The Hurley family of Trinity has the rare distinction of having sent seven sons to fight in World War II.
Ray, Earl, Ralph, Lowell, Russell, Colon and Leonard Hurley all served overseas.
An eighth-brother, William Hurley, was just too young to go.
That brother joined the Marine Corps in 1948, three years after the war was over. William Hurley served at Cherry Point from 1948 to 1952 in an aviation supply at the air station.
The 84-year-old returned with his wife of 67 years, the son that was born here, and other family members last week for a tour of the base.
“I enjoyed it much,” William Hurley said of serving in the early days of Cherry Point. “I have always wanted to come back, but this is the first time I have been able to come back since ’48.”
There is little today that resembles the base on which he served.
“There are a few little things that I recognized, but it’s changed a lot,” he said. “It’s gotten larger, but I still recognize a few things. It didn’t look like this. It was Marines, all Marines.”
Hurley’s brothers served all over the world during the war from 1941 to 1945. The ordeal was tough on the family, he said. It took a lot of praying that brought them all back alive, though two were wounded.
“I was the eighth one that went in,” said Hurley. “They was all drafted. I didn’t want them to draft me, so I went in the Marines. I didn’t want to go in the Army.”
Hurley served at Cherry Point for his four years, except for time at Parris Island.
Vermell Hurley joined her husband for the tour and remembers Cherry Point fondly.
“I had some good friends,” she said. “My best friend got pregnant at the same time. We come to the doctor. Her little girl was born in January and he (son Litchard) was born in February and we just really had a good time together.”
The couple had dated through high school in Trinity, and toward the end of the four years, the couple decided to return home.
“I’m still a Marine,” said William Hurley. “I wanted to stay in but I got married.”
Coming back to Cherry Point for the first time since 1948 was something that the Hurleys wanted to scratch off their bucket list.
“I didn’t know if I would ever get to come back or not, but I’m back,” said William Hurley. “This will probably be our last time.”
Litchard Hurley, the son who was born aboard the base, said he is proud of his family.
“That’s a story in itself. That seven of them would go off to World War II and all of them come back alive is remarkable. Two of them were wounded. Yes, I am proud of the Hurley heritage,” he said. “I am more proud of the momma and daddy.”
Deputy Police Chief Elijah Bouie Jr., of the Cherry Point Provost Marshal’s Office, organized a demonstration of the special reaction team for the Hurley family.
“That’s a crew that you probably never want to see,” said Bouie. “They run faster, they are stronger and they shoot better than probably anybody that’s in the department. That is the cream of the crop of the department. We put a lot on them to stay in shape and stay proficient at all of the weapon’s systems and all of the training that goes along with it.”
Bouie said Hurley reminded him of his father, who is about the same age.
“It’s remarkable to see someone 86 years old just looking at the age and wisdom that comes with it and you look at what he’s accomplished. And what his son has accomplished,” said Bouie.
Litchard Hurley is a retired sheriff of Randolph County and a former president of the N.C. Sheriff’s Association.
“I’m just happy that we as Cherry Point can do something to make a lasting impression,” Bouie said. “It’s just remarkable to see a man who was in the Marine Corps at one time and had seven siblings that were in the military. It’s just remarkable.”