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Southern Utah News Front Page: September 11, 2014
Hulet to take Utah Honor Flight
Five Hulet brothers - Elliot, Rupert, Ralph, Carlyle and John - served their country overseas during World War II at the same time. Youngest brother Herb later joined the Navy.
By Dixie Brunner
While the Utah Honor Flight is honoring WWII veteran and Kanab resident Carlyle Hulet with a trip to Washington D.C. later this month, Hulet has been a hero here for many years!
The Honor Flight Program is a nationwide program with a mission of honoring WWII Veterans by flying them to Washington, D.C., to see their memorials. This is done through private and corporate donations.
During Hulet’s September 30-October 2 trip, he and fellow Utah veterans will visit the National Mall, and spend time at the WWII, Korean, Vietnam and Lincoln Memorials. They then will visit the Marine, Air Force and Navy Memorials, with a final stop at the Arlington National Cemetery, and attend a changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, where they can pay their respect to their fallen comrades.
Hulet was born on February 9, 1922, in Parowan, Utah to Wallace and Sara Hulet, into a farming family that eventually grew to include three girls and six boys. Carlyle went to college in Cedar City, and married wife Norma in 1942. “She was my younger sister’s friend, and I thought she was cute. I never thought she would go for a guy with manure on his shoes – but she did!”
But when WWII came along, Carlyle and his four brothers were of draft age, and all were called to serve.
Brother Ralph was one of the first draftees from Iron County. He served in the 161st Infantry. Elliot was next and was assigned to the Army Air Force. Rupert served in the Ordnance Division. Carlyle was placed in the Field Artillery Division. Finally, brother John Charles was drafted into the Navy. (Youngest brother Herb later joined the Navy.) The first five were all overseas at one time. “Like so many families who watched as their sons, husbands and brothers left for war, we were uncertain we would ever see each other again,” Carlyle wrote of the experience. His brother Elliot was the only one of the Hulet brothers to be killed in action.
Carlyle Hulet served in the Artillery Division, beginning his training at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma. He was then transferred to Camp McCoy in Wisconsin, and put into the Infantry Division. Wife Norma and three-month old daughter Diane were able to visit with Carlyle while he was there. “We kissed each other goodbye and wondered if we would ever see each other again,” said Hulet. “I got my papers to go overseas in July of 1943.”
He boarded a ship to England. “They gave me a life jacket and told me to keep it on. I named the thing Mae West, and wore that darn thing for eight days. When I was done with it, Mae went overboard.”
Hulet’s military service included many battles and missions in the European theater during WWII, including England, France, Belgium, Holland and Germany. His war experiences were wild and varied, including riding a Kaiser ship to Omaha Beach. “We also were near Utah Beach, where there were 10,000 crosses for those who had died in one battle,” recalled Hulet.
His memory is sharp, and he shared experiences such as being in Belgium when rockets were being shot toward England; trading candy bars for a bale of hay to sleep on; a march to Cologne, when the Germans blew up the bridge over the Rhine River his unit had just crossed.
Hulet was transferred to the Artillery Division, where they began experiencing more combat and taking many more prisoners. “Our artillery could only shoot seven miles,” he explained. “I was in a position along the river. There was a Life Magazine photographer not far from me. I had dug a foxhole, and then I soon could hear the artillery shells coming. There were 96 guys in our outfit, and 18 of them were seriously wounded.”
“We captured a place called Nordhausen,” said Hulet solemnly. He recalled seeing several train cars of corpses on the tracks nearby the concentration camp. “They would put them on the train and take them to a trench to dump. The bodies were stacked four tiers high.”
Intense, terrifying and heart-wrenching situations often faced the young Hulet, as well as other military personnel, during World War II. The sacrifices made and patriotism shown were astounding. They deserve to be honored and everyone’s gratitude! Thank you Carlyle, as well as all our veterans!
Carlyle returned home after the war, and immediately started a dairy product distribution business in Parowan. He later moved the business to Kanab, where he and wife Norma raised their children, and have been valued members of the community. (She passed away in 2010.) Carlyle can still be found working at the family business of Hulet Distributing-Meadow Gold at 92 years of age.
When asked what he believes should be the proper U.S. response to so many world conflicts, he smiles and relates the story of a Frenchman’s comments to him during the war. “He said, ‘why do you Americans come over here and fight all our battles? You are fools!’ We shouldn’t stick our nose in everyone else’s business.”
Hulet added thoughtfully, “I do believe that when you go to war, fight the battle and get it over with, then bring all of our troops home.”