While living in Midway, Florida, the Army drafted Ernest J. Ford after the attack on Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941. After entering the service, the 22-year-old Ford was assigned to Pearl Harbor Dec. 14, 1941. Ford was involved in the task force that was assigned the cleanup of the harbor after the Japanese attack on the island. Ford served in the Army from 1941 to 1943.
After the Army discharged him, Ford attended Bethune Cookman College in Daytona Beach, Florida, and later attended a trade school for masonry. He was unable to find employment due to discrimination against his race after completing trade school, so he worked on his father’s farm before relocating with his brothers to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Ford worked for Turner Construction in Philadelphia until his retirement. He was also an active member of the Great Saint Matthews Church, acting as an usher and attending services into his late 80s. Ford enjoyed horse and dog racing, going to casinos and spending time with his extended family. He also returned to Hawaii in 2009—66 years after his service at the age of 89.
Ford passed away Sept. 6, 2019, at the age of 100.
We honor his service.
Nominate a Veteran for #VeteranOfTheDay
Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.
It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. All it takes is an email to email@example.com with as much information as you can put together, along with some good photos. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.
Writer: Sarah Concepcion
Graphic artist: Robert McPherson