William Ellis Clanton (1920-2009)
By: Maverick West
William Ellis Clanton was my great grandfather. He was in the navy. He served in World War 2 from 1944 to 1948 and was a Seabee. Seabees went to islands after a battle and built barracks and other buildings for the army. He was stationed in the South Pacific Ocean and islands. His job rate was an AS. The navy website states AS stands for “Aviation Support Equipment Technicians. Their job is to operate, maintain, repair and test automotive electrical systems in ground equipment, gasoline and diesel systems, and associated automotive, hydraulic and pneumatic systems. They also maintain gas turbine compressor units, ground air-conditioning units, perform metal fabrication, repair and painting of tow tractors and other aircraft servicing units.
He told us some very interesting stories. One of the stories he told was when he went to a loading dock to get ready to haul supplies. He had to parallel park a flat bed truck. The thing that was really amazing was that he parked it perfect the first time (He admitted it was luck). The Naval officers were watching as he did his magic. Because of the perfect park he did, he got a job to transport the officers every time they visited the islands.
The next story he told us was something a lot of soldiers go through. One Sunday during the war he was a little homesick. He was a Christian so he wanted to go to church. One Sunday he heard some men singing a hymn. He followed the sound into a tent. In the tent he found 5-6 men singing the hymns. After this occasion these men and he met every Sunday and had church.
The last story I have to tell is a love story. He was in Detroit Michigan in 1942 for training. He went to church one Sunday. After the service the preacher and his wife invited him to their home for lunch. When he arrived at the house he met the preacher’s red-haired daughter. Five years later after he was discharged from the navy he met her again in Tulsa, Oklahoma and they married in 1948. That marriage lasted sixty years until his death in January 2009.
My great grandfather also served in the Korean War from 1950 through 1951. He was the first in Tulsa to be reactivated into service.
I want to say thank you to all veterans for sacrificing years of their lives to help our country.