WWII Veteran To Celebrate 94th Birthday
With a great spirit and a keen mind, local resident Edward Amos Sr. approaches his 94th birthday while recalling his journey through this world, from his early days growing up on the family farm to serving his country with pride in the United States Marine Corps. Ed, who is known by most everyone in Wetzel and Tyler counties, was born and raised on Ten Mile in Tyler County.
Growing up on the family farm meant hard work (something his dad taught all his children about); Ed was the second of six children.
“Every day was a work day, along with my older brother and my dad, we would work the fields and perform all the other chores that went with making a living in those days,” Ed said.
He said, “Every Friday we would butcher and then on Saturday it was off to the market to sell our goods.” The market place in those days were the local communities and sometimes it meant going door to door. It was how we made a living. We also raised all of our own food and I never recall going hungry.”
Ed said he has seen a lot of changes since the early days of his life, but the biggest change is the work ethic of the young generation.
“We were taught from an early age, if you don’t work you don’t eat,” so everyone pulled their own weight. They were also told that honesty and a good name were imperative to getting through this life.
School in those days was where you learned to read, write, and do arithmetic. There were no fancy schools, in fact Ten Mile had its own school-a one-room building where you attended first through seventh grade. Ed went there and on to Ellsworth for the eighth grade. After finishing eighth grade at the age of 16, Ed dropped out of school to enter the work force. His first real job off of the farm was in Paden City where he helped out at Seaman’s Meat Market, working in the butcher department and making deliveries. After a couple years, he left and went to work with his dad and brother Clem at Beech Bottom Steel Factory.
Soon after he turned 18, Ed received notice by mail that he was to be drafted into the military. Ed said he made the trip to the Clarksburg draft office where he learned they were in need of Marines. “On that day there were about 20 men wanting to join the Marines, out of those 20 they only took three and I was one of the chosen.
“That same day they took us to Charleston to have us sworn in, we were then given our five-day trip notice.” It was off to Paris Island, S.C., for boot camp. After finishing boot camp Ed was stationed at Camp Lajeune, N.C., as part of the 8th Marine Battalion. From there it was off to Norfolk, Va., were they boarded ship and sailed to the Panama Canal and on to Pearl Harbor.
World War II had started and things were heating up.
Shortly after arriving in Pearl Harbor it was learned his Battalion would be heading to the Gilbert Islands for the Battles of Tarawa and Apamama. Amos was a part of the 8th Marine Battalion which played a major part in establishing airfields that would allow the Allies land-based air support for the upcoming operations across the South Pacific.
Three days after bombing Pearl Harbor, the Japanese forces occupied the Gilbert Islands and in defense of Tarawa, they built a seaplane base and stationed troops along the coastlines to monitor the Allied movement in the South Pacific. It therefore became essential for the U.S. to seize the Gilbert Islands of Tarawa and Apamama, which were the outer perimeter of the Japanese Empire.
Ed recalled the fierce fighting that occurred on the islands and the many times they would be firing at the Japanese planes in the night and early morning hours. During the capture of the islands, nearly 6,400 Japanese, Koreans, and Americans died in the fightingall within a space of about 76 hours.
After the mission on the Gilbert Islands was complete, Ed’s battalion was sent to the Marshall Islands where he stayed for a short time before being sent to the battle of Okinawa. Ed tells of being on at least six different ships during his time in the South Pacific.
The Battle of Okinawa was the largest amphibious assault in the Pacific during WWII. The Battle lasted for 82 days, from early April until mid-June 1945. The Battle for Okinawa was the allies’ plan to use Okinawa as a base for air operations on the planned invasion of the Japanese Mainland. The battle of Okinawa is considered the bloodiest battle in the Pacific.
Ed’s 8TH Marine Battalion was again a part of that battle. Winning the battle of Okinawa played a major part in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima which caused Japan to surrender less than two months after the end of the fighting on Okinawa.
After returning home from battle, Ed found employment in local industry with Pittsburgh Plate Glass (PPG), where he worked for 20 years before taking a position with St. Regis Paper Co. for another 17 years. Ed and his first wife Mary (now deceased) raised three children, Edna, Edward, and Rob. Ed was always involved with local sporting teams and enjoyed watching his sons play high school sports. Throughout the years he has enjoyed playing golf, fishing, and hunting.
Ed is now married to his love, Katy Steele Amos, and they reside in Sistersville. Ed has always remained loyal to his country and his dedication has been evident throughout the years by his membership in the Paden City Post 86 American Legion and the Sistersville, VFW 6327. He is a past Commander of Post 86 and the VFW. He is a past member and Commander of the Blue Blazer’s color guard, performing many military funerals and flag raising ceremonies at local football games as well as veteran’s Day ceremonies.
Ed said, “Just as dad told us-hard work, honesty, dedication, and a good name, make life worthwhile
“I feel I have been blessed with great family and to make it back from the war when so many didn’t.” He said to live to be 91 this Saturday is a reward for a life well lived.
“It’s been a ‘short’, long life,” he said.
Ed and Katy attend the Sistersville Christian Church.
If you see Ed out, thank him for his years of service to the local communities and for his time spent making America a better place to live.