MILITARY ACTIONS: Spencerville man recognized for military service
Vernon F. Hydaker
SPENCERVILLE — A Spencerville man is being honored 32 years after his death for his combat in World War II while in the U.S. Army.
Marolyn Ray, of Centerville, received notification that her uncle, Col. Vernon F. Hydaker, was being inducted into the Ohio Military Hall of Fame of Valor.
Ray said that Hydaker never had any children, so she and her siblings were close with Hydaker. Hydaker was 86 years old when he died. “I have a lot of his medals, pictures and paperwork from when he was in the service,” Ray said. “This way, the memory will always be there for my children.”
Hydaker and his wife, Hazel, made Spencerville their home after he retired with 43 years service in the military in 1959. He was a member of the Ohio 37th Division of the National Guard. Hydaker was assigned to the South Pacific, where he was awarded a Silver Star and three Bronze Stars for meritorious service in the Solomon Islands.
Hydaker, then a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army infantry, led the forward element of his battalion in their first combat engagement and later directed a surprise mortar attack, which helped rescue a trapped patrol at New Georgia, Solomon Islands, July 19, 1943. The 148th Infantry Regiment had been ordered to replace the 169th Infantry of the 43rd Infantry Division in New Georgia and Hydaker’s battalion had been chosen to accomplish the task.
The lead element of the battalion came under fire from an enemy machine gun nest near a bridge. Hydaker moved to the front and directed a platoon on a wide envelopment to the left, in order to get behind the enemy and destroy the machine guns. The mortar barrage he directed came on the following morning and permitted Company C to complete the envelopment the Company A patrol had started the day before.
Only nightfall prevented them from completely destroying the enemy. After retiring to Spencerville, Hydaker was a longtime member of the Spencerville American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars posts. His brother, the late Walter Hydaker, was longtime fire chief in Lima.
He still has relatives living in the Lima area.
The induction ceremony takes place May 5 at the Ohio Statehouse Atrium in Columbus.