Purple Heart returned to family after 17 years

Published: Monday, August 19, 2013 at 06:16 PM.

A storm was strengthening. Waves 50 feet high washed over the ship, which rolled over, flinging crew members into the ocean.

A nearby ship reached the wreckage the next morning. Of 199 crew members, there were only 28 men left to save.

Ballenger was among the lost. Nearly 3,000 miles away, his wife, Elizabeth Emily, would soon hear her husband was gone.

After the war

Elizabethremarried when Linda was 3 years old and raised her daughter in Wilmington. Clyde was the only child of Clyde Austin Ballenger and Nora Prevatte Ballenger, who lived in New Bern.

Bulla was 6 years old when her grandmother, Nora, died. She remembers spending summers with her grandfather, Clyde Austin, in New Bern. He would talk about her father a lot, though she wishes she remembered more. “I was so young then,” she said.

Her grandfather died when she was 12.



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