The Norman Transcript

October 8, 2013

Veteran spent nine months in a bunker

By David Hopper
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Roy Hamilton was born in Norman in August 1930. He attended Wilson Elementary School, where he wrote the Fight Song, “Oh, Here Come the Wilson Wildcats,” with two friends.

He started in four sports in high school, receiving 10 letters. In the 1948 North-South all-state basketball game, he was high point man and was selected as MVP. He then attended OU on a dual Football-Basketball scholarship; he played freshman football under Bud Wilkinson and freshman basketball under Bruce Drake.

He remembers, however, that he excelled a little too much at the pool hall and had to transfer to Oklahoma A&M, where he played under the great Henry Iba.

Hamilton was drafted in February 1951. While assigned to the 31st Infantry Division, he trained as a combat demolition expert and received advanced ranger training. He eventually was assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division in Korea.

Having been certified as a combat demolition expert, a very hazardous job, he quickly accepted the opportunity to serve in the security unit of the A.G. section. Since he dealt with intelligence and security data, he was one of three enlisted men in the unit to have a top secret clearance.

The system used to determine when a soldier would rotate home was based on points. Rear positions would receive one or two points per month while forward positions would receive three or four points. The points were determined by location and how often the unit was under enemy fire.

Hamilton’s unit, G-1, 2nd Inf. Div. Fwd, was stationed approximately two miles behind the 38th parallel at “Old Baldy.” From June 1952 until he rotated home in February 1953, he lived in an underground bunker.

One of the most memorable events for Roy was in 1952 when he was selected for the honor guard when Gen. Eisenhower, then running for president, visited Korea.

After the war. Hamilton attended OU for another two semesters, but he is still a few credit hours short of his degree. He leased a business on Campus Corner from his uncle from 1953 to 1960, The Campus Check Exchange and Bankette.

He then became director of advertising and vice president of plastic sales for Jameco Inc., a manufacturing company in Moore. He later formed his own companies, Dallas Royal Plastics and Maroy Enterprises, from which he is retired.

He met his future wife, Mary Alice, in 1955 after reading an article and seeing her picture in “The Oklahoman.” Mary was a cosmetologist and beauty shop owner. They also owned four taverns and private clubs in the Norman and Oklahoma City area.

Roy and Mary were married 37 years before she died in 1992. Hamilton played an instrumental part in getting the James Garner Statue erected on Main Street. Garner and Hamilton are life-long friends. Hamilton was also on the committee that was responsible for funding, designing and building the Cleveland County Veterans Memorial at Reaves Park.

This year, the Norman Veterans Committee is sponsoring the Veterans’ Day Parade at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 9. The parade will proceed down Jenkins Street to the Cleveland County Veterans Memorial at Reaves Park, where a ceremony will begin at 11:30 a.m.

Ret. Lt. Gen. Harry M. “Bud” Wyatt, a former adjutant general for Oklahoma and director of the Air National Guard in the Pentagon, will be the keynote speaker. The theme for the parade this year is “Red, White and Blue — Veterans on the March.”

Organizers would like to see honor guards, marching bands, floats, motorcycle groups and car clubs all with the same underlying desire: to honor our veterans.

Groups or organizations wishing to participate in the parade may download an application from normanfun.com. The deadline for parade entries is Oct. 31.

For more information, please contact the Parks and Recreation Department at 366-5472.