Greeneville WWII veteran says Army shaped his century of life

CHUCKEY, Tenn. (WJHL)- World War II veteran Jack Hope has lived a lot of life in his 100 years, but he said being in the Army is what shaped him.

”I didn’t want to go. I didn’t want to go to the Army,” Hope said. “You don’t want to volunteer to fight with guns at all. I mean they made us go.”

Hope had never been out of Greeneville before being drafted into the Army. He only had a 5th-grade education.

“I went in as a baby. I was 18 years old. I never would’ve been away from home,” he said.

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The Army took him to England, France, Belgium, Holland and Germany.

“It was just my section that worked on guns. There were 16 of us in two sections,” he said. “There was a section that worked on trucks, worked on watches, binoculars, and just about anything you had to do, we done.”

Hope was a Tec-3 small arms mechanic and served with the 295th Ordinance Heavy Maintenance Field Army in the European Theater of Operations. He repaired 30 and 50-caliber machine guns.

“I worked on smaller guns, rifles, and smaller machine guns,” he said.

Hope inspected the manual operations of the weapons to check for malfunctions.

“There were 178 men in my outfit. We’re all gone but one, as far as I know,” he said.

On Jan. 17, Hope turned 100 years old. News Channel 11 asked him what it felt like to reach the milestone.

“It feels like an old man. I feel good,” Hope said.

His family traveled from hundreds of miles away to celebrate.

“They won’t let you do a lot of things, get out here and drive and ride motorcycles and things like that,” he said. “It feels good to be 100 and able to go.”

Hope said his time in the Army gave him discipline and made him the man he is.

“I think it’s a good thing if every young man goes in [to the service for] one or two years, they would grow up and act like men and women,” he said. “I wouldn’t take nothing for what I experienced in the Army in World War II.”

Hope told News Channel 11 the secret to making it to 100 years old is to live for the Lord, and he plans to make it to 105.

To nominate a veteran life for News Channel 11’s weekly Veterans Voices feature, click here.

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