War Memorial Post 30 is recognizing WWII Veterans who are members of the Post this year.

Post 30 member Paul Satkowski interviewed four of the local Legion's WWII Veterans this month about their military service. These interviews with Dell Hyssong, Geoff Chapman, Robert Lannamann and Alan J. Thomas will also appear in Post 30 newsletters.

WWII Veterans who belong to Post 30 also include William V. Cross, of Rockport, who served 3 1/2 years as captain and company commander for tank and infantry teams in France, Germany and Austria, and David Hoy III, of Camden, who served from August 1944 to June 1946 as a radio operator in the U.S. Navy.

Dell Hyssong

Hyssong was drafted into the Army and served from July 1944 to June 1946. He went through 16 weeks of basic training at Camp Croft, S.C. He became engaged to Carolee, before shipping out from New York City to England in December 1944.

On Jan. 1, 1945, he took a ship across the English Channel to France. He served under General George Patton in the Third Army, Fourth Infantry Division in Germany, advancing toward the front lines. The troops were transported on trucks with no cover in the winter, and had to be ready to get out fast should an air raid occur. He spent two months manning a bazooka. He was shot on March 3, 1945 in the town of Prum by a sniper's bullet. The bullet broke some ribs, missed his spine by a half inch and ended up in his left lung.

His sergeant was shot at the same time, but the company took several German prisoners. Hyssong was sent to a hospital in Paris, France, and then to a hospital in England for about six months.

The war ended and he worked at St. Cloud, a large hotel. His duties were to supervise two former German soldiers and to prevent them from stealing anything.

He arrived back in New York June 14, 1946 and was married June 29, 1946, to Carolee. They have been married 74 years. Hyssong will turn 96 in September.

He worked at Depositor’s Trust and Camden National Bank. He and his twin brother marched in Memorial Day parades, along with WWI vets and Korean war veterans.

Hyssong was awarded the Bronze Star in 1984 for "meritorious achievement in ground combat against the armed enemy during World War II in the European-African-Middle Eastern Theater of Operations."

A plaque hangs from his wall with the Bronze Star, above a frame containing the bullet that hit him. Next to it is the Purple Heart.

As the oldest member of War Memorial Post 30, Hyssong was presented the Eagle Cane in 2018.

Geoff Chapman

Chapman joined the Army Reserve in November 1944 and went on active duty in July 1945. With the war in Europe over, he was in training to invade Japan, when the atomic bomb was dropped. He was sent to Germany in early 1946 to join the occupation force, where he worked in Military Intelligence.

In October 1950, he signed up for Aviation Cadets in the new Air Force, beginning his career in military aviation. He graduated from pilot training as a second lieutenant in December 1951 and joined his first fighter squadron in the Air Defense Command flying the F-86A jet fighter. He circulated through several squadrons in the Eastern Air Defense Force, joining the 57 Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Presque Isle, and going with that squadron to Iceland flying the F-89C interceptor jet.

Next, he was assigned to train interceptor pilots in southern Georgia. During this long-term assignment, he finished college at Florida State University and went to Squadron Officers School as the first leg of his professional development in the Air Force. His next assignment was back to Germany to a radar squadron next to the East German border.

As the war in Vietnam was heating up, Chapman began training for a tour over there as a Forward Air Controller. This involved flying the O-1, a smaller airplane used for surveillance. He also went through jungle survival school in the Philippines and POW training in at a camp in Washington State. As a Forward Air Controller, Chapman flew the O-1, lower and slower,  to search under thick forest canopy areas concealing enemy forces, encampments and vehicles.

The next tour was with a Tactical Control Wing providing Close Air Support to the U.S. Army Divisions in West Germany. There he was promoted to colonel and became deputy commander for Operations, which required him to travel all over the American sector of Germany.

After several years, he returned to Technical Training Command at Chanute Air Force Base in Illinois. His group trained fire fighters, auto mechanics, welders, sheet metal experts. Chapman retired in 1975 and moved to Vermont, when his father became ill.

Chapman's retirement years include raising two children with his wife Marilyn, serving as a selectman, school board member, heading up a foundation, participating in many community organizations and skiing, paragliding and bungee jumping. As a Camden resident, he is fully engaged with Post 30 American Legion activities, volunteers at the Swap Shop at the Transfer Station during the summer and in winter helps at the Snow Bowl and has a Meals on Wheels route. "At my age, you have to keep moving or you fall over" he explains.

Robert Lannaman

Lannaman was born August 28, 1925, and is 94 years old. He was born in Philadelphia to a family in the suburbs. His father was a salesman, and after serving with the Naval Reserves, Lannaman became a salesman as well.

He graduated from high school in 1943 at the age of 18. He became a common seaman and served in WWII from 1943 to 1946. He served again during the Korean War as an ensign from 1951 to 1952. He left the Navy in both wars because they had ended.

He served as electronics technician mate on the USS Buckingham, which was a technical transport. They transported troops and brought many wounded troops from battle areas. Islands visited included Saipan, Tinian and Guam.

After the war he and his wife, now deceased, had four children. They moved to Camden in 1973. He was adjutant of Camden American Legion Post 30 for one year and enjoyed marching on Memorial Days.

Alan J. Thomas

Thomas is a 92-year-old Navy WWII veteran and Lincolnville native. He served 22 months in 1946 and 1947.

He signed up for the Navy the day before he turned 18 and left as an enlisted soldier the day after he turned 18. His dad ran sawmills. Thomas wanted to get away from the farm and see the world. His two brothers were in WWII. All three returned home safely.

He was in gunnery in the Navy. His rank at the time of discharge was FC3C, Fire Control Third Class. The Little Rock was the first ship he served on based out of Norfolk, Va. and Providence, R.I. He visited Puerto Rico and Guantanamo, Cuba.

Later he was on the Destroyer USS Shannon. They went to Antarctica. He knew how to cut hair and one day did 42 heads.

After WWII ended, he went on a military goodwill tour to Europe and set foot in 13 countries. There he saw much destruction.

As a civilian he worked as a Union pipe fitter and nuclear pipe welder until he retired at age 62. He welded pipe in 13 nuclear power plants.

During Memorial Day ceremonies in 2019, he was selected to lay a wreath in Lincolnville. That is considered an honor. He sees Memorial Day as an honor to those who died serving their country and last rode a car in the 2019 parade.

For more information about American Legion Post 30, call Adjutant Jeff Sukeforth at 691-2270.