The story of Charles B. Heffron

My Great Uncle Charles B. Heffron displayed multiple traits of an American throughout his lifetime, which became very apparent later on in his life. Through his life experiences, he portrayed himself as a hard worker who never gave up during hardships.

He graduated from Alfred University and was an electrical engineer by the Acme Electrical Co. when he enlisted in 1941, however, his life quickly changed. Six months later, he went overseas and arrived on August 1, 1941, in the Philippines where he was stationed at Corregidor. On May 1st, he was captured and became a prisoner of war for over three years. He was first imprisoned at Cabanatuan, then was shipped to Japan. His parents received a letter that stated “Your son technical sergeant Charles B. The Heffron signal corps reported a prisoner of war of the Japanese government in the Philippine Islands.” The letter was marked Fukuoka, which was a city that had been bombed repeatedly by planes. The next three years passed with very little communication until one day another letter appeared. This one stated, “The secretary of war has asked me to inform you that your son M/SGT Heffrom Charles B was evacuated to the United States 8 Oct 45 and is due to arrive 25 October at Seattle Washington Period.”

My Great Uncle never gave up and persevered during the time he was captured. He didn’t let his experience define his life and went on to do great things when he arrived back home. He was a hard worker and an outstanding engineer. He was employed by the Television and Radio Division of Westinghouse Electric Corp. and worked in the design and development department of home television systems. In the 1950s and 1960s, he was working on the development and specifications of Color Television Standards that are used today. By the time he retired, he had 14 patents for color television and continued to serve his community after retirement through volunteer work. He passed away at the age of 96 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.




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