BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Shortly after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, then 17-year-old Winans “Cotton” Lloyd walked into his local recruiting office to enlist in whatever branch of service he could.
He served on the USS Bunker Hill, an aircraft carrier in the Pacific Theater.
“Back then everybody was joining up. so we belonged to something,” Cotton said. “It was a big, big war we had and if you didn’t get involved in it you were kind of an outcast. Everyone had to volunteer for something, something you could get into you know.”
That ended up being the Navy, where he served as a deckhand on the USS Bunker Hill CV-17.
“Aircraft carrier was good duty,” Cotton said. It’s a big floating city. A thousand feet long."
The aircraft carrier saw its fair share of combat in the Pacific Theater. In 1945 it was crippled after a kamikaze attack.
Now at the age of 95, most of the memories of when he served have started to fade. He has lost more memories than most will have but one thing he will never forget, his call to service.
“It was a big, big war we had on and if you didn’t get involved in it you were an outcast,” he said. “Everybody had to volunteer for something, whatever you could get in to.”
Now, 74 years after he returned home he hopes stories like his are not lost to father time.
“It’s been a long time ago, man. I can tell you that. I enjoyed every bit of it.”
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