FOUKE, Ark. -- Howard Friday had a couple of older brothers in the Navy who were already in World War II. And then Howard came of age for the draft. His brothers had some advice for him.
Born almost 100 years ago and raised on a farm near Fouke, Arkansas, Howard would follow his brothers into the Navy at age 20.
The war was raging in Europe and the Pacific. Howard decided his brothers were right about the Navy.
“That beat crawlin' and hidin' on your stomach and carrying a gun and this, that and the other," he says.
And the Navy sent Howard to the Merchant Marine, which, during the war, meant he was on a ship to deliver personnel, equipment, and supplies for the military.
“I was a gunner. We stood watch and had a battle station in case the alarm sounded. Looked for stuff we didn't want to see, such as German submarines," Howard said.
He remembers docking in lots of places, from Northern Africa, and up to Europe and Iceland.
"I got my part done. Proud I did. And I was never ashamed that I did my part in the Navy," Howard said.
And later this year, Howard will hit his 100th birthday.
“Feel like I'm going to be a century!" Howard said with a laugh. "Feel pretty good, I guess. I've never talked to a person 100 years old."
Howard’s two older brothers also made it home safely from the war. Howard returned to Miller County and worked almost three decades at Red River Army Depot -- still helping in our nation’s defense.