JAMES WESLEY HAMMOND, JR.
COLONEL USMC (RET.)
Wes Hammond enlisted in November 1946 and was appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy in July 1947. Upon graduation and commissioning as a second lieutenant USMC in June 1951, he reported to Marine Corps Schools, Quantico, Virginia, for duty under instruction in the 9th Special Basic Class. From there he was assigned as a replacement in the Far East as a platoon leader in the 1st Battalion, Fifth Marines, 1st Marine Division. He was wounded in action in Korea; returning to Quantico as a tactics instructor in The Basic School.
Promoted to first lieutenant in December 1952 and to captain in March 1954, he was transferred to the 1st Battalion, Sixth Marines, 2nd Marine Division in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. As a company commander, he served with that battalion afloat in the Mediterranean embarked in USS MARQUETTE. Subsequently, he was battalion S-4 (Logistics Officer) during amphibious exercises in the Caribbean. He briefly served at Headquarters Marine Corps in Company F, the State Department Security Company before being transferred to the West Coast.
In Camp Pendleton, California, Captain Hammond was S-3 (Operations Officer) of the 1st Battalion, Fifth Marines, 1st Marine Division until December 1957. He became aide-de-camp to Major General David M. Shoup, (Subsequently the 22nd Commandant of the Marne Corps) Commanding General, 1st Marine Division. In January 1958, Captain Hammond accompanied Major General Shoup to Okinawa where the latter assumed command of the 3rd Marine Division and the former remained as aide until the General's detachment in May 1959.
Captain Hammond returned to The Basic School as a tactics instructor and then commanded a student company. In March 1961, he attended Communications Officers' Course. Completing it he was assigned to the 2nd Marine Division in Camp Lejeune. Initially, he was a battery commander in the 1st Battalion, Tenth Marines. Selected for major in October 1961, he became Communications Officer of the Tenth Marines. He deployed in that billet for the Cuban missile crisis in the fall of 1962 and upon return became the Executive
Officer of the 4th Battalion, Tenth Marines and then Commanding Officer.
In August 1964, Major Hammond returned to Quantico as the Managing Editor of the Marine Corps Gazette. Promoted to lieutenant colonel, he "fleeted up" to Editor and Publisher in the summer of 1966. He went overseas in 1967.
Reporting to the 3rd Marine Division on 18 July 1967, he took command of
the 2nd Battalion, Fourth Marines ("The Magnificent Bastards") on 19 July and was in a firefight that night. Initially, the battalion operated from Camp Evans near Phong Dien. In early September, the battalion was under operational control of the Ninth Marines in northern Quang Tri Province. During seven weeks of daily firefights and shelling from artillery along the DMZ the battalion was considerably reduced in strength and withdrawn to reserve at Dong Ha. In late October 2/4 was again operating in the DMZ area around Con Thien. On 28 October, Lieutenant Colonel Hammond was wounded and evacuated. Upon return to duty, he was Division Plans Officer. He was wounded in action again on 25 March 1968 and when recovered became Plans Officer of the Provisional Corps, U.S. Army in the northern provinces. He left Vietnam in July 1968 and reported to Quantico.
From 1968 until June 1971, Lieutenant Colonel Hammond was Head, Command
Department, Marine Corps Command & Staff College. He taught research and writing plus command and staff action to 120 senior officers each year. In July 1971, he reported to Fleet Marine Force, Pacific in Hawaii where he was Public Affairs Officer. Selected for colonel in the summer of 1971, he became Protocol Officer and Aide to Admiral John S. McCain, Jr. USN, Commander-in-Chief, Pacific. When Admiral McCain retired in the fall of 1972, Colonel Hammond became Plans Officer, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific. Leaving Hawaii in the summer of 1974, he reported to Marine Corp Base, Camp Pendleton, California, as Assistant Chief of Staff. He retired to Reno, Nevada, on 1 September 1975. After obtaining a M.A. in Journalism he taught Journalism at the University of Nevada-Reno. In 1983, he answered a "call" to become Director of Publications for the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association and editor of its monthly magazine Shipmate, in Annapolis. He retired from the Alumni Association on 1 April 1994 and returned to Reno.
Wes Hammond is the author of more than 50 professional articles in such diverse publications as Marine Corps Gazette, Naval Institute Proceedings, The New York Times, American Way, The Compass, Army, Command, Writer's Digest, California Living, The Hook, Leatherneck, Relevance and others. He was the subject of a profile in Military History. His Poison Gas - The Myths versus Reality (Greenwood Press, Westport, Conn. 1999) is a plea for a common sense approach to the threat of gas warfare lest we be held hostage to the fear of the unknown generated by more than 80 years of misinformation and half-truths about gas. Gas in the hands of rogue nations or terrorists should be the basis for defensive measures not panic. His The Treaty Navy - The Story of the U.S. Naval Service Between the World Wars (Wesley Press, Reno, Nevada 2001) narrates how the U.S. overcame pacifist opposition, a stingy Congress and isolationist attitudes to the balanced fleet with its multitude of innovative thinkers at the helm to win the greatest naval war in history in the Pacific. It wasn't a debate over weaponry, i.e., "battleship admirals" vs. "carrier admirals" but one of where will be the arena? The volume is filled with anecdotes of naval personalities as well as with the narrative of events of the years between the wars. He also wrote Chapter 11, "The United States Marine Corps" of Naval Ceremonies, Customs, and Traditions, Sixth Edition Naval (Institute Press, Annapolis, MD. 2004.)
Including foreign decorations and unit citations, Wes Hammond has a dozen combat awards, six battle stars on campaign ribbons and the usual "travelogue" of service ribbons and accompanying medals which accrue over more than a quarter of a century of active service.
In addition to a B.S. from the U.S. Naval Academy, Wes Hammond has a M.A. (International Law, 1969) from the Catholic University of America and a M.A. (Journalism, 1981) from the University of Nevada.
Then-Captain Hammond married Donna Marie Selby of Brighton, Colorado, on Okinawa in March 1959. They have three children: LtCol. James W., III USMC Naval Academy '82 (combat veteran of DESERT STORM and the initial landing in Somalia) now Director, Commandant's Staff Group at HQMC in the Pentagon; Mrs. Bruce A. (Victoria A.) Campbell of Annapolis; former Army Commissioned Warrant Officer John W., an aviator, now with the Nevada National Guard and living in Reno; and seven grandchildren, James W. IV (Jake), Charlotte S., Jonathan W. and Justin W. Hammond; Mary Kathleen (Mae Kate) Martha Elaine and Margaret Beverly Campbell. Colonel and Mrs. Hammond make their home in Reno but spend football season in Annapolis.