Meeting with a World War II Veteran

By | January 23, 2024

[January 23, 2024]  The U.S. Veterans Affairs states that of the 16.1 million Americans who served during World War II, only 119,550 are alive as of September 2023.  Yesterday, I was honored to meet a WW2 veteran, Al Hammon, 97, who joined the Merchant Marines in 1944.  He attended various academies and was later a member of the U.S. Navy Reserve.  He also served during the Korean War.

By September 2024, the VA estimates that approximately 75,000 of these veterans will remain (link here).  Approximately 131 are dying each day.  This means that memories of WW2 – its heroic actions and horrific events – disappear each day.

It’s hard to imagine that this man joined the Merchant Marines 80 years ago this year at 17 years of age.  We are losing these veterans too quickly, and we are also failing to listen to their stories.  But if you ask them, they will tell you about their battlebuddies, adventures, and reasons for joining.

No matter how much we try today, what these veterans learned is lost too quickly.  I asked Mr. Hammon what he thought about when he was on the cargo ships where he served.  He claims the main thing was learning to survive and, most importantly, working as a team to accomplish the mission.

A small group of veterans met and brought Mr. Hammon in to see how our veterans group functioned.

Thanks, Mr. Al Hammon.  We salute you as a hero.

NOTE: See the article “Meeting with a Korean War Veteran” link here.


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Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

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14 thoughts on “Meeting with a World War II Veteran

  1. Idiot Savant

    Gen. Satterfield makes a lot of sense with his article today. He took the right action to have an older gentleman, a WW2 veteran, come into his vet club and talk with them. This is what should be done, whenever possible. Thank you, sir, for your efforts to support our vets. Unlike the current and terrible VA director who is scandal ridden and is not even a vet himself, that is what you get when you get paid off for getting dementia joe elected as president.

    1. Harold M. Smith II

      Ayn, yes, thank you for that. we all are very lucky to have them around us.

  2. mainer

    Gen. Doug Satterfield wrote that “By September 2024, the VA estimates that approximately 75,000 of these veterans will remain (link here). Approximately 131 are dying each day. This means that memories of WW2 – its heroic actions and horrific events – disappear each day.” Thank you sir for the info.

  3. Jerome Smith

    In only a few years, there will be no WWII veterans left. If you can, go visit one and talk with him.

    1. Georgie B.

      I agree Jerome. Make the effort. My dad was in a veterans home and he loved it there. Then stupid governors put young covid 19 patients in the veterans home, killing many elderly vets like my dad. These governors were and still are EVIL and yet they never even apologized. Veterans are not seen.

  4. The Golly Woman from EHT

    “Thanks, Mr. Al Hammon. We salute you as a hero.”

  5. Greg NH

    Gen. Satterfield, once again brings us word that he has met with another hero of our nation, one this time that served during world war 2 and that played a pivotal role in helping bring the war to a victorious end. What I didn’t know was that 16.1 million served and yet only 119k are alive today.

    1. McStompie

      Greg, there are still many WW II vets out there, and they may be walking among us, we just don’t see them. That is our fault.

      1. Willie Strumburger

        True facts, McStompie. It is, indeed, our fault for not having the insight or the will to do the work required to see and talk with these veterans. You can find them in Veterans Homes throughout the nation and in your own community. But it does require you to know that you have to make the firrst move. Like Gen. Satterfield noted in his article, this man was 97 years old and probably had helpers with him. At that advanced age, you can no longer get around on your own. You need help. At least Gen. Satterfield and his veteran’s club were willing to help out in this case.

        1. Eddie Gilliam

          Great comment Willie
          I enjoy talking to older wwii and other veterans who are older. The life experience is touching. The sacrifice they made to the service of our country worth noticing. My friend Jimmy williford was a WWII veteran. He shared his life stories with me several times growing up working on his farm as a young boy. He called me his son. Before he passed in July 2022; he called me to talk. Yes its critical we spend time with the veterans of WWII to keep their memories alive. If you don’t know where you came from; it’s hard to get to where you are going

  6. Wendy Holmes

    Very fortunate and perhaps lucky to speak with any WW2 veteran.


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