'The nicest guy there ever was'

Pictured above is John Krause, a graduate of class '62, who nominated Doug Vaughn for the distinguished alumni award for his service to the school and the United States.
Pictured above is John Krause, a graduate of class '62, who nominated Doug Vaughn for the distinguished alumni award for his service to the school and the United States.

By Jane Berry
News Editor

Douglas Dean Vaughn knew how to pull a prank.
When Arlington High School was still open, Prospect had a bit of a rivalry with them. Vaughn once made a flag that said “Prospect west”  on it, dressed up in a dark outfit and hung it on Arlington’s flag pole. Althoguh, he was provoked by the flag that said “ARLINGTON EAST” hanging on Prospects own pole.
“Doug knew how to have a good time,” John Krause, Vaughn’s close high school friend said, “but all he really wanted was to help and serve people, so he did.”
Vaughn served as his class president for three consecutive years.
“I remember [being class president] was a big deal,” Garnet Vaughn, Vaughn’s sister said, “because there was so much effort put into campaigning.”
Buttons were huge then. One year where Vaughn and his family cut out tons of Abe Lincoln silhouettes and glued them on buttons. Another year, he dressed up as Mr. Clean.
As a senior, Doug was not only Student Council president, but also homecoming king. He was all about getting things done. When the homecoming float needed to be decorated, he was there wrapping light blue paper around it.
More than that, when he decided to do something, he was dedicated to it.  Although being on the cross country team his first three years, he picked up football his senior year.
“I remember him having me cross my arms and close my eyes in our front yard so he could practice tackling,” Garnet said.
He had a real passion for wrestling, too (and, yes, he also practiced this on his sister). He went to state finals in 1962 and came in a close second.
“The match just went back and forth, again and again; all I can say is ‘unbelievable,’” Krause recalled.
Besides all of his athletic and student government achievements, he also had a full load of advanced placement classes. He was “that guy,” the one that everyone wants to be.
During a time when the Beach Boys, Elvis and Peter, Paul and Mary topped the charts, the civil rights movement was occurring, but Vaughn was not afraid to socialize with all types of people. He wanted to help everyone and always had a goal, mission or cause.
“Honestly, I’ve never met a man that has made more good in his life,” Krause said.
Vaughn continued his service when he graduated by joining the navy. He graduated from the US Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD.  He spent two years on the USS Radford, DD-446, the smallest warship that still had five-inch guns. During his two tours he was promoted to Lt. JG Douglas Dean Vaughn.
While in Vietnam, he took part in the “Win Hearts and Minds” program by learning Vietnamese and helping the locals learn how to boil water and use soap.
During 1969, he was assigned to a remote base near Quang Ngai City. While traveling down a road, his squad was ambushed and he was mortally wounded. Douglas Dean Vaughn passed away on May 20, 1969.
“He was the nicest guy there ever was,” Krause said.
Just one indication of his influence that resonated through Prospect was how many of his classmates attended this year’s homecoming ceremonies to remember him.
“Doug was special,” Krause said, “ the force that drove him was the challenge — no, the need — to serve and help people.”