A hunter at heart

Charlie Morris, 96, poses with a deer he shot in October.

My uncle, Charlie Morris of La Plata, has always had a passion for hunting. Whether it be minesweeping in Iwo Jima or hunting for deer in season.

Recently, my uncle and I went hunting for deer, using a muzzle loader on the first day of the season.

After an hour and a half, five deer feeding in a soybean field approached his stand. He waited five minutes, searching for the “big one.” At fifty yards, he raised his muzzle loader, and with one shot the deer was down. That was followed by a huge adrenalin rush by my uncle, who, at 96 years of age, still remembered his first harvest as a young man. The venison was donated to families in need.

Uncle Charlie, at age 18, joined the Navy, working in the boiler room on the USS Newcomb, a Fletcher-class destroyer, Squadron 56 flagship, patrolling in the decisive Pacific campaigns of World War II.

Minesweeping in Iwo Jima and patrolling the Marshall and Mariana islands, including Saipan, Tinian, Palau and Philippines, on April 6, 1945, the Newcomb was struck by seven enemy planes; the fourth strike brought her down. My uncle, in the boiler room, was thrown upon the bridge, the ship demolished.

He eventually was transferred to what was then called the Bethesda Naval Hospital, where he laid in a body cast for 11 months. After recovering, he married the love of his life, Nina, recently celebrating 73 years of marriage.

After his wartime service, he became a successful businessman. Now he keeps enjoying his retirement years.