BY KRISTEN BUCKLES
A private man who rarely speaks of his time in service received a considerable surprise on Sunday when more than a half-dozen women of the Greene County Quilters filed into his Greeneville home.
They presented him with a "Quilt of Valor."
Henry Wade, 91, served in the U.S. Navy duing World War II from 1942 to 1946, spending most of his time in the South Pacific, around Japan and Okinawa.
Wade served on the LSM-LSMR 117, a landing ship, as an engineering officer who oversaw a team of diesel mechanics.
"I had 18 men, all good men," he said. "Mechanics -- they could fix anything.
"I never heard a single soldier in the service ever complain the entire time I was in it," he said.
The group served through the end of the war, staying another eight-to-10 months overseas to help consolidate equipment.
By the time they made it back to San Francisco in the spring of 1946, Wade said their ship was torn beyond repair from the battering of the waves.
Many seamen remained so seasick during their service that they would dramatically lose weight, he recalled.
In fact, at one point he saw his own brother, Charles Wade, a skipper on another vessel, and did not even recognize him at first. His brother only weighed 97 pounds from the constant sickness, he said.
Henry Wade went on to the University of Tennessee, where he had planned to study medicine but instead focused on engineering.
There, he met his then-future wife, Lillian.
In 1951, he joined the U.S. Army Reserve and served as a captain on an Army vessel in Cuba, training personnel to be small craft operators during the Korean War.
After 17 months in the Army Reserve, he returned to civilian life, entering the telephone industry.
He retired in New York state in 1979 as vice president of Highland Telephone.
From there, he moved his family -- his wife, Lillian, a son and two daughters -- to Greene County, where he farmed for a few years on West Allens Bridge Road.
On Sunday, the Greene County Quilters, in coordination with his wife, surprised him with the quilt.
It was made by a similar group, the Village Quilters, of Loudon, and featured a special printed patch that marked the quilt as a "Quilt of Valor."
"Each quilt is made with prayer, love, respect and admiration for your service," said Greene County Quilters member Gail Burnett.
According to the Quilts of Valor organization's website, http://www.qovf.org, the mission of the group is to "cover all combat service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor."
Henry Wade was clearly touched by the presentation, thanking the group for their hard work in creating such an intricate quilt on his behalf.
"It is very, very important to me to have something like this that people have worked so hard on for me," he said.
Cash donations to help the Greene County Quilters with their quilting projects for veterans can be mailed to: Greene County Quilters, 190 Greenbriar. Mosheim, TN 37818.
Tax-deductible donations to the "Quilt of Valor" program can be sent to: Quilts of Valor Foundation, P.O. Box 728, Lebanon, NH 037660.
Persons who would like to request the donation of a quilt to a veteran may contact Dennis Taylor, regional coordinator of Quilts of Valor, in Knoxville at 865/310-3625 or by emailing him at (dennis.taylor@QOVF.org)