Clifton G. Vaughan
U. S. Army
WWII US Military
Dates of Service: 10/19/1939 - 01/31/1946
Bomb Disposal Officer, 15th Ordnance Bomb Disposal Squad

Clifton was born in Memphis, Tennessee, to Clifton and Ruby Shapleigh Vaughan. His father and grandfather owned W.H. Vaughan and Company and were earthwork contractors who built beds for highways and railroads. Clifton grew up in work camps around the mid-South. His father also bought a tenant farm near Clarksdale, Mississippi. Clifton graduated from Gulf Coast Military Academy in 1936. He also attended a six-week army training camp and was commissioned as second lieutenant in the reserves. By then he was living in Ruston and attending Louisiana Tech, where he earned his degree in mechanical engineering in May of 1941. Entering the U.S. Army he participated in the Louisiana Maneuvers with Company D, 71st Motor Maintenance Battalion in the Quartermaster Corps. In early 1942 he arrived in Northern Ireland where he helped set up a quartermaster supply center for 5th Corps. His unit was sent to Devizes, England where it was changed over to ordnance and charged with repairing vehicles. Later his outfit was designated the 15th Ordnance Bomb Disposal Unit. Clifton defused bombs the German Luftwaffe had dropped in England. He also helped set up a bomb reconnaissance school for 5th Corps, receiving a Bronze Star for his service. As part of 1st Army Headquarters, Clifton participated in D-Day operations, landing on Utah Beach about 9:30 a.m. on June 6, 1944. "It was quiet and peaceful," he reports. "It wasn't bad at all. The troops had come, the paratroopers and glider troops had captured those marsh bridges and Utah was really quiet." He returned to command ship to give his report, and then went on to Omaha Beach about 3:30 p.m. that day. "We saw a lot of bodies floating in the water. We saw bulldozers digging temporary graves, and a lot of bodies on land," he says. Promoted to captain, he returned to bomb disposal to detonate bombs and other explosives. He also opened German safes, some so large they were equipped with "a pair of doors seven or eight feet high," he says. Some of those safes, he learned, held records of German slave labor. He was still opening safes and detonating bombs in German towns when President Harry Truman visited. "He said, `What are those men doing?' And somebody told him. He says, `That stops now. The Germans started this war and we're not going to get any men killed cleaning up one of their blankety-blank towns.' And it stopped," Clifton recalls. Meanwhile, he met Dorothy Dwyer, a nurse in the 398th General Hospital. They married in Germany on May 25, 1945 and honeymooned in England. They would raise two adopted children and four nieces and nephews, and have eleven grandchildren and great-grandchildren. After they returned to the States, he was discharged at a major at Camp Shelby near Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Clifton and his father started a fuel injection repair business, which he later sold and is now operating under the name of Vaughan and Bush. Clifton worked in the sheriff's department for 13 years. After Dorothy passed away in 1975. Clifton married Jackie Whisenhunt in 1978. She passed away in 1997.