By Max Hrenda
Joseph Vaught’s name is likely familiar to many Carter Countians.
But his service to his country is something they – and his family – knew little about.
“There was hardly anyone in Carter County that has not heard of Joe Vaught,” said Richard Culver, Vaught’s son-in-law. “He was in personnel at North American Rayon. This entire community was North American Rayon.”
During his time in personnel, Vaught hired the bulk of the plant’s employees. He played such a vital role in the community that his daughter, Becky Culver, is thanked for the work her father did.
“I don’t know how many people, even to this day, once they find out I’m his daughter, say, ‘He gave me my first job,’ or, ‘If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have had work,’” Becky said. “That’s kind of nice to hear.”
But while that side of Vaught was well known, he shed little light on his service in the U.S. Navy as a radio technician during the latter part of World War II.
According to Becky, that part of his life was something he kept to himself, even from his family.
“He wasn’t one to talk about (wartime) things,” Becky said. “He just told me he worked in radio communications.”