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Sgt Dorman D. “Dee” Hughes

Photo added by Judi Fryer

Sgt Dorman D. “Dee” Hughes

  • Birth 9 Mar 1924 New Columbus, Owen County, Kentucky, USA
  • Death 19 Sep 1950 South Korea
  • Burial Nicholasville, Jessamine County, Kentucky, USA
  • Plot D, 0, 208
  • Memorial ID 812493

B: Dorman D. Hughes on March 09, 1924 in New Columbus, (Owen County) Kentucky to Dannie Hughes (1888-1968) and Birdie Agnes Lucas (1895-1982), the youngest of four.

Siblings: Zelma Lillian Hughes (Barnhill, Crowe), William (Bill) Lee Hughes, Anna Mae Hughes (Fryer).

M: Vera Jean Lemmons, daughter of Viola King (Wade).

Children: Brenda Gail Hughes (12/13/1948) and David Dodd Hughes Wade (01/24/1951).

D: September 19, 1950 in the Republic of Korea, South Korea, near Waegwan.

Uncle Dee attended Lexington Jr. High School (Lexington, KY) and graduated from Henry Clay High Shool. He was a member of Ashland Avenue Baptist Church. He was an avid roller skater at local skating rinks, including Scotty's Roller Rink on Main Street in Lexington, KY.

Dorman was employed for Southeastern Bus Lines (Greyhound) in Lexington when he decided to join the Army Air Force in November of 1942. He visited his wife in Ohio and returned to Lexington before reporting to Louisville, Ky for his physical, then was sent to the Army at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana where at 130 pounds with a 30" chest and a 28" waist he was sworn into the Army on December 6, 1942.

He was shipped out on December 10, 1942 heading for an unknown location. After a '40-hour train trip' he and approximately 200 buddies arrived in Miami Beach, Florida with overcoats, heavy woolen uniforms and long underwear. On this exceptionally hot day in Miami they went five miles to the beach to discover where they would be living. Expecting tents or barracks they 'got stuck' in 'hotels that used to rent for $15-$50 a day'. Dorman did admit it was 'nice' and 'not 50 feet from stepping into the Atlantic Ocean', but lamented that 'it just wasn't like Army life'. He sympathized with 'those poor guys in the Salamans or on Guadacanal lying in foxholes, while we were living in hotels with separate baths and innerspring mattresses and plenty of freedom'.

After the Army paid them $10.00 to get toiletries, etc, they began basic training. On the 12th day they went to the rifle range and for the first time in his life my uncle 'found himself back of the firing end of a rifle'. After shooting in rifle in 'all sorts of positions' he hit 17 out of 25 in the bulls eye. He never learned if that was good or bad, but he 'felt proud of himself' - but most of all he 'wished the bullseye of that target had been one of those yellow devils that thinks he can get out the trap we are keeping for him'. On the last day of basic training my uncle fired a Thompson Submachine Gun at a cardboard figure of a man and got 20 out of 25 shots in 'vital spots of the body'. His training experiences continued including 'getting gigged for eating coconuts during a lecture' and having to 'mop the hotel lobby'.

Under 'Gifts I have Received for Which I Want to Express Appreciation' my uncle wrote in his diary 'My Life in the Service' this:
Gift: Several things
When Received: Most any time
From Whom: Mother

He lists the 'Places I Have Been' as:
Carlsbad, New Mexico; Scott Field Illinois, Camp Kilmer (?), New Jersey; Brooklyn Navy Yards, where he caught an English ship to Liverpool, Enland being 'escorted through the enemy sub ridden waters of the North Atlantic by a destroyer to Liverpool'. Then to several other cities in England, and on to Belgium, Holland, and Germany, and Austria and Chezkoslavakia.

After many more experiences and various locales, including being wounded in Germany during World War II, Dorman was discharged from the army on October 31, 1945 at Ft. Jackson S.C. at the rank of Private having 'served under good conduct for three years' He received a Purple Heart for wounds received in Germany and was recommended for a Bronze Star for bravery in action in Germany. At discharge he was wearing these medals: Purple Heart, MJC (?) ribbons, Good Conduct Medal, ETO (?) ribbon, Victory Medal, Occupation of Germany, and VFW medals.

The following January 1946 my uncle re-enlisted in the Army and was stationed at Fort Knox, Kentucky. On July 17, 1950 he was sent to South Korea as a member of 70th Heavy Tank Battalion, 24th Infantry Division; however, upon arrival he was attached to the Company A, 5th Regiment of 1st Calvary Division.

My uncle was wounded slightly on August 16, but returned to action with the tank unit.

He was killed in action while fighting the enemy in South Korea near Waegwan on September 19, 1950.

Sgt. Hughes was the Bow Gunner in an M43E8 Sherman Tank which was the lead tank on a mission with Company G to support the infantry of Company G who had been fired on by the enemy. They believed all the enemy tanks had been 'taken out', but one remained camouflaged in a bombed out house. When the tank following Sgt. Hughes' tank was hit by enemy fire from the remaining enemy tank, their tank was damaged and could no longer be steered. Sgt. Hughes in the lead tank was instructed to open their emergency hatch to take onboard the soliders from the disabled tank.

The lead tank driver, a 17-year-old enlistee, Pvt. Robert (Buddy) Worley, was in the process of backing up their tank on verbal directions being supplied from the soldiers outside waiting to board (their radio transmission had previously been knocked out) when Sgt. Hughes' tank took enemy fire in the front. The shots pierced the tank near the right light bracket striking Sgt. Hughes in the right side of his neck and causing multiple additional mortal wounds as well.

Other soldiers in the tank along with Sgt. Hughes and Pvt. Worley were Clifford Fencher, gunner; Lt. Kelly, tank commander; and the loader (name unknown). They were not injured.

As a point of irony, another bow gunner, whose tank had been out of commission for a few days, offered to take Sgt. Hughes' place on the mission that evening. However, my uncle Dee refused to be replaced on the mission.

Sergeant Hughes was awarded the Purple Heart, The Korean Service Medal, The United Nations Service Medial, the National Defense Service Medial and the Korean War Service Medal.

Sgt. Hughes' body arrived in Lexington Wednesday, July 25, 1951 at 9:35 a.m. over the Southern Railroad and was taken to Kerr Brother Funeral Home. Funeral Services were held Thursday, July 26, 1951 with the Rev. Leon E. Gilbert, major, Chaplin Corps of the local veteran's hospital. The Veterns of Foreign Wars conducted military honors at the gravesite.

July 26, 1951 Sergeant Dorman D. Hughes, a brave man who wanted to serve his country and who never saw his son, who was unborn at the time my uncle's death, was laid to rest in the Camp Nelson National Cemetery in Jessamine County Kentucky.


Excerpted from multiple Lexington-Herald articles (dates unknown); my Uncle Dee's cherished personal Military Diary, and from the much appreciated shared verbal recollections of Robert (Buddy) Worley.


  • Created by: Judi Fryer
  • Added: 25 Feb 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 812493
  • Judi Fryer
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Sgt Dorman D. “Dee” Hughes (9 Mar 1924–19 Sep 1950), Find A Grave Memorial no. 812493, citing Camp Nelson National Cemetery, Nicholasville, Jessamine County, Kentucky, USA ; Maintained by Judi Fryer (contributor 46850465) .