PERRY, Ga. — Not every veteran that served in World War II traveled to the Pacific -- some made a difference here at home.
W. T. Jones lives in Marshallville, and at one point, he gave up a high school diploma to join the war effort.
"I was in the ninth grade when they hit Pearl Harbor, "Jones said. "Just jittery -- I couldn't wait to get in the service, and every day, you'd hear them talking about the Marines and I wanted to go into the Marines anyway."
W.T. Jones did become a Marine during World War II. "And I went through Paris Island it took 12 weeks and I went through Camp Lejeune," he said.
He was Semper Fi with restrictions. The 91-year-old, just a teenager back then, was too young to see combat.
"Not being of age in World War II -- you had to be 18 -- the ones they sent overseas was between the ages of 18 and 38, and that left me out," he explained.
But not left out of service. The Marines shipped him to Quantico, Virginia.
"And we opened up a separation center and the soldiers that had been over there the longest, they got in first and they knew the war was almost over, so they started discharging the soldiers," he said.
He talked to the men, he heard their stories.
"Most of them was happy to get home and get out -- you know, they said they'd like to get it behind them because there was so much that they seen over there that they didn't want to see again and they knew they'd be seeing it as nightmares," Jones explained. "And I talked with several that said they was glad to be home."
Those words sank in, and now, looking back on it all, the boy who was so gung-ho became the man that is thankful things worked out the way they did. "I was glad it was over with myself because I considered myself lucky."
Today, the marine has a different mission. W.T. married the love of his life when he got out of the service in 1949. Her name is Thelma. She recently had a stroke, so she is in Summer Hill Nursing Home. That's where W.T. comes twice a day to feed her her meals.
The mission to care for his wife of 70 years is one he doesn't mind. W.T. says he and his wife never talked about the war much -- they both lost friends and family.
"I lost three cousins in World War II, and that hurt me quite a bit, and I lost a lot of good friends, and that's something hard to get over," Jones said.
Today, he's at peace and still proud that he served the country.
"Once a Marine, always a Marine," Jones said proudly.
This past year, W.T. and a bunch of local veterans took an honor flight to Washington D.C.
W.T. says he wants to encourage any veteran that gets the chance to take the flight. He called it the trip of his life.