Some of my favorite interviews through the years at WIBC have been with Veterans and active military personnel. But the opportunity to talk to 103 year old WWII Veteran ROBERT VOLLMER was a extra special!
September 2nd 2020 marked the 75th Anniversary of the end of WWII. According to the US Dept. of Veterans Affairs, about 300,000 US World War II Veterans are still alive. BOB VOLLMER from Brown County is one of them. His memories of 75 years ago are pretty clear.
Before signing up for the Navy, he worked for ADT, building burglar & fire alarms. He had a first Class Telephone license and wanted to work for WLW in Cincinnati. “When I saw what was happening in Pearl Harbor…I never heard of Pearl Harbor, but the next day I enlisted everywhere but the Salvation Army. So did my brother. The Navy and Marine Corp called me on the same day.”
So off to war Bob went, choosing the Navy. “I helped save one of the ships during The Battle of Leyte Gulf, which is considered to have been the largest naval battle of World War II and, by some criteria, possibly the largest naval battle in history,: The USS Heron was in trouble, I had land duty, running communications lines. They said Send Vollmer out there and I went! We got attacked, but we made it.”
Bob retired in February from the Indiana DNR, after 60 years! He wants to travel back to some of the Islands saw during WWII, but COVD has slowed down his plans. He did take his daughter to one of the Islands recently to look for a revolver he hid 75 years ago. Did he find it? No. But he looked! Why did he hide a gun back then? He tell us “Officers had revolvers. I had a fine rifle, but I really wanted a pistol. So, I stole one! Before we left the island a friend said “You better get rid of that gun! They’ll be searching our bags”. So, he hid it!
Bob never did see his brother again. He was killed during WWII. Remember, I’m just one. Thousands, and thousands, and thousands of good men and women serving. If there’s anything such as a good war, it was WWII. At home we had good people supporting us. We had the support of such good men that didn’t come back and it bothers me. I think about it a lot.” I’m a full blooded American and I appreciate our forefathers.”
THANK YOU WWII Navy Veteran ROBERT VOLLMER, as we remember the 17 million Americans who served in the US Armed Forces during WWII, 75 years ago. 400,000 of those were Hoosiers. Indiana lost almost 12,000 military personnel, while another 17,000 returned home with war wounds.