Memorial Day celebrations this weekend are paying tribute to the men and women who have served our country bravely, including many Carnegie Mellon alumni. Among those being honored this weekend at Soldiers and Sailors Military Museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is Carnegie Mellon alumnus Hugh Porter Jr., (E '47, '48).
Porter interrupted his electrical engineering education at Carnegie Mellon to join the U.S. Army during World War II. He was a Master Sergeant in the 294th Field Artillery Observation Battalion.
During the push through Germany in 1945, Porter's unit had set up posts from which they were using sound waves to help identify the location of opposing artillery. One night while he was looking out across the field, Porter noticed two injured men from another unit hunkered down in the midst of enemy fire.
Without hesitation, he hopped into a nearby jeep, rescued the men and drove them two miles to an aid station. The incident earned him the Silver Star.
"I was proud he was in the service," said Myrna Porter, his wife of 59 years. "At the same time, I was concerned for his safety."
When Porter returned home from duty, he continued his education at Carnegie Mellon. Porter played drums — most often the big bass drum — in the Kiltie Band for five years. He was honored as Outstanding Engineer during his junior year and eventually was inducted into five engineering honor fraternities.
After 41 years with Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, Porter retired as Director of Machine Design and Systems Engineering. He and his wife have three daughters and two grandsons and reside at Rockynol Presbyterian Retirement Community in Akron, Ohio.