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Don Edgar Wade

Clarksburg Exponent Telegram
Used with permission

West Virginia Veterans Memorial

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Don Edgar Wade
1929-1952

"As a Korean War veteran, I know firsthand and understand the sacrifices made by our men and women in uniform."

Charles B. Rangel

Don Edgar Wade was born November 13, 1929, to Arlie R. Wade and Nellie L. Wade in Huntington, West Virginia. Wade spent his childhood years in Quiet Dell, in Harrison County, West Virginia, as one of nine siblings—Arlie Jr., Jack, Doris, Pauline, Jimmy, Richard, Betty, and Ruth made up the large family. Together, the siblings swam and fished with one another by the house. Though they were not blessed with many worldly goods and they lived modestly, the Wades managed to get by, and all learned the value of hard work and dedication.

Donnie and his family grew up in a line of houses along the side of a country road, a few miles away from the nearest town. Family friend Tom Keenan remembers him as a likable boy, perhaps the only “free spirit” he has ever met. Wherever Donnie went, fun, conversation, and dares followed. Keenan fondly remembers an infamous cow manure throwing contest and an incident involving BB guns and Don’s overalls.

In 1945, at the age of sixteen, Donnie dropped out of high school for unknown reasons. By this time, two of his brothers had enlisted in the United States military—Arlie and Jack—and Jack had perished in the Battle of Leyte Gulf in World War II. Don was known as a “free spirit” among his friends and family in Quiet Dell; perhaps the classroom environment was too stifling. He certainly was not one known to walk away from the war cause, either. Donnie soon followed his brother’s footsteps and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps.

Wade completed basic training at Parris Island, South Carolina, and was assigned to Company F, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division. He was stationed in Korea in July 1952. Unfortunately, Wade would never return home to West Virginia.

On October 2, 1952, Private First Class Don Wade left for combat patrol along the Jamestown Line, Western Outposts, Korea. He was mortally wounded by enemy fire in the battle zone and was immediately sent to the USS Repose. He died two days later from his wounds. His body was sent back to the United States and he was laid to rest in the Stonewall Park Cemetery in Stonewood, West Virginia. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart, the Combat Action Ribbon, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation, and the Republic of Korea War Service Medal. Don and his older brother Jack have been further honored by the state of West Virginia, when the state legislature named bridge number 17-79-114.9 over Elk Creek in Harrison County the “USN S2C Jack Wade and USMC PFC Don Wade Memorial Bridge.”

Like so many West Virginian veterans of war, Don Edgar Wade sadly did not make it home alive. Wade made the ultimate sacrifice for his fellow Marines and for his country. His sacrifice will not go unnoticed—the state of West Virginia honors him and his bravery in battle.

For information on his brother Jack, lost at sea during World War II, see the biographical sketch for Jack Wayne Wade.

Family information provided by family friend Tom Keenan. Article prepared by Emma Tinney.
June 2015

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Don Edgar Wade

West Virginia Archives and History welcomes any additional information that can be provided about these veterans, including photographs, family names, letters and other relevant personal history.


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