By Christine Baldwin | Librarian
Lewis Haight was born in New York. An only child, he was only four-years old when his father died. He remembers going to the closet and looking at his dad’s Marine Corps uniform. While growing up, Lewis enjoyed nature and became quite good at approaching animals without them knowing. He was also on the varsity football, baseball and wrestling teams.
Lewis always knew he wanted to join the U.S. Marine Corps. The day after he graduated from high school, he went to New York City to enlist. In a roomful of new recruits, Lewis was the only one to raise his hand for the Marine Corps. After basic training at Parris Island, South Carolina, instead of getting into the infantry like he wanted, Lewis ended up in communications. His first duty station was at U.S. Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point, North Carolina. He was with a top-secret unit along with a lieutenant, and had to hand carry certain classified messages back and forth. It was here that Lewis requested Mast from the inspector general because he wanted to go into combat in Vietnam. He was sent to the 9th Marine Amphibious Brigade in California and ended up in Okinawa, Japan. In late 1966, Lewis requested Mast again and this time was sent to Vietnam with the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine, Fox Company. He spent six months aboard the USS Iwo Jima (LPH-2). Then he went to Da Nang and became a squad leader and then a temporary platoon sergeant. When there was an opening at the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, Lewis joined them. In 1968, he was wounded a couple of times, once with a shattered knee.
Lewis was sent back to the states to Bethesda Naval Hospital and had two operations. At this point, he was up for Officer Candidate School, but he couldn’t pass the physical due to the knee. He was placed on a temporary duty list and decided to go back to get his undergraduate and later his graduate degree. He was shocked when in two years, he was sent a retirement package. Lewis went to a surgeon friend at an Air Force base who said he could fix the knee. But after another surgery, it still wasn’t stable. The Air Force offered Lewis a Captain’s rank, but he declined it.
After leaving the service, Lewis taught science and coached at a prep school for two years. He then became an assistant football coach at a Division III college. Next, Lewis went into the insurance investment field. In 2015, Lewis came to AFRH-W. With the help of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), who are very active at the Home, he started learning his genealogy. Lewis has one member who was in the Revolutionary War; another who was in two major battles of the Civil War (he has a Congressional Medal of Honor). His father served with the 1st Marine Division in Guadalcanal and was awarded a Purple Heart. Lewis’ bench is located near the flag pole and includes his decorations.