KSLA Salutes: WWII Veteran John Hay

Hay in his Naval uniform (Source: Hay's daughter.)
Hay in his Naval uniform (Source: Hay's daughter.)

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - From small towns in Texas and Louisiana to sailing the open water — World War Two veteran John Hay has seen it all.

"You don't feel a day over 50 do you?" I asked him.

"Yeah, I feel like 51," said Hay as he let out a belly laugh.

At 96-years-old, he still has his sense of humor.

"One thing I can say is the Navy fed you good," Hay said. They gave me plenty to eat I guarantee."

However eating well with the Navy wasn't initially the plan for the Decatur, Texas native.

"I love to shoot a gun and the Ramblin brothers, they got on me about going in the Navy. They said as good as you can shoot a rifle you're going to go in the Navy? They said we thought you were going in the Army, and so did I," Hay said. "I went down there and I was going, then they (recruiters) talked me out of it."

Recruiters sent him to New Orleans to swear in and ship off to basic training.

"I went to the Navy and I traveled all over the world. I first went to Pearl Harbor," Hay recalled. "I was standing on the ship and I looked over, I was on the bow and I thought it was a torpedo coming at me but it was a great big shark."

Hay spent the next 33 months as a gunner on the open water. However, he was discharged before they made it to Japan.

Hay returned to Shreveport where he followed in his father's footsteps as a glass cutter in the Cedar Grove neighborhood.

He and his wife raised 5 kids, 2 girls and 3 boys. The 3 boys grew up to serve in the Marine Corps.

"I was lucky," Hay said. "I had no trouble at all."

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