Oldest known WWII veteran in Ark. at time of death honored for Black History Month
WASHINGTON (KSLA) - Senator John Boozman (R-Ark.) is recognizing the service of the late Benjamin Haymon, a WWII veteran who served in the Pacific Theater, as part of “Salute to Veterans” and Black History Month. The series recognizes the military service of Arkansas residents.
In an interview on Nov. 21, 2019, Haymon shared some of his memories with a member of Boozman’s staff as part of the Library of Congress Veterans History Project.
Haymon was born on Nov. 8, 1909 and grew up in McKamie, Arkansas; that’s in Lafayette County. He grew up on his family’s farm, where they grew corn, cotton, and a number of fruits.
“That’s where we grew up, working on a farm,” he said.
Haymon graduated from McKamie High School and had a number of jobs afterwards, including working on a farm and at a paper mill in Louisiana. On April 25, 1941, Haymon was drafted into the U.S. Army. He was 31 when he was drafted, making him much older than many of his fellow soldiers.
Haymon was deployed to the Pacific Theater and served as a cook in Port Moresby, Australia. He continued to serve in New Hebrides, now Vanuatu.
Upon his return home, Haymon worked in Garland County, Arkansas and raised his sons, Lonnie and Jeffery. Both sons also served in the U.S. military.
A ceremony was held in November of 2019 to honor Haymon; he was presented with the WWII Victory Medal, coin, letters, and the American flag.
Haymon died Dec. 18, 2019. At the time of his death, he was the oldest known WWII veteran in Arkansas. He’s buried at the Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery in North Little Rock.
“Benjamin Haymon led a well-lived life. His accomplishments and story will continue to be told, and will continue to inspire future generations of Americans. I am grateful for his service to our nation and am pleased we were able to collect his stories,” Boozman said.
Sen. Boozman will submit Haymon’s full interview to the Veterans History Project, which is an initiative of the Library of Congress’ American Folklife Center to collect and keep the oral histories of the country’s veterans.
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