World War II: Ralph E. Waite

December 7 1941, the American naval fleet was attacked by Japanese air bombers and that would begin the United States involvement in the Second World War. The Nation started to mobilize for war at a time when the economy needed it. Ralph E. Waite of Medina Ohio, would enlist into the Army shortly after his graduation in 1944. He represents the constant support of the American people to war efforts throughout World War II.


Waite was placed in the 924th Field Artillery Battalion, inside the 99th Division. His division was started on November 15th 1942 and it arrived overseas on September 30th 1944. The 99th Division was the most decorated division of the war. At the end of the war they returned back home on September 17th 1945. The United States had won the war and returned as the world super power. Nazi Germany was stopped, along with the rest of the Axis powers. All of that was made true due to the ultimate sacrifice of so many Americans and their families. Waite returned home to Medina were he is still a resident today. He then entered the family business, the Waite and Sons Funeral home. Waite served on the Board of Education for the Medina City Schools .He has had a school named in his honor. Mr. Ralph E. Waite is one of the most influential citizens inside Medina County and his story represents the patriotism and support of the people in the United States for their country.

Images

Young man in a big war

Young man in a big war

Ralph Waite has lived in Medina all his life and he currently lives in the same house he grew up in. He graduated from Medina in1944. Almost immediately after he graduated Waite was examined by a doctor and given the go to be drafted into the United States Army. World War two had a constant flow of support from the American People and Waite is a great example of that. He was sworn in at Ft. Benjamin Harrison in Indiana. Then he and many other future soldiers hopped on a train and went to Ft. Bragg North Carolina to be trained in an infantry division. Courtesy of: Ralph Waite View File Details Page

Trained and off to war

Trained and off to war

After Ralph Waite was trained at Fort Bragg North Carolina he was sent with his 924th Field Artillery Battalion to Europe. He and the other men traveled on the Queen Mary a luxury cruise ship. They ship held 15000 men and he was bunked in the empty swimming pool. After a week long trip across the Atlantic, he arrived in England and from there he would make his was to Paris, France. Surviving a slight transportation train crash he was feeling what life in the war was all about. The 99th was started on November 15th 1942 and it arrived overseas on September 30th 1944. Waite was then sent to the front lines with the rest of his division in the Ardennes located in Belgium. Courtesy of: Ralph Waite View File Details Page

Battle Babies!

Battle Babies!

The most decorated division in the Second World War was the 99th Infantry Division. They spent a total of 151 days in combat. The 99th played a crucial role in the Battle of the Bulge. The division was the youngest on the front lines since they joined in 1944, and that is why they were called the Battle Babies. The 99th was the only division to hold its ground from violent German attacks until reinforcements came. They acted with great care, constantly patrolling and regrouping to hold off the Germans. Without the 99th Division the Germans would have had access to several important roads and rivers for transportation and the Battle of the Bulge could have ended very differently. Courtesy of: 99th Infantrydivision .com View File Details Page

War experience

War experience

Soldiers in World War two were given many things to help them survive and fight the enemy. They were equipped with helmets large trench coats, leather boots, a back pack and of course a gun. The only problem was in war there are no places to warm up, it is always cold. Ralph Waite had to fight in cold, wet winter months. Once the leather boots go wet they stayed wet and along with other men in the war, Waite came down with pneumonia and a slight case of frostbite. He was sent back to the aid centers in Paris France and after about three or four weeks he returned to his group in Belgium. Courtesy of: history.army View File Details Page

Stepping into the Past

Stepping into the Past

After the war ended, Waite and the troops returned home on September 17th 1945. Ralph Waite is pictured with a truck similar to the ones he use to drive in the war. His job was to get supplies to the field guns in his battalion so they could stay working. He also patrolled with other members of his group. Eventually the War ended and Waite was told hes going home and that he will soon be training for an invasion of Japan. Luckily he didn't need to because of the atomic bombs dropped. So, they were thanked and cheered for and even though they were one of the last divisions to enter the war but without people like Mr. Waite and other Americans with their constant support. Courtesy of: Ralph Waite View File Details Page

Waite and Son funeral home

Waite and Son funeral home

After Ralph Waite returned home he joined the family business, the Waite and sons funeral home. It was started by Ralph's father Herbert Waite in 1902. Ralph married his wife Helen and they had two twin boys Harold and Darrell. The two sons eventually joined the family business in the 1970's. Currently there are two funeral homes located inside Medina County. The original is located off the square in the city of Medina and the other which was established in 1994 is located north of Medina, in Brunswick. In 2002 the Waite family celebrated the 100 year anniversary of the funeral home business. Shortly after the latest Waite family members joined the business, Andrew and Chris Waite. They started the 5th Generation of the Waite family involved in the funeral home business. Mr. Waite and the rest of the Waite family continue today offering great funeral services to remember loved ones lost to the community of Medina County. Courtesy of: The Waite family View File Details Page

Home town hero and role model

Home town hero and role model

Ralph Waite and his son Darrell are pictured at the 100th anniversary of the Waite and sons funeral home. Mr. Ralph Waite has always been involved in various things inside Medina County especially after he returned from World War 2. Mr. Waite served as head of the Rotary Club in Medina where he has been a member since 1952. Mr. Waite holds the honor of ‘Paul Harris Fellow™ and is awarded for outstanding ‘service above self. Waite served on the Board of Education for the Medina City Schools from 1966 to 1974 and for one of his terms as the president of the board. He was also a bus driver for students attending Medina Schools. In order to honor his outstanding efforts in the community, he has had a school named in his honor. Mr. Ralph Waite has served the community for many years and he was and still is one of the most influential residents to ever live inside Medina. Courtesy of Cleveland.com View File Details Page

Audio

Off to war

What was the trip over to Europe like? View File Details Page

Now in Europe

Where did you arrive at in Europe? View File Details Page

Beginning of the campaign

Next stop the Coast of France and Paris. View File Details Page

The 99th division

What role did the 99th play in the Battle of the Bulge? View File Details Page

Role in the war

What was your role inside the 924th Field Artillery Battalion? View File Details Page

Next after the battle

After the Battle of the Bulge where did you go next? View File Details Page

Rhine River Campaign

Ralph and the 99th move into Germany and join Patton army. View File Details Page

Going Home!

Ralph and his Division were headed home. View File Details Page

Audio File 9

View File Details Page

Life after War

In addition to working at the family owned funeral home Ralph is very involved with the Medina community. View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Andrew DeLaat, “World War II: Ralph E. Waite ,” Discover Medina, accessed April 29, 2017, http://discovermedina.org/items/show/148.

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