Local WWII Veteran reflects on service, life

MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) – A local World War II veteran is celebrating a milestone in just a few days; Lt. Col. Vinson Huegle turns 95 years old.

Lt. Colonel Vinson Huegele retired from the United States Air Force in 1964, but not after nearly a quarter of a century serving his country he loves so much, dating back to 1941.

“I didn’t realize it at the time but I was taking my first step into the greatest generations of workers in the United States,” he said.

Lt. Col. Huegele said it was an experience he will never forget.

“They blew the taps and then lights out. I realized I was alone in this world and it was something completely different that I had ever done before,” he said.

His first assignment: Fort Sam Houston in Texas, where he was assigned to the 7th Signal Corps. Its mission: to operate the telephone system.

“Led to a bunch of interesting connections. One was an officer named Dwight Eisenhower. We knew him well because his wife called so many times, we had the telephone fixed. Only thing wrong with the telephone, it was a dial phone and she was fumbling around and couldn’t ever get the correct number and she almost court marshaled some of my workers because they said she was drunk and couldn’t dial correctly,” said Huegele.

Several months later, the bombing of Pearl Harbor put things into perspective.

“Somebody turned on the radio and they were talking about Pearl Harbor. None of us had any idea where Pearl Harbor was. But we soon found where it is. Major in charge said “Private Huegele, we’re fighting for our lives now.” I didn’t realize it at the time, but he was right,” said Huegele.

At 94, Lt. Col. Huegele and his wife spend time with each other, remembering the past…and giving advice to young people today.

“Seek more education. You learn more every day when you’re on duty like we had. You learn something new every day. I’ll be 95 in a few days and I’m still learning new things that are happening. I feel great. It’s been a great trip, I would say,” he said. “I took the oath of office at Camp Dodd back in 1941. We are to obey all lawful orders, honor the flag, the colors of the United States, and never abandon your post. God, country, self is priority, given our lives. If necessary, you’re going to die. But you never think a second thought of that. People would say: ‘Thank you for your service.’ Well, if my time to go, I received the call. Any man still in uniform would go.

Lt. Colonel Huegele will celebrate his 95th birthday on April 6.

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