Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Beyond the Call of Duty

More Stories of Hawkinsville, Georgia

During World War Two, over 16,000,000 Americans served in the gallant effort to defeat the military might of Germany, Italy and Japan. Today, there are approximately 3,000,000 veterans of the conflict left. Estimates put the current loss, through death, at somewhere between 1,200 to 1,500 per day. Add to that number 400,000 who died in WWII, and the math shows us that over 13 and a half million of our WWII veterans are deceased.
History was made when city boys, and farm boys alike, volunteered—from all walks of life—after the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor by the Imperial Japanese war machine. The Americans of that era have been called the Greatest Generation, and history has labeled them heroes, although most shun the label, claiming instead they were just doing a job which needed doing.
When Adolph Hitler began his quest to rule Europe, and when the Empire of the Rising Sun bombed Pearl Harbor, practically destroying the United States Navy, they had no idea what kind of men they would ultimately have to face before the end of what became World War II.
Tom Brokaw, longtime anchor news journalist for NBC Television, penned a best-selling book called The Greatest Generation in which he eloquently told the stories of so many veterans, those who survived as well as those who did not return home. The only problem with the book was that it could not tell all of the stories of WWII.
One of the great stories of the war involved five brothers. They were among the most famous of all the fighting men of World War II. The five Sullivan brothers, serving together in the Pacific, symbolized America's commitment to winning the war. But their deaths caused outrage and forced the military to change long standing policies that allowed a family to lose an entire generation at once. On Friday, November 13, 1942, a Japanese torpedo struck the USS Juneau at Guadalcanal.
Steven Spielberg depicted a story about WWII in the movie, Saving Private Ryan, in which three brothers were killed in battle and a group of soldiers were dispatched into battle to find the last living brother. Their mission was to bring him back alive.
Pulaski County has its own story which deals with total commitment of a family. Fred and Ida Sanders Hogg, who had a family of eight children, six sons and two daughters, made such a commitment during the historic war. This is an attempt to tell the story of a family who has a military history that begs to be told. The boys and their sisters were raised in a Christian home on the Chicken Road. Fred Hogg spent most of his life repairing Chevrolet automobiles and Ida stayed home to issue out the discipline to those who merited it. There must have been a considerable amount of discipline, considering that many boys were around to find fault with each other. Raymond Hogg, one of the surviving members of the family, lives in Florida where he has enjoyed the success of a business entrepreneur for many years. “We were like a lot of boys,” he said, “fighting amongst ourselves. My younger brother, Tommy and I fought mostly about who would get to ride our bicycle.”

“That is true,” said Tommy. “Raymond always thought he could get the best of me, but I had my share of victories, too.”
The first of the Hogg boys to go into the military was Julian, who actually joined in 1938 before the war began. He was supposed to be discharged in 1941. That all changed when the United States became involved in the war.

Julian Hogg’s term of enlistment in the army was extended until near the end of the war. During his time in the army, he was a Sergeant in the Chemical Warfare Service, having served in campaigns in North Africa, Sicily, and Italy before moving into southern France for what would no doubt be his most dangerous assignment. He was involved in the European theater including the Normandy invasion, an event that ultimately spelled the beginning of the end to Hitler’s madness.
Much like Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan where there were multiple brothers involved in the European invasion, the Hogg family had another son involved in the Normandy invasion.

Richard Hogg, in a different location from his brother Julian, was also present when the D-Day operation came to fruition. Six months of planning had taken place while enormous forces gathered in southern England. In all, there were 10,000 aircraft, over 4000 landing craft, and 1500 warships under the direction of General Dwight Eisenhower, who was the supreme commander. Throughout the massive invasion and its aftermath, neither of the Hogg brothers suffered an injury.

During WWII, Sergeant Neil Hogg served in the army, based in Alaska, before moving on to the Aleutians.
Perhaps the most traveled of the Hogg brothers was Petty Officer First Class Willie Fred Hogg, a machinist mate in the Seabees. He gained valuable experience building roads, bridges and airstrips throughout the Pacific during the war. After the war’s end, Hogg would spend most of his life working within the field of building and engineering of bridges, roads and oil rigs.
The fifth of the six Hogg brothers to serve in WWII was Raymond who convinced his parents to sign for him to join the navy. He became a member of the submarine forces in 1945 before the war ended. During his substantial amount of sea duty he sailed on top of and underneath the ocean extensively throughout the south Pacific, including Japan and China. Raymond was finally discharged in 1949.
The sixth Hogg brother, Tommy, was only fifteen years old at the conclusion of the great war. His age kept him home during WWII, however when he turned eighteen in 1948, he continued the military tradition of the Hogg family by joining the army under a special program of one year active duty and six years in the reserves. After his discharge in 1949, he returned to the city by the Ocmulgee River where he worked in a cotton warehouse. In the early 1950s something called the Korean conflict began and not only was Tommy called back into the service, but his older brother Willie Fred was activated back into the navy. Both brothers were finally discharged at the end of the Korean War.

In addition to the military service of the six Hogg brothers, their sister, Mary’s husband Earl Walton was also in WWII, and their other sister, Marjorie’s husband, J. T. Wynne served in the National Guard. In the entire family, no one was killed. When asked what he attributed the good fortune of the family, the late Tommy Hogg replied, “I guess Mama and Daddy did a lot of praying.”
The children of Fred and Ida Hogg have shown the true American spirit by serving in the United States military. They have gone beyond the call of duty while serving God, family and country.

1 comment:

Shannon said...

I am so thankful to live in this country and also very thankful to those that have made it possible. Thanks, Daddy, for teaching me to love these things.