WORLD WAR II VETERAN
SERGEANT WILLI C. GOMEZ SR.
Willie Gomez Sr. was born in Santa Rita New Mexico on December 20, 1923. He is currently 93 years old and in good health. Growing up in Santa Rita he attended school and went to High School there up until the 10th grade. Looking for greater opportunities his family of 12 siblings and mother, Guillerma Gomez moved to Hanford CA. where he has called home for the last 80+ years.
He was drafted along with his friend Pete Garcia and others from Hanford. He entered service on April 2, 1943. His basic training was at Camp Cook, Lompoc CA. then moved on to Camp Monterey for 6 months. Battles and campaigns include Luzon, New Caledonia, New Zealand and New Guinea where he first saw action. He received a Bronze Star for volunteering to search and retrieve casualties and survivors from a previous battle while in New Guinea. From there he went to the Philippine Islands.
Willie likes to tell a story where they had occupied a beach on the border of the jungles of New Guiniea where a battle had taken place and the enemies bodies were scattered about and his squad was pinned down by sniper fire for nine days. He would bury the body of the dead soldier closest to him under a pile of sand only to find it washed up again the next day from the rising tide. He continued to do this each day until they had the all clear to move on. He said he buried the body daily to avoid acquiring any type of disease or contamination. He did however catch Scrub typhus. With this disease ulcers develop and other symptoms include fever, headache, sweating, blood-shot eyes, swollen lymph nodes, rash, lung infection, vomiting, and diarrhea. Symptoms can worsen leading to severe complications. He was hospitalized in New Guinea after wards.
Willie states that they were the first Army troops to enter Japan after the treaty ending the war in the Pacific was signed. They had to stay on ship in Tokyo Bay for 3 days before being allowed to enter the city of Tokyo. After a brief 2 weeks in Japan they were allowed to return to the United States. During the return trip he developed malaria and was in camp where he waited 1 month before being discharged from service. He was Honorably Discharged from the military service of the United States of America as a testimonial of Honest and Faithful Service to his country at Separation Center, Camp Beale, California on December 31, 1945.
Made PFC two weeks after basic training
Squad Leader 745
Combat Infantryman’s Badge
Good Conduct Medal
Asiatic Pacific Campaign medal
Philippine Liberation ribbon with One Bronze Star
World War II Victory Medal
Willie lost a brother, Andrew to the war. Andrew drowned during maneuvers on the Deschutes River, in the State of Washington. A raft had overturned and Andrew drowned attempting to save others that had fallen into the river.
After the war Willie came back to Hanford and married Jennie Gomez on June 22nd, 1949. Jennie Cruz Gomez passed away August 27th, 2016 at the age of 88.They were married for 67 years had 5 children, 4 boys Willie, Anthony, Theodore and Andrew and one girl, Marie. Willie worked several jobs including Turner’s Feed Mill. From 1954 he worked as a butcher at Cadwell Martin Meat Co. & Hanford Meat Co. for 32 years and was a Union member in good standing with the Amalgamated Meat Cutter’s Union, Local 126. He now is retired and still lives at home with his son Willie Gomez Jr.