Listening to war veterans share their story is a very humbling experience. According to statistics from the National WWII Museum, World War II veterans are passing away at a rate of 372 per day. With so many no longer able to tell their stories, it is important, especially on Veterans Day, to take a few moments and listen.

Listening to war veterans share their story is a very humbling experience. According to statistics from the National WWII Museum, World War II veterans are passing away at a rate of 372 per day. With so many no longer able to tell their stories, it is important, especially on Veterans Day, to take a few moments and listen.

In 1942 at the age of 18, Technician Fifth Grade Mordell Trammell received his draft notice and joined the United States Army. At Fort Sill, he started training as armored infantry scheduled for Europe and Africa. With the war being fought on two fronts, plans for Trammell soon changed and he became a radio operator.

“They changed us over to amphibious tractors so they shipped us to Fort Ord, California. There we trained and made the practice landings on the beaches of Monterey,” Trammell said.

After training at Fort Ord, Trammell was sent out to Oahu, Hawaii, and prepared for the initial invasions in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater.

“Our first mission was to take the island of Yap,” Trammell said. “On the way, command changed their mind and we had a rendezvous at Enewetak. So we were there for a while and went all the way across the equator down to the islands just north of Australia. There we met with the huge armada and took off for our first real operation. We traveled up into the Pacific Ocean into the China Sea and came in on the west side of Okinawa. We wanted to surprise the [Japanese]. They had the big pillboxes and they would've picked us off in the bay had we came in on the east side.”

Shortly after the United States secured the area around Kadena, Japan, on Aug. 6 and 9, atom bombs were dropped and the Japanese subsequently surrendered six days later.

On Aug. 20, 1945, while Trammell was in Kadena, General Jonathan Wainwright was released from a prison camp in Manchuria. Shortly after his release, Wainwright was flown to Kadena.

“Some of us boys were standing on the field at Kadena when his aircraft landed,” Trammell said. General Wainwright said, 'boys, I wouldn't be here if it had not been for you.' That made us feel good.”

When Trammell was serving overseas, he still found time to practice his faith.

“George Gray, Bill Anderson, J.P. Wheat and a few others would meet up in the hills of Hawaii, Okinawa, and the Philippines. Protestants and Catholics would always try to have church service together,” Trammell said. “We would testify about how the Lord had saved us.”

With World War II officially over in 1945, Trammell headed back toward U.S. soil in December of 1946.

“I'm glad that I was an able-bodied person who was able to go into the United States Army to continue the freedom of the United States,” Trammell said.

The trip home was not without tragedy. Trammell recalled a soldier struggling with the depravity of war.

“I remember one time we had a fellow that lost his mind,” Trammell said. “We tried to keep him in a ward to make sure he was safe but he got past the guards, came up topside and he jumped overboard. They turned the ship around and we went back for hours trying to locate him. The only thing they could do was cut off a couple life rafts. That made us a little late getting into El Segundo.”

Trammell received his discharge from the Army Jan. 26, 1946. His trip home was a welcoming one, he said.

“They sent me by bus from Wichita, Kansas, to Oklahoma City,” Trammell said. “Then I hitchhiked from Oklahoma City to Duncan. I didn't have a very hard time getting a ride because I was a soldier.”

During the war, Trammell said he was never stressed or worried about the task at hand.

“We all knew we had a mission to go on and it was for the preservation of the United States of America,” Trammell said. “We all wholeheartedly put our full effort into everything we could do in order to defeat the Japanese and make it home to our loved ones.”

Reflecting on his time serving in the Army, Trammell said he had a tough time picking his fondest memory, but he still cherishes the friendships he developed.

With those friendships came many pranks played on each other. Trammell said his favorite was when someone was short-sheeted.

“We would have inspections so we would have to have things nice and neat,” Trammell said. “After the bed was made, we would sneak in and turn the bottom sheet up so when someone got in bed they couldn't stretch their legs out. They would have to get out of bed and make it back up.”

After the war, Trammell worked in the oil business until a layoff in 1983. Prior to that, he attended Bethany-Peniel College for a few years, but never finished his degree. Before enrolling in college Trammell met his wife, Elsie May. The two were married Jan. 31, 1948, and have been inseparable ever since.

“We've never really had a quarrel or a fight, which I thank the Lord for,” Trammel said.

Since his discharge from the Army, a good portion of Trammell's life has been spent volunteering with different organizations. He's been a member of the Silver Haired Legislature since 1988.

Trammell said one of his proudest achievements as a member of the Silver Haired Legislature is a bill that passed into law which assists those over 65 with rising costs of prescription drugs.

At the age of 92, Trammell, a man who swam with sharks in the Pacific and fought and defeated the Axis Powers, continues to serve the community he lives in. In doing so, he goes by the motto he adopted from John Wesley, “I try to do all I can, to all the people I can, in all the ways I can, as long as I can.”