ULYSSES — A ceremony to honor Pvt. Carl E. Hyde, of Ulysses, who has been missing in action since 1941 is planned for 1 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 11 — Veterans Day — at the American Legion Post 963 in Ulysses.
Post 963 is named for Carl E. Hyde; he and his seven siblings grew up in Ulysses, an area that has deep Hyde family roots. Carl E. Hyde joined the Army in 1940 and in 1941 he was attached to the Signal Air Warning Company in the Philippines under General Douglas MacArthur.
On Dec. 7, 1941, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and just a few hours later, on Dec. 8, 1941, launched a surprise attack on the Philippines Islands.
“While (the Japanese) were attacking the Philippines, General MacArthur left the island. Uncle Carl and some other people … took some weapons, some ammunition and decided to go into the jungle and try to slow the Japanese advancement down,” Carl Hyde Jr. said. “That was the last time he was ever seen or heard from.” Carl Hyde Jr. is Carl E. Hyde’s great nephew.
Carl E. Hyde had seven siblings: four brothers and three sisters, Ronald, Harold, Bernard, Clair, Mildred, Phyllis and Elaine. His parents were Lawrence and Lois Hyde. Elaine Flewellyn is Carl E. Hyde’s only living sibling today.
“They all talked about Uncle Carl until the day they died like they expected him to come home anytime,” Carl Hyde Jr. said.
Carl Hyde Jr. served in the Navy and in 1983 was in the Philippines. He spent a week in Manila and visited the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, an American Battle Monument.
“...I saw where Uncle Carl’s name was listed among the missing, etched in stone,” Carl Hyde Jr. said. “I knew then that I was the only member of the family that was ever going to see it. They’re never going to see him, but they’re never going to see his name on the monument wall. So it was hard, it still is.”
Carl Hyde Jr. spent years talking to his great-aunt Elaine Flewellyn about Carl E. Hyde and started doing some research online about his uncle. About three years ago, he found out he was awarded four medals. When he asked Flewellyn about them, she told him she didn’t know anything about them — the only thing she and the family ever got was the telegram in 1942 saying the Japanese had overrun the base and Carl E. Hyde was missing in action.
Carl Hyde Jr. started writing emails back and forth to the Army and finally found out where he needed to send paperwork.
“They’d send me paperwork and I’d have to run down here to Ulysses, get Aunt Elaine’s signature on things, snail mail them back to the Army, then wait,” Carl Hyde Jr., who lives in Bethany, N.Y., said. This process went on for three years.
His aunt finally received the medals on Oct. 17.
“I called her and she asked, ‘Who is this?’ and I told her. She just immediately started crying and she said the package came from the Army,” Carl Hyde Jr. said.
One of the medals Carl E. Hyde received was a Purple Heart. Each Purple Heart is person specific; to see Carl E. Hyde’s name engraved on it was also emotional for the family.
“I said, ‘Aunt Elaine, it doesn’t matter if somebody sees it in five years or 500 years, it’ll always be Uncle Carl’s medal.’ She was ecstatic,” Carl Hyde Jr. said. The other medals were three campaign medals.
“It’s odd because the way it worked out is this December, Carl will have gone missing for 78 years. We got the medals three weeks before Veterans Day, which is important to our family and always has been, and it’s the 100th anniversary of the American Legion on Nov. 29,” Carl Hyde Jr. said.
The ceremony will close a chapter, but not the book, Carl Hyde Jr. said. There are still questions; he still wants to know what happened to his uncle.
The Nov. 11 ceremony is open to the public. The Patriot Guard Riders will escort Flewellyn to the ceremony. During the ceremony, Carl Hyde Jr. will give a speech on Carl E. Hyde’s life and service, and how they got to this moment. A flag will be presented to Flewellyn followed by a three-volley salute.