Weldon Curtis Hamilton CWO-4 USAF

We loved him so very much!

Weldon Curtis Hamilton was a survivor of The “Batann Death March”, hell ships, camp O’Donnell, Camp 17 and 30 kilometers from Nagasaki when the Nuclear bomb was dropped. Mr. “don’t call him a hero” he said, he’s just a survivor. A hero to all of us died on April 16,2008 eleven months after recovering from a fall, a couple of trips to the hospital then a month in hospital rehab followed by two weeks in an eldercare home then six months at my house.

When he arrived he was in a wheelchair and unable to climb stairs and capable of walking with a walker for 50 feet or less. Within a few months he was walking with the walker and we were able to park the wheelchair. A few more weeks and he was up and walking without any assistance except for a safety strap around his chest. The last couple of months of his life he was walking, doing exercises and planning for the future. He received calls and letters every week from those that were very close to him. His sister Viona call every week and his best friend in Las Cruces called every week. They and others who wrote cards and letters give him a lot of happiness in his last year of life.

We all know him from different vantage points of our lives with him. He was my father, he was grandfather to a lot of children, some of whom he helped raise, he was an inspiration to all of us.

He was amazed with life and its relentless evolution.  He and I spent many days talking about his experiences, expectations and observations of life and it’s constant change. Vivid retelling of the snowy nighttime move into the Kansas farmhouse they borrowed from a family that couldn’t find a renter during the depression because like many other families during that time and place they had no money and no place to stay. Grandfather worked hard to keep the family eating and warm. Jobs came and went. Most were more of a wish and a prayer than a real job but he managed to keep the family afloat.

Before the war he tried flying and told me many times how amazing it is to him today that then he was able to get in a small plane and take it to 3500 feet as instructed and stall it. Fear was not a thought he felt when the nose of the plane flopped down toward the ground and began to sweep around the horizon. If it turned more than three times he was to climb out the small window and parachute to the ground. What were the chances he thought of that working: just getting out that little window with your parachute would be a miracle and then it was a high probability the tail would clobber you and you would impact the ground unconscious. It was all just fun to him at the time chasing chickens with an air plane scaring everyone but himself.

His emotional contrast near the end of his life was so different to him that the early life felt slightly more of a dream than a memory. Near the end the fear of death and what form that might take became a topic we discussed. Dad and veteran Bataan survivors liked to call themselves the battling bastards of Bataan after they defeated and survived all that the Japanese could throw at them. One of his favorite stories was from the movie “Grumpy Old Men” where Jack Lemon says to Walter Mathau did you hear about ……? He died in his sleep last night, to which Walter’s character says “lucky bastard”. Dad was as he had hoped; “a lucky bastard”.

Weldon Hamilton photo by Don Hamilton
  • Weldon one month before he passed away enjoying a little walk.

This is the same man who learned Japanese at the end of a bat like club and stood near ground zero of the Nagasaki nuclear bomb strike and witnessed the fireball rise about the carnage and destruction of the worlds first nuclear war. As was dad’s view of the world he described the beauty of the cloud, light and color and did not focus on the obvious horror.

Our mother Dora Jean Bronaugh known as Jean Hamilton to our extended family and us as mom would tell dad that it disturbed her that dads recanting of the days of prison and torture seldom focused on the torture but most often on the wonder and beauty while giving us a whimsical insight into human interaction with his slightly cocked, crooked, wry smile.

After all that he experienced he always focused us on god and the value of each human including those that had tortured him and held him captive for 3 and ½ years. He was a Bataan death march survivor, he loved life, family and friends. He always said I’m not a hero just a survivor. Not to us..

Bronze Star

Purple Heart

Unit Citation with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters

American Defense Ribbon with one star

Philippines Defense Ribbon with 1 star

Philippines Independence Ribbon

Weldon Hamilton

Asiatic-Pacific Theater Ribbon

Victory Medal World War II

American Theater Ribbon

National Defense Service Medal

Good Conduct Medal

Battles and Campaigns:

Philippine Islands

Air Offensive Japan

Camp O’Donnell


Hell Ship

Camp 17 Japan

Photo Weldens mother had taken as he joined the military

I love what you wrote about Grandpa, but I feel as if you left out the most important part, he was ready to see his Jeanne again. I feel that it should be noted the love they had for one another to the end. He stood by her and longed to be with her after she was gone. As you said, we all know him from different vantage points of our lives, and the way I have found myself remembering him, is as the man standing by his wife showing not only her, but the world the unconditional love, (the best kind of love), he had for her. I remember visiting them after the cancer treatments had taken her hair, made her frail, and unable to do some of the thing she loved most in life, and he walked over to her kissed her on the head and looked at her with all the love and passion of a newly wed man, in his eyes she was always his beautiful bride. I believe I can say without a doubt that he was happy to be going home to his Lord, our God, and his Jeanne.


“Robby” Robert Alexander Bennett

7/28/80 - 6/14/07

Robert Alexander Bennett

Your eyes and smile could light up a room. Your passing was so sudden and unexpected. Your friendship and love are held deep within all of us, whom you have touched forever.

Robby you are so very loved and so dearly missed.

Robby Bennett

He is survived by his family..

his parents, Belinda & Bob; his brothers, Dave, Don and Richard, and sister Jeani; his brother Dave’s wife Nicole, son Nicholas, daughters Lillian and Jessica; his sister Jeani’s daughter Franceska;

Robbie Bennett

his grandfather, Weldon his cousins who knew him like a brother, Dustin and Sara;

and all his aunts, uncles, cousins, family and friends.


Robbie and Weldon

All thoughts and prayers are heartfelt during this difficult time.



Viewing 5-8 PM Wednesday 6/20/07
Service 10 am Thursday 6/21/07

Shrine of Remembrance
1730 East Fountain Blvd.
Colorado Springs, CO


Raymond Hamilton

Raymond Curtis Hamilton, 90, Salina, died Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2007.
He was born May 2, 1916 in Salina, Kansas. His parents were Nial and Flora Hamilton. He had four brothers, Glenn, Lloyd, Harold, and Frank and one sister Ada. He grew up on a farm south of Bennington, Kansas and graduated from Bennington High School in 1934. He joined the Army Air Corp in 1936 and was stationed at Randolph Field in Texas. He served 32 years in the United States Air Force stationed at Duxford, England during WWII and in Japan for 2 years, returning to Salina where he met and married Marjorie Graves in 1949. He is survived by his wife Joyce Hamilton, his sons: Raymond Hamilton Jr. and his wife Diane of Courtland, Alabama; Ron Bullock and his wife Pat of Colleyville, Texas; Bruce Bullock and his wife Jane of Genesee, Colorado and Brian Hamilton and his wife Carey of Grand Island, Nebraska; 8 grandchildren, 11 great grandchildren and 1 great great grandchild.
They were stationed at March AFB in Riverside, California, Guam, Schilling AFB in Salina, Kansas and 2 tours at Offutt AFB in Bellevue, Nebraska. Raymond retired from the Air Force as a chief Master Sergeant in 1968. He was Safety Engineer in Omaha and then Chicago, Illinois retiring in 1984. He received the Outstanding Insurance agent of the Year from American Mutual. They returned to their childhood home of Salina, Kansas in 1992. His wife Marjorie passed away in 2001 in Salina. He married Joyce King in January of 2005 in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands and they resided at Eaglecrest in Salina, Kansas. He loved to discuss aviation and was an avid reader and loved history. He worked on several campaigns for his nephew Bill Graves. He was so loved by his nieces, nephews and grandchildren and they will miss him dearly.

Service will be held January 12, at 2 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church, 122 N. 8th, in Salina. Pastor Troy Bowers will officiate the service. Visitation will be at Roselawn Heights Memorial Chapel Thursday evening, January 11, from 1-8 p.m. where the family will receive friends from 6-8 p.m. Memorials may be made to The First United Methodist Church or to the Tammy Walker Cancer Treatment Center. Burial will be at the Roselawn Memorial Park in Salina, Ks.


By Don Hamilton

Don Hamilton

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