Personal Histories

Frederick L. Hammers S1/c

I joined the Navy 2 September 1942 at the age of 16. 1 was sent over to the Hawaiian Islands, to Kaneohe Bay, then to French Frigate Shoals where I spent 6 months. Then back to Ford Island in Hawaii to the firehouse by the wreck of the Arizona. From there I was sent back to San Pedro where I picked up the Hadley.

After the Hadley, I was put aboard the Breckenridge, the Navy’s largest transport, taken over from the Coast Guard. I made Coxswain at the time and was put in charge of the forward Bosun’s locker. We made a couple of trips overseas and brought back soldiers, sailors and marines. I was discharged in San Pedro, California, on 16 May 1946.

Lorraine Ditmars and I were married on May 16, 1946, and lived at various times in Rosemead, Colfax, West Covina and Baldwin Park, all in California. A few years later we sold radio advertising for several months, traveling 24,000 miles through every state west of the Mississippi. Then we lived in Waterloo, Iowa, for about a year where I worked for Waterloo Valve and John Deere.

I worked at U.S. Steel in Los Angeles for 18 years as millwright and foreman. Other employers were C. F. Braun and some contractors in the building trade. I was partner in a die sinking shop and in business for myself making forging dies and I machined the main connecting ring for the first moon landing. Our shop’s building was sold out from under us so I went to work for my best customer, Aircraft Forging Die in 1975 and retired from there in 1990.

I lost Lorraine to Alzheimer’s disease in 1986. I met and married Ann in 1987.

Daughter Vickie was born in 1955, son Fred Jr. was born in 1956. My children each have a son and a daughter.

In 1992, 1 sold my house in Baldwin Park, California, and moved to my property in northern Arizona located near the headwaters of Lake Mead. I’ve always been interested in boats and have owned nine. Currently, I have a 24′ Sea Ray fly bridge cruiser, a 34′ trawler, a 16′ bass boat and two dinghies. I am a Lieutenant Commander in the United States Power Squadron and have been a Mason for over 30 years.