Alonzo W. Coon
U. S. Navy
WWII US Military
Dates of Service: 04/25/1944 - 04/16/1946
Audio Samples

"Al" was born in Villa, Louisiana. His mother died in the 1919 influenza epidemic. "My father and brother and I lived with my maternal grandparents until he remarried," Al recalls. "His new wife was about sixteen years old and she did not want two little boys so our grandparents raised us." Al grew up on the farm of his grandparents, Albert and Margaret Corley. He started school at age five in a one-room schoolhouse, and graduated from Jena High School in 1934. Al attended Norton Business College in Shreveport and began office work for R.O. Roy Oil and Gas before entering the U.S. Navy in April of 1944. (He married Helen Caskey, whom he had met at First Baptist Church in Shreveport, on October 1, 1939. They would have a son and daughter). He was sent to San Diego for boot camp, and later worked in San Bruno, California, in ships' company. He was in San Francisco on VJ Day. "You have never seen such goings on. There were thousands of people on the street. Women were kissing everybody. Screaming and hollering. People were drinking out of bottles, walking up and down the street passing out bottles of liquor and wine. Champagne was bubbling out of bottles. It was wild," he recalls. Al says he thought America might lose the war. "I was afraid for a long time that the Germans and the Italians would be more than we could handle and for awhile they were. They kicked us around pretty good," he says. Al was discharged in New Orleans. He returned to work for R.O. Roy for a few months, then at Sally Grocery Company, a wholesale grocer in late 1946. He also attended Centenary College on the GI Bill. He joined R.W. Norton Oil Company in 1948. He worked for Richard and Margaret Norton personally, assisting them in the art foundation.