CUMBERLAND — Floyd Wigfield, a Cumberland resident who served in the Army during World War II and was one of the first Americans to land at Utah Beach on D-Day, died Monday. He was 104.
Wigfield died at his son’s home Monday, according to his obituary. His death was also mentioned on social media by the nonprofit The Greatest Generations Foundation, which organized a 2019 trip that saw Wigfield and other veterans return to Normandy for the 75th anniversary of D-Day.
Wigfield graduated with the inaugural class at Fort Hill High School and was employed at the Celanese plant on Dec. 7, 1941, when Pearl Harbor was attacked. He was drafted into the Army, and shared with late Times-News reporter and columnist Jim Goldsworthy much of his experience while deployed in the European theater.
While there, Goldsworthy wrote in a 2019 article, “Wigfield was a scout who went several hundred yards ahead of the main body to see what was lying in wait. A number of American soldiers came home to their loved ones because of what he did later in that role.”
“I didn’t know what I was going to face,” Wigfield told Goldsworthy. “I was scared the whole time I was there (in Europe).”
In the interview, Wigfield recalled details like German shells whizzing overhead and having to travel under cover of darkness to cut holes in briar patches with his bayonet to sleep safely without fear of enemy combatants discovering him and cutting his throat in the night.
Ultimately, a German artillery round sent Wigfield to the hospital in England, where he spent months recuperating before being deployed again. He was injured again the day after Thanksgiving in 1944 by a shell striking the building he was in at the time.
Wigfield’s commanding officer, Capt. Robert D. Russell, was killed in action shortly after the D-Day invasion began. In 2019, Wigfield met the officer’s brother, Jack Russell, first via Skype and then to visit Robert Russell’s grave at Arlington National Cemetery.
Also in 2019, Wigfield received the Legion of Honor medal from France for his military service and was received by former President Donald Trump at the White House.
Born Oct. 10, 1918, Wigfield was a son of the late Cleveland and Lula (Bucy) Wigfield. He was predeceased by his parents, as well as his first wife, Juanita May (Rice) Wigfield; second wife, Helen Daisy (Morgart) Wigfield; and daughter, Sharon Troutman. He is survived by his son, Steven Wigfield and wife, Sandra; stepchildren, Patricia Timbrook and husband, Fred, Linda Vititoe, and William Dentinger, as well as 11 grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
A private graveside service for Wigfield will occur Thursday at the Maryland State Veterans Cemetery at Rocky Gap.