One of the country’s oldest survivors of D-Day and World War II has been living in Pulaski for over 60 years. Fred Ersal Hendrick was born Oct. 16, 1919 on a farm near the Blue Ridge Parkway in Carroll County. In 1941 he enlisted in the Army and received his military training at Ford Mead, Md. as well as locations in Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.
Hendrick was assigned to the 29th Infantry, 116th Division, 111th Field Artillery Unit and on Sept. 27, 1942 he was deployed to Eurore aboard the Queen Mary. The trip was not without trouble, as the ship encountered heavy fog and struck a British ship, breaking it in two and killing many British soldiers.
Upon arriving in Scotland, Hendrick was transferred to Bainberg, England where he completed 20 months of training in the Field Artillery Unit and was promoted to Staff Sergeant.
From Bainberg, Hendrick was deployed to Normandy Beach. While landing there, his landing barge sank and his unit lost all of their supplies and much of their equipment. Hendrick fought in the Normandy Beach Invasion in France and then on into Germany. He served with honor until the end of the war in 1945.
In 1951, Hendrick married Esther Ayers Dawson and went to work as a security guard at the Radford Arsenal. In 1953, he moved his family of five to Pulaski where he rented a home on Pine Street (later named State Street). Hendrick and his family joined the Pulaski First Church of the Brethern in 1959 and were baptized by Pastor Eugene Khale.
According to his good friend, John Crable, Hendrick enjoys his days by sitting at his window with his Bible open on the table and reading his favorite passages.