Vincent Jerome Wishart (1920 – 2008)
Vincent Jerome Wishart was born in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania on 25 October 1920. He was the first of four children of James Winton Wishart – a gas company supervisor, and his wife, Genevieve Josephine Songer. At the time America entered the Second World War Vincent was working as a draftsman for the Pennsylvania Department of Highways and was drafted aged 21 in Erie, PA on 3 October 1942. He initially applied to join the Air Force but was turned down on account of his eyesight and joined the 83rd Infantry as a radio operator. During the war, he served in Normandy (arriving ten days after D-Day), Brittany, the Ardennes (Battle of the Bulge), the Rhineland and in Central Europe.
In 1999 a college student named Amy Changoway interviewed Vincent about his war experiences in which he told her that he was “thankful every day that you made it” and that “you were a dummy if you weren’t scared.” At the time of the interview, he had recently seen Steven Spielberg’s ‘Saving Private Ryan’ and when asked if he thought the movie portrayed war in a more realistic light, he said, “No, it’s still Hollywood.” Over the course of the conflict, the 83rd sustained over 15,000 casualties of which just over 25% were killed or missing in action.
Vincent survived the war and was awarded the Bronze Star for his participation in three major campaigns. He left military service in mid-November 1945 and returned to Pennsylvania where he married his fiancé Marjorie Walter in 1946. Two children were born of the marriage, and under the G.I Bill, Vincent attended the University of Pittsburgh where he gained a degree in engineering. After graduation, he moved with his family to the Mount Jackson area and was employed as a mechanical engineer & manager for the Penn Power Company. He retired in 1983 and began wintering at Nettles Island, Jensen Beach, Florida where he was living at the time of his death, aged 88, in 2008.