Sunday Salute ~ Harold Emmett Hughes ~ World War II

VE Day

In honor of the 75th Anniversary of V.E. Day, today’s blog is about an Ancestor who fought in the War to end all Wars!


Harold Emmett Hughes was born on January 16, 1925, in Houstonia, Pettis County, Missouri. He was the 6th child born to James Walter and Sadie L. (Hayes) Hughes. The family moved to Sedalia, Pettis County, MO in 1914, and James rented a farm. Harold grew up in the farming profession but he didn’t really like it. During his early years, he earned the nickname “Rusty” because he would put off doing chores and letting tools rust rather than cleaning them.

2nd_MarDiv insignia

On October10, 1942 at the age of 17 Rusty joined the United States Marine Corp. He listed his age as 20 and I can only speculate that no one checked it out. He was sent to Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, in North Carolina for basic training. He was assigned to Company E 2nd Marine Division and he stayed in this unit until the end of his service.

After the outbreak of war, the 8th Marine Regiment with an assortment of other division assets formed the 2nd Marine Brigade and were dispatched to American Samoa.

During World War II, the 2nd Marine Division (Headquarters) participated in authorized operations and engagements in the Pacific Theater of Operations and Rusty participated in the following ones:

guadalcanalThe Battle of Guadalcanal, in the Solomon Islands campaign from January 4 to February 8, 1943. Battle of Saipan, Mariana Islands campaign from June 12, to July 24, 1944
The Battle of Tinian, from July 24 to August 10, 1944

Harold Emmett Hughes WWII WIA

On November 16, 1944, Private First Class Harold “Rusty” Hughes was Wounded in Action when he was hit by a sniper bullet while patrolling in the Marianas Islands. He was hit on his left side, mid-torso, and in the right arm above the elbow. He was flown by helicopter to a hospital in Okinawa and he was shipped home after his recovery. He was released from the Marine Corps on September 21, 1945.

Rusty returned to Sedalia Missouri and he started school in Aerospace Engineering. He also married Ruth C. Grant (1924-1979) on December 3, 1948. They had 3 children, 2 sons, and 1 daughter. After receiving his degree he began working for McDonnell Aircraft (before it merged with Douglas Aircraft).

On July 11, 1962, he once again enlisted in the service, this time in the Air Force. He spent the next four years working on the airplanes that were used in the Vietnam War. He was released from service on June 30, 1966. He then returned to work at the newly merged company of McDonnell/Douglas Aircraft.


Rusty died on March 12, 1981, at his home in Moberly, Randolph County, Missouri. He gave his all for our country and I am proud to have him as part of my family.



I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.





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