Mason County News
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Rudder/Hatfield Appearance in Menard
Wednesday, September 28, 2011 • Posted September 28, 2011

On October 22, 2011, Menard Public Library will provide the community with an exceptional opportunity to hear one of the world’s leading World War II scholars. Dr. Thomas M. Hatfield became interested in WWII as a child and has carried this interest through his life and his life’s work. His recent book, Rudder: From Leader to Legend, focuses on the life and career of our native son, WWII hero of Normandy, General Earl Rudder. Two of General and Mrs. Rudder’s children will attend the luncheon, as will many other family members and friends from around the area.Reservations are required, and space is limited. For details and reservations please call Norma Murray in Menard at 325.396.2465. All donations are tax deductible. A native of Medina, Texas, Dr. Hatfield was a child when a soldier from his hometown was killed at Normandy. His community’s grief for Tommy Rouse left an indelible mark on young Hatfield. At age 19, he made his first journey to the European battlefields, bicycling across Normandy, the Ardennes (Battle of the Bulge) and Italy, from Solerno to Rome. More trips followed. In 1977, Hatfield was named Dean of Continuing Education at the University of Texas, Austin. It was in this capacity that he created summer programs for adults at Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Paris, and Madrid.In 1982, he returned to Normandy for a personal pilgrimage on the 40th anniversary of D-Day, where he walked in the footsteps of Tommy Rouse from Omaha Beach to the exact spot where he was killed near St. Lô.In the mid-1980s, at the request of The University of Texas, Hatfield began organizing and leading study groups to other World War II battlefields, including the airfields of the U.S. Eighth Air Force in East Anglia and the islands of the Central Pacific. From D-Day to the Rhine was featured in the New York Times travel section. Bill Moyers made a documentary of the same trip, which was shown on PBS. In 1990, Hatfield was assigned to teach an honors program at the University of Texas at Austin, which focused on World War II.In 1998, after accompanying Hatfield on a From D-Day to the Rhine trip, Don Carlson, director of the UT Center for American History, approached Dr. Hatfield about a way to permanently preserve the legacy of WWII. By 2007, these discussions led to the opening of the American Military History Institute, headed by Dr. Thomas M. Hatfield.Dr. Hatfield’s latest book adds to his life’s work, with the publication of Rudder: From Leader to Legend.

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