On Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020, Ed Hammond, beloved husband, father and friend, went to the arms of our Heavenly Father, at age 78.
Edwin (Ed) George Hammond was born Aug.15, 1942 in Orange, Calif. He attended Excelsior Union High School in Norwalk, Calif., and graduated in June 1960.
On July 12, 1960 he enlisted in the U.S. Navy at the naval receiving station in Los Angeles, Calif. After training school, in March 1961, he was transferred to Heavy Attack Squadron 123 (VAH-123) at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash., for training on ordnance maintenance on the A3-D Skywarrior. In May 1961, he was transferred to VAH-4, where he deployed to the Far East on board the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Lexington (CVA-16). In June 1962, Ed was transferred to Fleet Air Recon Squadron One (VQ-1) at Naval Air Station Atsugi, Japan. During this tour in Japan, he was promoted from aviation ordnanceman 3rd class to 2nd class and re-enlisted for six years. In August 1963, Ed was transferred to Naval Air Tech Training Unit in Jacksonville, Fla., for AO “B” school. After which, he was transferred back to Whidbey Island to Heavy 10 (VAH-10) and deployed on board the carrier U.S.S. Constellation (CVA-64). During this deployment to the Far East aboard the Constellation, he participated in the arming of the first air strikes against the North Vietnamese in the Gulf of Tonkin. In May 1965, Ed returned from deployment and was assigned shore duty as a weapons instructor with Heavy Attack Squadron 123. He taught special weapons delivery to pilots and B/Ns. He also taught conventional weapons loading for the A3-B Skywarrior and the A6-A Intruder. He helped write the first conventional weapons loading checklist for the venerable A-6. In 1967, Ed was promoted to AO first class, and married the love of his life, Darlene A. Roberts.
Between 1967-69, he was transferred to Attack Squadron (VA-128) as an instructor, and Attack Squadron (VA-145) for sea duty. In January 1969, aboard the Carrier U.S.S. Enterprise (CVAN-65) heading for Vietnam, a fire broke out on the flight deck which set off high explosive bombs, missiles, and 20mm ammo. This accident left over 80 aircraft destroyed or damaged and resulted in a loss of 32 lives, with over 300 injuries. On Feb. 24, 1969, Ed separated from the service and returned to Oak Harbor, Wash. He worked as a driver for Oak Harbor Freight Lines for just over a year, and then joined Fakkema & Kingma Inc. Surveyors and Consulting Engineers in Oak Harbor, where he spent the remainder of his working career. That following month, he joined the Naval Reserves with Patrol Squadron (VP-69) at NAS Whidbey Island where he flew as an aircrewman in the SP2H (P2V-7) Neptune. During the next 19 years with VP-69, Ed flew over 350 hours in the P-2 and over 2500 hours in the P3-A/B Orion aircraft. During these years with the Naval Reserves he was promoted from first class petty officer to senior chief. He retired in January 1990 with over 28 years of service.
By this time, Ed and Darlene were raising three children, Edwin (b. 1969), Brandon (b. 1972), and Melody (b. 1980).
Ed started out with Fakkema & Kingma as a rear chainman and worked his way up to chief of party. He was very active with the State Land Surveyor’s Association and awarded the first ever State’s Associate Surveyor of the Year Award in 1983. He later acted as the manager of field operations for the firm. Ed was active as one of the plank owners of the Association of Aviation Ordnancemen, Chapter Three of Whidbey Island. He served as secretary/treasurer for the local chapter and, later, was editor of the national newsletter, “The Red Shirt,” which he named.
Ed belonged to the following organizations: First Reformed Church of Oak Harbor; Association of Aviation Ordnancemen; VFW; Oak Harbor Toastmasters; PBY Memorial Foundation board of directors; Land Surveyors Association of Washington; American Congress of Surveying and Mapping; three-term president of the Whidbey Cruzers Classic Car Club of Oak Harbor; and curator of the PBY Memorial Foundation Historical Museum at the Naval Seaplane Base in Oak Harbor.
In his last several years, he also became involved in the Heritage Flight Museum, located at Skagit Regional Airport, as a docent. He also worked on the restoration of the T-34 Mentor. He was so honored to be a part of the Heritage Flight Museum and it brought him so much joy.
If you had the pleasure of knowing Ed, you’d know he was never out of jokes and never lost his humor, even during his final days. He was a man of honesty, integrity, and steadfast devotion to his family, his friends, his career and his faith. He spent many years researching his and Darlene’s family lineage and visiting places of family history. He could tell you every detail and fact about historical wars and when he spoke of the military, it was thick with pride.
A week before his death, he still claimed he could break down a .50 caliber machine gun and put it back together in the dark. Whether you knew him from being that dude who drove the 19-foot-long 1967 Buick Electra 225 convertible emblazoned in Corvette yellow and sweet ghost flames (aka, the “EdSled”), or from spending years working alongside him, either in the surveying field or air field, you knew a man who loved his life and loved those in it.
Darlene, his loving wife and best friend, was at the center of everything he did and they loved to travel with friends, especially from First Reformed Church and the Cruzers.
Ed was preceded in death by his father, Charles Edwin; mother, Leona; and sister, Trish.
He is survived by his beautiful bride of 54 years, Darlene; children, Ed, Brandon and Melody; youngest sister, Betsy; and six grandchildren of whom he was so incredibly proud, Amelia, Jared, Alexis, Andrew, Holland and Savannah.
Family and friends are encouraged to share memories and condolences at www.whidbeymemorial.com