Hamby recalls military service
By Jody Stewart
What if today, instead of thanking a veteran for their service, and then passing by, you actually take a moment to ask them for a story? They all have one to tell.
This reporter sat down with Mr. CC Hamby, 93, of Lafayette who is known for his patriotism. He began by telling me at the age of 18 he was drafted into the army, the 216th field artillery 35th division to be exact. He had two older brothers that had already been drafted, so he had been anticipating his draft day.
Mr. Hamby reminded me he was just a young boy from a small town in Alabama and after being drafted the army immediately plucked him from his roots and began preparing him for his duties. He began by traveling to California, then New Jersey and South Carolina. Each stop preparing him for one specific skill he would need in combat. Eventually, his company was made up of young men like himself from Georgia, Kansas and Alabama.
Mr. Hamby laughed a little when he said “I remember we were all put on a ship and sailed from New Jersey to England where World War 2 was in full swing. Imagine that.”
Mr. Hamby said it was a scary time for all the men who like him were mostly from small towns. After arriving in Europe, his company was sent to Wales for their assignment. There Mr. Hamby told me he met two five star Generals: General Eisenhower and General Patton.
He smiled and jokingly said “You know one of those became President.”
Mr. Hamby was assigned to communications between field artillery and infantry. He recalled in all his 3 years at war he never lost that nervous feeling, but he learned to push on. One highlight of Mr. Hamby’s time served were the letters he received from a high school sweetheart named Irene Ingram. He said she wrote him the whole three years he served his country.
Another highlight of Hamby’s service was when his company just happened to be placed in an area where they had an unhampered view of the European countryside. They knew about an ambush that General Patton himself had set up for the Germans. They got to watch the whole thing go down. Patton prevailed, and they all knew this was a turning point for the war.
After returning home to LaFayette along with his 2 older brothers unharmed, Hamby married that high school sweetheart.
They remained married for some 56 years until her passing. To this day, he is still a resident of LaFayette.
His experience in communications in the military led to a career with AT&T where he retired after 37 years.
I asked Mr. Hamby what Veterans Day meant to him. He said, “ Veterans Day is about remembering the ones that did not make it back.”