Bill Haynes, of Dover, a custodian at County College of Morris (CCM) and former Marine, has been selected to receive a New Jersey State Medal for his military service during the Cuban Missile Crisis and three tours in Vietnam.
The medal will be presented to Haynes at a ceremony on Tuesday, April 9, held by the New Jersey Department of Military and Veteran Affairs at the Livingston Mall, 112 Eisenhower Parkway, Livingston. The ceremony begins at 11 a.m.
Haynes spent a total of 13 years in the United States Marine Corps earning the rank of Staff Sergeant. Prior to his service in Vietnam, he was deployed to Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis. That crisis, which held the potential of becoming a nuclear war, took place over 13 days from October 16 – 28 in 1962.
A native of Freehold, Haynes’ initial plan was to continue in the military and retire from the service. Two weeks before he was scheduled to leave Vietnam on his third tour, however, a rocket went off near him.
“I had two weeks to go. We were on the beach on Phu Bai and a rocket exploded behind me,” recalls Haynes. “Thankfully, part of it had sunk into the sand before it went off and threw me into the air. Had it hit hard ground, I would have gotten killed or been seriously injured.”
During the Vietnam War, the United State Marine Corps was responsible for protecting the air force base at Phu Bai.
After leaving the Marine Corps, Haynes worked for 30 years as a security officer and supervisor at the Meadowlands Sports Complex. He then joined CCM in 1993 as a security officer and transferred to the Custodial and Grounds Maintenance department in 2005.
Along with his military service, he counts his marriage of 44 years to his wife, Beverley, and his relationships with his daughter Renee and six-year-old grandson Chandler among his life’s greatest accomplishments. Hanging off the keys he carries with him each day on the job is a laminated tag with a photo of Chandler. “That’s my heart,” he says with pride.