Cleveland veteran tells his story of serving on a Merchant Marine Ship in WWII


Ron Sellers grew up in Williamson County in Middle Tennessee.

"Farm boy, went to school Franklin High School, graduated in May 1943," Mr. Sellers said. "Joined the Navy on July 7th, 1943."

Mr. Sellers' older brother and step brother were already in the war in the Army.

"We were farming. We were operating a farm and milking forty cows, and I'll be honest with you I wanted to get away from those cows, really did," Mr. Sellers said.

So he told his father he wanted to go fight in World War II

"I said 'you were in the Navy in the first World War, and I want to be the other sailor in this family,'" Mr. Sellers said.

They sent him to training in California

"By the time I had been there a month, standing on that grinder at parade rest with nothing over my nose, all the skin burned off of it from one end to the other," Mr. Sellers said. "I'd have really liked to have been milking cows for a little while."

Mr Sellers was part of a Navy gun crew on a Merchant Marine Ship.

"In our convoy, since I was the only signalman on the ship, I had to be on duty 24 hours a day," Mr. Sellers said. "They put me a cot on the bridge, and when I went to sleep. I slept on that cot all the way to Honolulu."

From there he spent 8 months in the Pacific. He then worked on a tug boat near Tampa Bay, and then was sent to New Orleans and Cuba.

"Someone has said that an Army is only as good as its supply line, and that's what we were doing supplying the troops," Mr. Sellers said. "I've told people, you know, before I didn't do anything heroic during the war I just rode ships and carried supplies to the troops is what I did. I really wasn't in a combat zone that much."

He was on those ships with a small group of Navy sailors in case the boats were attacked.

"'45 when the war was over We were in the South Pacific," Mr. Sellers said.

He got out of the Navy in March of '46. He met his wife in April. They got married in August, and are still married 72 years later.

Ron Sellers is now 93 years old. He says serving in the war is one of the most important things he's ever done.

"Circumstances change your life you know, and that changed my life completely," Mr. Sellers said. "I found out that you know you're not a man just because you're 18 years old. You know, it took me a while to find that out."

After leaving his father's farm and going to war he went to college at UT Knoxville to study farming.

He later went back to work on a farm. He eventually grew tired of that, and had a long career in the insurance business.

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