North High School Wall of Honor
J. Wade Hammer
Class of June, 1933
Research done by Claradell Shedd, Class of 1953. PAGE IN PROGRESS
J. Wade Hammer

Wade graduated from North High School in June, 1933. His service number was ________. Wade's next of kin was listed as Mrs. Lillian Clemons, 693 19th Street, Des Moines, IA.

J. Wade Hammer
Year   Rank   Status
June, 1933   Graduated   Graduated from North High School, Des Moines, IA.
1945 x US Navy x Enlisted in US Navy. Boot training at Norfolk, VA
1945 x Training x Training for Seabees at Port Hueneme, CA to become a water tender. US Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 121. Graduated from Naval Construction Training Center, Port Hueneme, CA
1945 x Enroute x *USS Island Mail departed Port Hueneme, CA headed for Solomon Islands. Worked in Fire Department in Solomon Islands.
date x Enroute x From Seabees, assigned to "military government".
date   Enroute x Arrived in Okinawa.
date x Enroute x Okinawa to U.S..
date x Discharged x Discharged where and when?
date x Family x Married to ?
date x Employment x Where and when?
date x Employment x Where and when?
Present x Retired x Retired and living in Sun City, CA
US Seabees
The Seabees, or SeaBees, are the Construction Battalions (CBs) of the United States Navy. The Seabees have a history of building bases, bulldozing and paving thousands of miles of roadway and airstrips, and accomplishing myriad other construction projects in a wide variety of military theatres dating back to World War II.

The original Naval Construction Battalion 121, commissioned during World War II, served closely with the U. S. Marine Corps. It even received a designation as the Third Battalion, 20th Marines, Fourth Marine Division.

While waiting for the Fourth Marine Division to be formed, these Seabees constructed facilities at Camp Pendleton, California.
When deployed to the South Pacific in early 1944, the battalion served in the Marshall Islands in support of the Marines, and then island-hopped, eventually arriving at Saipan and its neighbor, Tinian. At Saipan, captured enemy airfields were repaired, while heavy fighting was still underway. After landing in Tinian, the battalion installed landing ramps, helped build 8500-foot runways for B-29 bombers, built control towers, taxiways, hard stands, fuel pipelines, and a tank farm. The Presidential Unit Citation was awarded for its part in the assaults on the two islands. At the end of World War II the battalion was decommissioned. 121st Naval Construction Battalion
Design: C2-SU Sun SB & DD Company, Chester, Pennsylvania
Breakbulk MC-111 to 113 (Diesel/3 built) China Mail (I), Island Mail, China Mail (II) (ex-Japan Mail)
*These three vessels were built as Motorships by Sun for the American Mail Line. The CHINA MAIL was acquired at delivery date by the Maritime Commission and transferred to British Ministry of War Transport under the terms of the Lend Lease Act. Renamed to EMPIRE PEREGRINE, she returned in April 1942 to U.S. Flag and Registry, retained her name, and was converted to a troop transport for war service. She was operated by American Mail Line as Sub-agent for the War Shipping Administration. In December 1947 she returned from operations and was laid up. Finally removed from Reserve Fleet in January 1948, she was sold to American Mail Line in May 1948 and renamed to OCEAN MAIL. Title transferred to Marad in August 1959 and vessel chartered back from Marad. Removed from operations in August 1962 and laid up at Olympia Reserve Fleet. The second vessed, the ISLAND MAIL, also converted to a troop transport. In January 1947 returned to American Mail Line and reconverted, she served for the Company up to August 1959 when the title was transferred to the Maritime Administration and the vessel was chartered back. In April 1962 removed from service and laid up at the Olympia Reserve Fleet. The history of the third vessel is similar to her sister ships. Launched as JAPAN MAIL, she was renamed CHINA MAIL (II) after her sister ship was transferred to the British. Like the other ships, she was converted to a troop transport. Returned to American Mail Line in October 1946, reconverted, and served up to August 1959 by American Mail when the title was transferred to Marad and the vessel was chartered by American Mail. In February 1962 removed from operation, the vessel was laid up at Olympia Reserve Fleet. All three vessels were sold in June 1968 to Zidell's Exploration Corp. for scrapping. Physically delivered July 1968. OCEAN and ISLAND MAIL were scrapped in Tacoma, Washington (as of 12/19/68 and 08/18/69) and CHINA MAIL was scrapped at Portland, Oregon as of 02/13/69.

left: Solomon Islands
below: photo of J.Wade Hammer with
fire hose at Solomon Islands
J. Wade Hammer
Watertender 3rd Class/WT3C?
US Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 121?
United States Navy
US Navy Seal

Naval Construction Center; Port Hueneme, CA

Navy Seabees
Photo of J. Wade Hammer
in iniform

US Navy Insignia

Get correct patch: Navy Watertender 3rd Class
Get correct rank: Seaman Sleeve Stripes

Get list of medals: WWII Victory Medal

(Get correct list of medals) Victory Medal
(1) Information was obtained from the Records on Military Personnel Who Died, were Missing in Action, or Prisoners of War as a result of the Vietnam War. This document can be found online at the National Archives and Records Administration at

(2) The comprehensive list of names from North High's 1893-2018 graduation classes are from Claradell Shedd's North Des Moines High School website. The names of North High School graduates can be found online at: J. Wade Hammer's 1933 class page is:
11/13/11. Living in CA.
Music: "Anchors Aweigh"
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