In 1943, 27-year-old Corporal Wayne Doyle was drafted. He had lived in the Midstate his entire life but was pulled away to serve. More than seven decades later, he remembers every moment.
Wayne went to the New Cumberland Army Depo and was taken to Georgia for 17 weeks of training. Before he knew it, he was on a ship to England.
The sights of war, quickly upon him.
“Every now and then you’re looking back and there’s a German sub that sunk one of the ships,” he recalls.
Once in England, Wayne says he got his shots, his rifle, and his assignment, “They called eight names out, mine was one of them and the speaker says you boys are going to the most famous division of the US Army.”
Wayne says he was lucky to join the 1st Infantry Division, the men he calls the real heroes.
“They were already in battle,” he says, “They took care of me in every way they could.”
Wayne served five campaigns in his two years overseas. He went into Normandy right after D-Day and says he will never forget the sound of a bullet going over his head.
He won’t talk in detail about combat but he will show his medals of service, including the bronze star.
Wayne would rather talk about the other men who served or the memories that got him through the war. One came from a familiar face.
“I was in a rest area, sleeping in some building and a guy rapped on the door and the guy said, ‘hey Doyle, somebody wants to see you downstairs,’ and there’s my kid brother, John” he recalls, getting emotional, “The rifle was bigger than he was… And boy I cried, I cried.”
Wayne wouldn’t see his brother again until after the war.
When he returned home, Wayne admits he was depressed. He wanted to stay active so he returned to work as a bus driver in Duncannon and New Cumberland. Shortly after, his life changed again, he met a girl.
“This beautiful girl got on at 11th Street,” he says, “When she got off the bus I said, ‘Would you like to go to a football game? Army and Navy.’ she said, ‘Yea I’ll go.’ Three more dates and I asked her to marry me.”
Dolores and Wayne were married in 1946. They spent 57 years together before she passed in 2003.
Wayne, who will be 100 years old in December, now spends his days with his daughters and friends. He shares his memories of World War II with those who will listen but says he doesn’t think younger generations understand.
“Who thinks about the war nowadays? Anybody? No, only the people that were in it.”
His great-nephew, BM1 Scott Alvarez (Retired), disagrees. He says, “I think the younger generations should learn more and understand more what sacrifices were given to understand where we’re at today.”
So Scott documents Wayne’s stories, hoping to preserve the memory for those who want to remember.