By Gerald Williams, Bayonet & Saber /
World War II veteran Arnold Lanes Moe, age 91, greeted his great-grandson Pvt. Hunter Rommes, 1st Battalion, 50th Infantry Regiment, with applause and cheers following Hunter’s graduation from basic training.
“It’s nice to have a great-grandson who helps represent all of the values America stands for, as I did, during my time of service,” said Moe.
Moe arrived at Fort Benning for basic training in September 1943 and left in December. During World War II, he served as a sergeant with 7th Armored Infantry Battalion, 8th Armored Division.
Rommes said that his great-grandfather helped influence his decision to join the Army.
“I would go to my great-grandparent’s house every Christmas with my family,” said Rommes. “My great-grandfather, being a World War II veteran, told me about some of his experiences in the Army and I came to respect him more, not just as a great-grandfather, but as a Soldier who risked his life to protect our country.”
“For me, the Army has ingrained discipline and given me a better work ethic. I am honored to serve within the armed forces,” said Rommes.
“The Army over the years has improved in some very tremendous ways,” said Moe.
“The first thing I notice is the inclusion of women. When I was in the Army, women were not accepted in combat roles … Including them in combat was something unheard of during my service in World War II.”
Moe stated racial integration as another strength of the Army that was not present during his service.
“I served in a division of 15,000 Soldiers,” said Moe. “There was not a black in that division. Isn’t that a shame? It sounds like the middle ages, but thankfully that changed for the better, because obviously we are all Americans.”
Moe said that the Army helped strengthen his family line not just physically, but mentally as well.
“After the war, Soldiers came back to society from military production to civilian production,” said Moe.
“There weren’t enough jobs for everyone so they sent us to school. Thousands of Soldiers got their education and their house payments paid. I probably wouldn’t have had the opportunity to go to a university before that because I wasn’t from a wealthy family.”
Rommes will return to St. Peter, Minnesota, where he will attend Gustavus Adolphus College as a sophomore.