SYLACAUGA, Ala. – Each month, SylacaugaNews.com and Yea!106.5 feature a veteran online and on-air, honoring them for their service to our country. Presented by Radney-Smith Funeral Home, the SylacaugaNews.com and Yea!106.5 Veteran of the Month for February is Joseph Holmes.
*note SN is abbreviated SylacaugaNews.com, JH is abbreviated for our featured veteran, Joseph Holmes.
SN: Tell me your full name.
JH: Joseph Lee Holmes
SN: And your date of birth.
SN: What Branch of Military were you in?
JH: USNR, Naval Reserve, CBs, 121st CBs (Construction Batallion) We would go in behind the marines and clean up everything. We stood guard duty—that the was first thing we done—we secured the islands. Then we took over and built the staging areas and stuff of that type for the Army and the Marines. But we stood guard—we had to stand guard at night.
SN: What was your rank?
JH: 3rd Class Carpenter
SN: What years did you serve:
JH: 1944 and 1945; a little bit of 46 and a little bit of 43.
SN: What was your job?
JH: Just whatever come up. I helped build the B-29 air base, for the Enola Gay.
SN: Did you know what that was going to do at the time?
JH: No ma’am. We did not.
SN: And you were in Okinawa, Japan?
JH: No I was in the Marianna Islands. Okinawa was one of the Mariana Islands. Guam, Saipan, and 2-3 more of them.
SN: What’s the best thing you remember about serving?
JH: When I got my letter from my girl and I asked her to marry me.
SN: You asked her to marry you with a letter?
JH: I sure did. In 1944. And 4 years later, 4 years, 3 months, 11 days, and a few hours, we married. We were married 66.5 years.
SN: How many children?
JH: Two boys.
SN: So if you could say anything to a young person about the military, what would you tell them?
JH: They’ll make a man out of you and it’s safe—good retirement and everything. ‘Course I didn’t retire. But I would have retired from there if she hadn’t of married me.
SN: Now if you could, would you do it again?
JH: Yes ma’am. To be free, I would go again in a minute. I wouldn’t hesitate because I know what to do, I know how to protect myself. My chief told me keep your head down and your helmet on.
SN: Were you scared?
JH: If a man goes over there and says he wasn’t scared, there’s something bad wrong with him.
SN: Is there anything else you would want people to know?
JH: We’re living in the best country in the world.
SN: Well thank you for your service.
JH: Well you’re welcome and I would go again, like I said.