SC (WLTX) -- It is estimated that there are only 1.5 million World War
II veterans alive out of the over 16 million that served our country.
Mayes is one of those World War II veterans, he was drafted before his
graduation and soon was being shipped off on the Queen Elizabeth to
said, "Going across we didn't have escorts, because we changed course
every three minutes and it zigzagged across there and I mean people were
sick on that ship."
was part of Patton's Third Army, he spent time in seven different
countries during the war, and he also helped liberate Buchenwald, a
concentration camp in Germany.
"I think they were happy to get out, but really it has been so long ago, there is a lot of things I can't remember," said Mayes.
of the horrors of war have forgotten, others have been pushed aside,
but through it all, the biggest challenge has been dealing with losing
his wife of nearly 60 years.
Mayes said, "That's the worst thing to ever happen to me, losing my mate."
just as he did when he was a soldier in the mid 40s, Mayes continues to
push forward knowing that veterans his age are becoming more scarce.
to Mayes, "There's not too many people that live that long, there are
some that live longer, but there is not that many that get to reach 89."
is a recipient of the Bronze Star, he settled in Winnsboro after World
War II, he has 3 children, 6 grandchildren, and 9 great-grandchildren.