When Freudenthal Hospice chaplain Floyd Ferguson found out it was Earl Hammer's 102nd birthday, he knew he needed to call in the reinforcements for this former Marine. Ferguson, a retired Marine as well, wanted to make this monumental birthday a celebration this WWII Veteran wouldn't soon forget.
Earl Hammer served in the Pacific theatre during WWII as an air traffic controller. It was a job he just happened to spot on the air-base bulletin board, but one that left him with lots of memories. One of his favorite memories was of the time he had to manually guide a pilot in an open cockpit plane in for a landing using just his flashlight. Earl laughed as he told the story of how in a moment of showing off doing a barrel roll over the base, the pilot had forgot to secure his radio and it fell out of the plane. Had it not been for Earl Hammer and his quick thinking, the pilot probably would not have touched down safely. His time in the Marines was also filled with many more fond memories, which made this birthday surprise even sweeter when Gunnery Sergeant Haycraft showed up on behalf of the Marine Corps with some special gifts for Earl.
The motto of Semper Fidelis, Always Faithful, is truly fitting for this wonderful gift of recognition of not only the time Earl spent serving his country but also his time making a difference in this world. It is always beautiful to see our seniors celebrated for the gift they truly are to our community and to our country. Earl and his son Larry also gave us permission to share some of his photos from his time in the Marines.