Memoir serialized in Times-Herald
Funeral for WWII vet Hammond today
by W. Winston Skinner
Memoir serialized in Times-Herald By W. Winston Skinner firstname.lastname@example.org
Bobby Hammond, a Newnan native and World War II veteran whose memoir was serialized in The Newnan Times-Herald, has died.
Hammond, 88, died Wednesday at his home. His memoir, "My Story To Tell,” was serialized in the newspaper starting with Memorial Day in 2004. He was also interviewed for a series on World War II veterans that resulted in a book, “Coweta’s Greatest Generation,” published by the Times-Herald.
Hammond’s book was an unvarnished look at wartime – and one that did not glorify the experience. He dedicated “My Story To Tell” to his brother, George Willis Hammond Jr., who was killed when he was shot down in a raid over northern Italy in the Army Air Corps.
"There was nothing good about that war at all,” he said in a 2008 interview, remembering the letter that brought him the news of his brother’s death.
Hammond’s funeral will be today at 11 a.m. at McKoon Funeral Home with interment at Oak Hill Cemetery.
Hammond was born May 13, 1926, the youngest son of Dr. and Mrs. G.W. Hammond. In his memoir, Hammond reflected that the United States “had gotten very complacent after World War I in regards to our military preparedness” because the Depression “kept most Americans preoccupied trying to scratch out a living.”
Despite the difficult financial times, he wrote that he and his friends "never considered ourselves poor or deprived” because the lack of material possessions was a shared experience.
“Neighborhoods were like one big, happy family as families borrowed, swapped and helped one another willingly when needed. It was the day of home deliveries and the door-to-door salesman offering everything from a cure-all elixir to a do-it-yourself house building kit,” he wrote.
Hammond was one math class short of a degree when the 1944 Newnan High class graduated. He took the class in summer school, enlisted on Sept. 11 and reported to Ft. McPherson.
Hammond served as a combat infantryman in the 100th Infantry Division in France and Germany during World War II. Later he was part of the 3rd Infantry Division during the Army of Occupation before leaving the service in 1946.
When America entered the war after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, most people believed it “would be a long and hard fought war,” Hammond wrote. “In the beginning and early stages of the war we were losing more battles than we were winning and the outlook was very bleak.”
In a 2008 interview, Hammond recalled travels to England, Scotland and France early in his Army days. He recalled the winter weather as a deadly enemy – with Americans dying in the sub-zero temperatures.
Hammond himself had an encounter with hypothermia. "I tell everybody the weather was as bad as the German Army," he recalled. "I wasn't warm or dry for weeks. If everybody in the world had to do that, I guarantee we wouldn't ever have any more wars."
At one point, he jumped into a foxhole and found himself atop a dead German. "Scared me to death," he said years later. "I couldn't get out of that place fast enough."
Like many World War II veterans, he worked and went to school upon his return from overseas. Hammond spent his career as a sales representative for TRW – retiring in 1991.
In retirement Hammond was involved in a variety of projects – sharing historical pictures for the Coweta County Remembered feature in the newspaper, taking part in veteran organization programs, talking with local students about his military experiences and meticulously restoring two antique organs.
Hammond was an active member at First United Methodist Church of Newnan.
Survivors include Mary, his wife of 57 years, along with four children, eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Two brothers, longtime Newnan banker Harold Hammond and Gainesville resident Hulett Hammond, also survive.
Hammond’s family’s asks that, in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions be made to The Wounded Warrior Project at www.woundedwarrierproject.org/donate, the local VFW Post 2667, 130 Veterans Club Dr. Newnan, GA 30263, or Newnan First United Methodist Church Food Bank, 33 Greenville St. Newnan, GA., 30263.
"Nobody who's ever been to war liked it," Hammond said in 2008. "But we knew we had a duty to do and we did the best we could. I guess, in the end, that's about all you can ask of anybody."