WWII Veteran Alfred Daum (Gaylen Blosser photo)

WWII Veterans Service Commissioner Alfred Daum passes

Veterans Services Commissioner Alfred Daum, Ohio's last serving WWII Veterans Services Commissioner passes

WEST MILTON – The Late Alfred Daum, a Navy Veteran was the last serving WWII Veterans Services Commissioner for the State of Ohio representing Miami County Veterans Services Commission.

Daum was surprised to hear he was the last remaining WWII Veterans Services Commissioner in Ohio, a fact that did not go unnoticed at the August meeting when his accomplishment was recognized by the president of the organization.

Alfred was born June 10, 1926 in Miami County’s Union Township just outside West Milton, OH and graduated from West Milton Schools in 1944.

“My mon got my diploma in 1944,” Daum said. “I went in the Navy at 17. I was in there until June the 10th 1947. I went in on what they called a minority enlistment. Mom had to sign for me to go in.”

Daum reported to Great Lakes, May 2, 1944 and noted, “I was out of there by the second week of June.”

“I was lucky,” said Daum. “I was in that Civil Air Patrol so I knew the Morris Code. They sent me to Northwestern University to become a radio operator and a radio technician.”

Following training at NU Daum’s next stop was the Navy’s Amphibious Forces located in Little Creek, Virginia.

“We went into training there,” said Daum. “We did some work out in the Atlantic, some of it was even convoy duty on some amphibious ships.”

“I got commissioned on a ship,” continued Daum. “The ship got commissioned down in the Charleston Ship Yard. Atlantic Ship Medium (SHIP) 555 – they didn’t name them, they had numbers just like the LSTs did back then.”

The 95 year old Daum remained sharp in his recollection of numbers and dates always coming to mind quickly.

“We had capacity to haul about 60 or 70 Marines,” Daum noted. “We had a crew of about 78 Navy. It was one of those ships that had kind of a counting tower on one side. You could haul three tanks or anything in that area…ton and a half and stuff like that.”

Daum and crew soon were on their way to Japan joining the WWII cause.

“We were loaded going to Japan to invade Japan when the war ended,” Daum recalled. “The ‘bomb’ saved me. That’s what cancelled everything. We were supposed to hit around the end of September.”

“All hostilities quit so they just dissipated,” Daum continued. “I come back to Little Creek. We always come back to Little Creek because that was the amphibious base on the Atlantic side – Virginia right down near Norfolk.”

The ship returned to the states where Daum would fulfill his commitment to the Navy.

“I come back – the jobs we done; we did some kind of strange things,” Daum said. “They had up at the proving grounds up in Maryland where they had some 5.2 inch 4.5 inch mortars. They were full of poison gas and since we had an open deck they had us haul them out and dump them in the Atlantic.   They were packed four of them to a case.”

“We had German prisoners of war helping unload them. We dumped them right out of the fantail just off the Continental Shelf. Everybody had a gas mask, you slept with a gas mask because it was mustard, phasG and chloropicrin.”

Daum was honorably discharged from the Navy on his 21st birthday, June 10, 1947 as a Navy Radioman Second Class.

“When I got out I lived on a farm and I was going to do some more farming but it just wasn’t enough income,” Daum shared. “I got married, I got a job as an apprentice printer down at McCall Corporation in Dayton, Ohio. They called it Dayton Press before it shut down in 1982.”

Daum spent 37 years as a printing pressman all the while working on his farm where he raise purebred Landrace hogs and beef cattle, kept honey bees and was an avid gardener. “I did about anything to do with animal agriculture,” he said.

Daum went to work at a small print shop in West Melton following the closing of McCall Corporation where he would spend the next 10 years.

“I was in the printing business for quite a while as a pressman,” Daum said with a chuckle. “I quit my printing job in ‘94 and just had the farm.”

“I only had my farming job so I got interested in Veterans affairs because I could see there was a necessity for Veterans that needed help so I joined the VFW, the American Legion and the AMVETS – I’m a life member of all of them.”

Alfred Daum was a life member of VFW Post 6557 where he served as past commander and American Legion Post 487 where he served as past commander, finance officer and on the honor guard. He also was a member of AmVets Post 88, and the Ohio Amphibs Association for those who served on the amphibious fleet. Al was the past commissioner of the Miami County Veterans’ Services and a member of the Eintracht German Club.

Daum’s advice to all veterans:  “Service to your country never ends regardless whether you think it does or not,” Daum stated. “Helping veterans and you have to be concerned what happens at your local, state, county affairs. If you don’t get involved they’re not going to answer your call, they are going to do whoever tells them on top.”

“Everybody steps up,” Daum said emphatically. “Once you serve – you’re always a veteran.”

“I don’t think you ever quit serving your country,” Daum concluded. “That’s my motto.”

Darke County Now Editor Gaylen Blosser

Gaylen Blosser / Publisher

Gaylen Blosser is a sports enthusiast and has covered high school sports for nearly 20 years in Southwest Ohio. Gaylen has been a media sportswriter while most recently serving as Sports Editor for the local newspaper and will now serve as editor of Darke County Now while continuing to cover athletics. Gaylen is an accomplished photographer who has captured thousands of athletes in action over the years and is the recipient of the OHSAA Friends of Athletes Award and OHSAA Respect the Game State Award. Contact Darke County Now Editor Gaylen Blosser at gblosser@darkecountynow.com or 937-459-9547.

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