Pampa WWII Vet passes war wisdom on to great grandson

Pampa WWII Vet passes war wisdom on to great grandson

PAMPA, TX -- At 92 years old, Alvin Cornelison can't keep up with how many grandchildren and great-grandchildren he has, but he remembers the early 1940s all too well.

"I've been in no man's land three times," he said. "There were enemies on both sides and on my way to my outfit I had to go up into that and back down out to them...pretty scary."

Cornelison entered the Army on March 20, 1941, just months before the United States got involved in World War II.

Most of his four and a half year service he spent on a motorcycle traveling through enemy territory in the dead of night to deliver messages, or leading convoys of tanks and armored cars.

"I was shot at by snipers," Cornelison said. "They were shooting through that alfalfa and it sounded like a bunch of bees going by. My Captain wanted to know what was wrong, he was in an armored car right behind me, I said somebody's shooting at me over there on the side, and he got on the radio and told the tank to shoot a shell over there in that field. Well I don't know how many flags came up out of that alfalfa but there was a bunch."

Cornelison has lived in Texas since returning from war.

He's been married to his wife Naomi for 68 years, and after surviving the horrors of WWII, he's cherished every minute.

"We've raised four children. We've got grandkids and great grandkids and getting ready to have a great great grandkid," he said. "We have a large family, a loving family."

This Veteran's Day he'll celebrate with his big family, including great grandson Nick Wells who is home from basic training for the Marines. "My great granddad, he inspired me a lot," Wells said. "I hate to see our boys and girls grow up to be soldiers and whatever, Marines.

Because you don't know where you're going to go, or what you're going to do," Cornelison said. But Cornelison says he knows Nick will do well because he's taught him what's at stake.

"When you join, you're willing to go to war, you may not, but you're still willing to leave. And that's honorable," Wells said.