Hammill, Don, SoM1c

Deceased
 
 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Petty Officer First Class
Last Primary NEC
SO-0000-Sonarman
Last Rating/NEC Group
Sonarman
Primary Unit
1943-1945, SO-0000, USS Crosby (APD-17)
Service Years
1942 - 1945
Voice Edition
SO-Sonarman (1943-1964)

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

21 kb

Home Country
United States
United States
Year of Birth
1923
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Diane Short (TWS Chief Admin), SA to remember Hammill, Don (Salty Sam), SoM1c.

If you knew or served with this Sailor and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
 
Contact Info
Home Town
Not Specified
Last Address
Not Specified

Date of Passing
Dec 21, 2012
 
Location of Interment
Utah State Veterans Cemetery - Bluffdale, Utah
Wall/Plot Coordinates
SECTION A-1 ROW D SITE 1


 Ribbon Bar

 

 Official Badges 

WW II Honorable Discharge Pin


 Unofficial Badges 

Order of the Shellback Order of the Golden Shellback Order of the Emerald Shellback


 Military Association Memberships
Navy League of the United StatesNational Association of Destroyer Veterans (Tin Can Sailors)
  1997, Navy League of the United States [Verified] - Assoc. Page
  2005, National Association of Destroyer Veterans (Tin Can Sailors) [Verified] - Assoc. Page
  2005, National Association of Destroyer Veterans (Tin Can Sailors) [Verified] - Assoc. Page


 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
I AM NOW VICE PRESIDENT OF MEMBERSHIP & DEVELOPMENT,
UTAH COUNCIL NAVY LEAGUE OF THE UNITED STATES

Unofficial US NAVY CERTIFICATES
COLD WAR CERTIFICATE
GOLDEN DRAGON CERTIFICATE


Per the National Cemetery Administration........
 
HAMMILL, DON E  
  SO1   US NAVY
  WORLD WAR II
  DATE OF BIRTH: 02/04/1923
  DATE OF DEATH: 12/21/2012
  BURIED AT: SECTION A-1  ROW D  SITE 1
  UTAH STATE VETERANS CEMETERY
   
Other Comments:
Hammill, a native of Salt Lake City, enlisted into the U.S. Navy in January, 1942, at the age of 18. After basic training and sonar school he was assigned to the crew of the APD-17 U.S.S. Crosby. Converted into a swift, amphibious attack vessel designed to deliver shock troops into battle, the Crosby was an old World War I destroyer brought out of mothballs. Painted in garish green-splotched camouflage, it joined 4 other ships of its class to create an amphibious warfare task force called TRANSDIV 22, "The Green Dragons." Hammill and his crewmates saw tremendous action during 17 amphibious landings in the South Pacific that included the islands of Guadalcanal, New Guinea, New Georgia, New Britian, Bouganville, Hollandia, Leyte, Luzon, Manila Bay, Corregidor and Okinawa. Their duties ranged from landing Army Rangers and Marines ashore, anti-submarine patrol, radar picket duty, recovering shipwrecked sailors, to shore bombardment and fire support. It was during operations off of Bouganville Island on November 17, 1943 that Hammill survived through one of his most memorable days of combat. Hammill was manning his battle-stations post at an anti-aircraft gun on the bridge. The Crosby was under a vicious strafing and dive-bombing by two Japanese aircraft. Witnesses report that Hammill fired with deadly accuracy at a low-flying bomber that was starting a Kamikazi attack on his vessel. Sonarman Hammill opened up his 20mm gun emptying a full magazine into the enemy plane. His shells tore apart the enemy's cockpit causing the aircraft to veer up radically barely missing the ship?s bridge before plunging into the sea. Hammill sailed and fought on his ship for 23 consecutive months. At war's end, he came home to Salt Lake City and earned a Law Degree from the University of Utah.
   

 Enlisted/Officer Basic Training
  1942, Recruit Training (San Diego, CA), 1942
 Duty Stations
US Navy
  1943-1945, SO-0000, USS Crosby (APD-17)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1942-1942 Guadalcanal Campaign (1942-42)/Cape Esperance (Second Savo)
  1942-1945 World War II
  1942-1945 World War II
  1943-1943 Northern Solomon Islands Campaign (1943-44)/Battle of Kula Gulf
  1943-1943 Treasury-Bougainville Operation/Battle of Empress Augusta Bay
  1944-1944 Leyte Campaign (1944)/Battle of Ormoc Bay
  1944-1944 Leyte Campaign (1944)/Battle of Leyte Gulf
  1945-1945 Luzon Campaign (1944-45)/Battle of Corregidor
  1945-1945 World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Okinawa Gunto Operation
  1945-1945 Luzon Campaign (1944-45)/Battle of Corregidor
  1945-1945 Luzon Campaign (1944-45)/Battle for Liberation of Manila
  1945-1945 World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Okinawa Gunto Operation
 Military Association Memberships
Navy League of the United StatesNational Association of Destroyer Veterans (Tin Can Sailors)
  1997, Navy League of the United States [Verified] - Assoc. Page
  2005, National Association of Destroyer Veterans (Tin Can Sailors) [Verified] - Assoc. Page
  2005, National Association of Destroyer Veterans (Tin Can Sailors) [Verified] - Assoc. Page

 Photo Album   (More...


Reflections on PO1 Hammill's US Navy Service
 
 Reflections On My Service
 
PLEASE DESCRIBE WHO OR WHAT INFLUENCED YOUR DECISION TO JOIN THE NAVY?
Don Hammill (Salty Sam), SoM1c - Please describe who or what influenced your decision to join the Navy?
Some of my boyhood friends had joined the Navy and some were going to join. After the attack on Pearl Harbor my parents agreed that I should join. I was very patriotic and intended to serve my country and fight the enemy.
WHETHER YOU WERE IN THE SERVICE FOR SEVERAL YEARS OR AS A CAREER, PLEASE DESCRIBE THE DIRECTION OR PATH YOU TOOK. WHAT WAS YOUR REASON FOR LEAVING?
My journey began when I arrived at NTS, San Diego on 10 Jan 1942. I spent 3 weeks in Boot Camp then I was assigned to Sonar School before being sent to the USS Crosby (DD 164) in February, 1942.

The Crosby patrolled the West Cost on Escort Duty until February, 1943. We eventually entered the Mare Island Navy Yard for conversion to a high Speed Transport and were reclassified as APD-17, High Speed Destroyer Transport. We cleared San Francisco on 27 February 1943 and sailed, by way of Pearl Harbor, Samoa, Vitu Levu Noumea and Espiritu Santo. We practiced beach landings at Santo with James Roosevelt's "Marine Raiders" in March of 1943. We were cleared on 29 April for Guadalcanal as a Transport Screen and on 6 June 1943 we reported for escort duty in the Solomon Islands.
IF YOU PARTICIPATED IN ANY MILITARY OPERATIONS, INCLUDING COMBAT, HUMANITARIAN AND PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS, PLEASE DESCRIBE THOSE WHICH WERE THE MOST SIGNIFICANT TO YOU AND, IF LIFE-CHANGING, IN WHAT WAY.
We saw tremendous action on the USS Crosby with 17 Amphibious Landings. We went through all of the Solomon Islands, New Guinea, and all islands in between to the Philippines, we finally secured after Corregedor and Manila. We then went back to Ulithi in the Central Pacific to prepare for
Don Hammill (Salty Sam), SoM1c - If you participated in any military operations, including combat, humanitarian and peacekeeping operations, please describe those which were the most significant to you and, if life-changing, in what way.
the Okinawa Operation.

I saw my first combat in June 1943 when 120 enemy plane came down slot to attack Guadalcanal and the fleet in channel between Tulagi and Guadalcanal. American and New Zealand planes and surface ships shot down 94 Jap planes with a loss of 6 U.S. Planes and the recovery of 2 U.S. pilots.

The Crosby was one of the American surface ships in this battle. We began island hopping from our forward bast at Tulagi and were eventually awarded 10 Battle Stars for the following Operations; Eastern New Guinea, New Georgia Group, Bismarck Archipelago, Treasure-Bougainville, Western New Guinea, Hollandi, Leyte, Luzon, Manila Bay and Okinawa Gunto.

Additionally, the Crosby was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation for the following Operations: New Georgia Group, Bougainville Landings, Cape Gloucester, Leyte Gulf, Ormoc Bay Landing, Lingayen Landings and the Okinawa Operation.

My battle station was a gunner on the 20mm on flying bridge on the Crosby. In November 1943 a low flying plane came in directly at the bridge of the Crosby. I unloaded a full magazine on my 20mm and shot down the enemy plane. I also shot down a suicide plane in Lingayen Gulf as it was headed for the bridge. That was in January 1945. My Shipmate, Albert Johnson, was an eyewitness to each of these actions. Albert, who was stationed at a searchlight platform directly above me, was going to send me an affidavit on the incidents but regretfully he passed away before he was able to send it. I do have a copy of it now, provided below. His description depicts actions against the enemy that day.

"Statement regarding the participation of Don E. Hammill of Murray, Utah and Albert R. Johnson of Phoenix, AZ in actions against the Japanese on November 17, 1943 while serving aboard the USS Crosby (APD 17).

I was a member of the crew of the USS Crosby (DD164/APD17) with the rate of SM2C and was a shipmate of Don E. Hammill, Sonarman 2nd Class on November 17, 1943. On said date, at approximately 0800, our ship was landing troops in Operations off Bougainville Island in the Soloman Islands, when our ship came under attack by Japanese planes. We were at General Quarters and my Battle Station while landing troops was in Boat One of a Four Boat group where I was the communications between the mother ship and the USS Crosby. Our four boats had left the Crosby when Japanese aircraft entered the landing area. Boat one was 100 yards off the starboard bow of the Crosby when two planes dropped bombs on the Crosby, One bomb landed close aboard the bridge on the starboard side. The plane bulled out of its bomb run, gained altitude and turned into a strafing run on the port side of the Crosby. Sonarman Hammill's 20mm gun on the flying bridge opened fire emptying a full magazine into the enemy plane, tracer fire could be clearly seen entering the engine and cockpit of the plane. It appears that the 20mm fire hit the enemy pilot as the plane veered radically and plunged into the sea. Sonorman Hammill's 20mm machine gun was the only one that could have had the opportunity to get a first hit on the enemy plane.
Signed/Dated,
22 September 2003
Albert R. Johnson, Lt (USNR/Ret)"
FROM YOUR ENTIRE SERVICE, INCLUDING COMBAT, DESCRIBE THE PERSONAL MEMORIES WHICH HAVE IMPACTED YOU MOST?
Don Hammill (Salty Sam), SoM1c - From your entire service, including combat, describe the personal memories which have impacted you most?
My particular memories during 23 consecutive months in the South Pacific were when I was literally staring into the eyes of the enemy pilots while manning my 20mm gun.
WHAT ACHIEVEMENT(S) ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF FROM YOUR MILITARY CAREER? IF YOU RECEIVED ANY MEDALS, AWARDS, FORMAL PRESENTATIONS OR QUALIFICATION BADGES FOR SIGNIFICANT ACHIEVEMENT OR VALOR, PLEASE DESCRIBE HOW THESE WERE EARNED.
Don Hammill (Salty Sam), SoM1c - What achievement(s) are you most proud of from your military career? If you received any medals, awards, formal presentations or qualification badges for significant achievement or valor, please describe how these were earned.
NAVY UNIT COMMENDATION FOR OPERATIONS SHOWN ABOVE. SHIP WAS AWARDED 10 BATTLE STARS FOR OPERATIONS SET OUT ABOVE.

I HAVE ALWAYS MAINTAINED I SHOULD RECEIVE A MEDAL FOR MAKING SURE THERE WAS ALWAYS PLENTY OF HOT COFFEE FOR THE BRIDGE GANG & OFFICERS ON THE BRIDGE WHEN I WAS ON WATCH. I"M NOT SURE THE NAVY HAS SUCH AN AWARD.????

ALSO RECEIVED MEDALLION FOR WAR SERVICE AT UNIVERSITY OF UTAH VETERANS DAY COMMEMORATION CEREMONY, 2007
WHICH INDIVIDUAL(S) FROM YOUR TIME IN THE MILITARY STAND OUT AS HAVING THE MOST POSITIVE IMPACT ON YOU AND WHY?
I didn't have an individual person that had a particular impact on me personally but I never forgot the great strategy of Admiral Spruance in the "Miracle at Midway." We were all inspired by the Admiral's actions since he, against all odds, stopped the Japanese fleet early in the war and the Battle of Midway early in 1942 prevented the enemy from occupying Hawaii and the West Coast of the United States.
CAN YOU RECOUNT A PARTICULAR INCIDENT FROM YOUR SERVICE WHICH MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE BEEN FUNNY AT THE TIME, BUT STILL MAKES YOU LAUGH?
When we were at Esperado, before being sent to Guadalcanal, and were training with the 4th Marine Raiders practicing landings with them. They were commanded by James Roosevelt. While we were there, Roosevelt got word that the Army club at the base there had a nice big piano, but there wasn't one in the Marines club. Not having a piano, but wanted one, he organized a group of some of the larger Marines in the unit to go and "re-locate" that piano in the middle of the night and put it in the Marines club. That was of course the subject of more than a few exchanges between the various service members but it was a lot of fun.
WHAT PROFESSION DID YOU FOLLOW AFTER YOUR MILITARY SERVICE AND WHAT ARE YOU DOING NOW? IF YOU ARE CURRENTLY SERVING, WHAT IS YOUR PRESENT OCCUPATIONAL SPECIALTY?
I was discharged in November of 1945. I returned to Salt Lake, City and graduated from the University of Utah Law School in 1950 with a Juris Doctor degree and practiced law for 30 years. I am now retired and Vice President of Membership and Development for the Utah Council of the Navy League of the United States.
WHAT MILITARY ASSOCIATIONS ARE YOU A MEMBER OF, IF ANY? WHAT SPECIFIC BENEFITS DO YOU DERIVE FROM YOUR MEMBERSHIPS?
NAVY LEAGUE OF THE UNITED STATES. AS A MEMBER OF BD. OF DIRS.
UTAH COUNCIL I HELP TO CARRY OUT THE MISSION & GOALS OF THE NAVY LEAGUE. GOALS;:
1 EDUCATE NATIONAL LEADERS AND THE NATION
2 SUPPORT THE MEN AND WOMEN OF THE SEA SERVICES
3 PROVIDE ASSISTANCE TO THE SEA SERVICES
4 SUPPORT YOUTH PROGRAMS
MISSION STATEMENT
A CIVILLIAN ORGANIZATION DEDICATED TO INFORMING THE AMERICAN
PEOPLE AND THEIR GOVERNMENT THAT THE, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA IS A MARITIME NATION AND THAT ITS NATIONAL DEFENSE AND
ECONOMIC WELL BEING ARE DEPENDENT UPON STRONG SEA SERVICES, UNITED STATES NAVY, UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS,
UNITED STATES COAST GUARD AND UNITED STATES MERCHANT MARINE.

THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF DESTROYER VETERANS.
THE QUARTERLY 40 PAGE NEWSLETTER, " THE TIN CAN SAILOR"
KEEPS ME UPDATED ON ALL DESTROYERS, PAST & PRESENT AND THE
HISTORIC FLEET, CHRISTENING CEREMONIES & COMMISSONINGS OF
NEW SHIPS. STORIES OF THEIR PARTICIPATING IN BATTLES IN ALL WARS

ALSO A MEMBER OF "THE APD VETERANS ORG. IT"S QUARTERLY
NEWSLETTER, " APD VETERANS NEWSLETTER" HAS A COMPREHENSIVE
VIEW OF THE PARTICIPATION OF THE 32 HIGH SPEED DESTROYERS
TRANSPORTS IN PACIFIC WWII. CURT CLARK, SEC. OF ORG.ALSO
PUBLISHED NEWSLETTER. " THE FOUR STACKER" & THE BOOK, "THE FAMED GREEN DRAGONS", " THE APD DESTROYER SAILORS OF WWII
THAT BOOK HAS PICTURES OF CREW MEMBERS. BIO"S & SEA STORIES
FROM EACH SHIP. MY SHIP ,USS CROSBY DD 164/APD17 WAS PART OF THAT FLEET
IN WHAT WAYS HAS SERVING IN THE MILITARY INFLUENCED THE WAY YOU HAVE APPROACHED YOUR LIFE AND YOUR CAREER? WHAT DO YOU MISS MOST ABOUT YOUR TIME IN THE SERVICE?
I have always been proud of my service in the Navy and my family aboard the Crosby and my contact with the TWS Family and my Shipmates there.
BASED ON YOUR OWN EXPERIENCES, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO THOSE WHO HAVE RECENTLY JOINED THE NAVY?
After getting out of the service I can say that what I learned in the service was real discipline. I was young and cocky when I started my time in the service and it wasn't until after my first battle at Guadalcanal that I realized we were in a real war and other people were trying to kill us. Anyone who is currently serving should be proud and have respect for their seniors and those serving with them. The reality is that war is harsh so they must train hard, learn their job well and execute their duties to the best of their ability. You should be proud to be in the greatest Navy in the world and do everything you can to be the very best Sailor you can be. I salute everyone who has or is currently serving.
IN WHAT WAYS HAS TOGETHERWESERVED.COM HELPED YOU REMEMBER YOUR MILITARY SERVICE AND THE FRIENDS YOU SERVED WITH.
Don Hammill (Salty Sam), SoM1c - In what ways has TogetherWeServed.com helped you remember your military service and the friends you served with.
Becoming a member of TWS has been the most rewarding experience of my retirement years. The ability to talk with all of my shipmates on TWS is great. My daughter Jill literally saved my life by getting me into Huntsman Cancer Hospital for emergency surgery in 2009. It was after this surgery that a lot of shipmates on TWS kept me in their thoughts and prayers during a long, slow and painful recovery. I must give a hand salute to MCPO Ed Armstrong for keeping everyone on TWS updated regarding my condition and for calling me every day for more than a year to check on me. I would like to wish blessings on him and all my TWS shipmates and the United States of America.

Published in TWS "Voices" August 1, 2010

KC 10/29/18

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