Navy Chief Petty Officer Albert Eugene Hayden was from St. Mary’s County. He died in 1941 on the USS Oklahoma, on a date that will live in infamy.
Hayden enlisted in the U.S. Navy to fight in World War I and was assigned to the USS Texas. He was a career Navy officer and had the unfortunate circumstance of being stationed at Pearl Harbor.
Seven years ago his remains were brought home and laid to rest in the Saint Joseph cemetery in Morganza, all thanks to DNA technology.
Hayden was born in 1897 on the Potomac River in Piney Point. At the time, it was the biggest caviar producer in the western hemisphere. What a thrill it must’ve been to catch a sturgeon; who’s caught one locally?
Hayden attended Leonard Hall Junior Naval Academy in Leonardtown. He would’ve learned of the local Civil War shipwrecks in St. Mary’s County, USS Tulip and Black Diamond. There was a loss of over 135 lives in the Potomac River of St. Mary’s County during the Civil War between the two wrecks.
He would’ve learned that Maryland had the only two Confederate admirals: Adm. Franklin Buchanan (CSS Virginia and Tennessee) was from Baltimore and Adm. Raphael Semmes (CSS Sumter and Alabama) was from Charles County.
He attended Charlotte Hall Military Academy. He would’ve learned Maryland’s military history and how that on Aug. 27, 1776, the Maryland 400 held off 35,000 British and Hessian soldiers. Six times during the battle of Brooklyn, they attacked the Hessians, nine came out alive. The German mercenaries made three times as much for a dead American.
“The Old Line State” is so named for holding the line of battle; otherwise, Gen. George Washington would have been hung in the morning. Washington wept as he gave us that moniker. “My God what brave boys I must lose today,” is a quote from Washington.
Sometime soon we may build a new elementary school not too many miles from the gates of Naval Air Station Patuxent River. Please remember CPO Hayden, a war hero who had been MIA for nearly 75 years, when it comes time to name the school.