Sailor represents WWII generation at Rescue Hose Co. Minstrel Show
The 80th version of the Greencastle Rescue Hose Company Hobo Minstrels is now history, but one feature was especially memorable for most of the audience on Friday and Saturday nights, March 6 and 7. The Thursday performance was cancelled due to snow.
With the theme “A Salute to the Greatest Generation,” end man Lanny Haugh, 75, made it personal. He brought his brother, Glenn Haugh, 93, onto the stage, which drew a standing ovation. The Navy seaman 3rd class stood erect in uniform while Lanny sang “Love Letters Straight From Your Heart”.
All minstrel participants and members of the crowd who served in the military were honored during the show. Those who were active in World War II were recognized twice.
Glenn was the oldest and Lanny was the youngest of six children in the family. Born in Waynesboro, Lanny graduated from Greencastle High School, and now lives in Fayetteville. Big brother Glenn attended Washington Township High School, but dropped out at age 16. He went to work at the tap division of Landis, as he called the tooling department. A few years later he moved to Baltimore, married, and began working at Bethlehem Fairfield Shipyard. His essential job contributing to the war effort kept him stateside at first.
“But in April 1944 I couldn't get a deferment again, so I joined the Navy,” Glenn said.
He trained in Bainbridge, Maryland and the next spring was in Okinawa. There he was a survivor of kamikaze attacks, as 320 suicide Japanese planes struck the island during his short time in the bloodiest battle of the Pacific theatre.
“I cheated death twice there,” he said.
During the fighting, he felt bullets passing his face. He could see the tracers from machine guns, which glowed red. They were every fifth round in the enemy's gun belt.
“I could see them coming and I could see them going past me,” he calmly recalled.
Glenn was injured in battle and treated at a hospital in Guadacanal. Previously a gunner, he could not handle the duty after his release. He also tried but was unable to load an anti-aircraft gun, due to its height and weight. He became a stretcher bearer for the Navy.
Upon discharge, he eventually realized he suffered from post traumatic stress disorder, not identified or treated at the time.
“Whenever I woke up in the morning and my wife wasn't in bed, I knew it had happened. She said I would be kicking and screaming.”
The episodes were periodic, and lasted only a year.
Glenn's career was in the machine shop at Frick. Lanny went into banking.
“I never caused Mom and Dad the heartache this one did,” said Lanny of his sibling.