LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - A World War II veteran who served his country in two different branches as was honored for it Friday. With friends and family at Longview's Alpine Church of Christ, Bill Vinson celebrated his 90th birthday.
"I can't tell any difference from yesterday," he says.
Vinson is a man who pulled double duty during World War II, was a Merchant Marine and then joined the Army.
"Merchant Marine maritime service - I was a radio operator," Vinson says.
With the Merchant Marine, he helped move war materials while under the constant threat of submarine attacks.
"You were conscious of it. The most dangerous spot was off of Cape Hatteras North Carolina. A lot of subs were hanging out there," he says.
"One of them I was on the trip before the Vermont, the next trip it was sunk. One in every 26 merchant marines died," says Vinson.
He joined the army and began training fighting men.
"Other people's lives and jobs depended on him and he always stepped up to the plate. I am a big supporter of the military, and so he is definitely a hero to me," says daughter Carrie Chisum.
His special birthday present was a citation from the Wounded Warriors Foundation. Vinson jokes about the word "hero."
"I don't remember anyone ever saying I was a hero," he says.
"I wouldn't be the person I am today without his example," Carrie says.
He has a simple word for everyone who's said thank you for his service.
"You're welcome," he says.
Vinson lives in retirement at Eastman Estates, with lots of visits from his extended family.