The measure of a man
A tribute by Richard Karns
My sister-in-law Esther Wekenman asked if I would write a tribute to Doug Wekenman's military service. His military records were all but destroyed in a fire in 1973.
The information for this article came from Esther and the family, along with his honorable discharge.
Doug passed away in 2003.
Anyone who knew Doug would agree that he was quiet and mild-tempered.
Doug graduated from high school in 1941 and entered the U.S. Army. After a rough crossing of the Atlantic on the Queen Mary, which had been commissioned as a troop carrier, he started his military tour as a truck driver. This, in itself, doesn't sound too exciting until you consider what his cargo usually was.
Because of his skill and confidence, Doug was usually the lead truck in a caravan. Most of his travel was at night so to avoid detection he drove without headlights and only the moon and stars to guide him.
Their cargo was bombs and ammunition for the front lines. On their way back, they would transport enemy prisoners.
Doug told of a time he was the lead truck driver over a quickly built bridge over the Rhine River after the original bridge was destroyed by the enemy hoping to curb the advancement of the American forces.
What Doug never talked about was the event that earned him the Silver Star, the third highest award the country gives, and awarded only for combat valor.
The event of that day Doug took with him to his grave. The only evidence of it is recorded on his discharge papers and the medal itself.
On Doug's headstone, there is an image of a truck and his Silver Star lighting his way.