BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. – One of the last surviving members of World War II’s U.S.S. John Hood, and founder of the American Legion Post 68 in Bridgeport, celebrated his 100th birthday this Friday.
Family and friends joined the celebration at The “O” by Oliverio’s, celebrating the long life of Otha “Junior” Compton.
In 1942, Compton was inducted into the Navy. For Compton’s service, he was awarded three Bronze Stars, the Asiatic and Pacific Ribbons, and the Victory Medal.
“I’m just lucky that’s all. I am just blessed to be alive now, all the things I’ve gone through, WWII and all, I am just really happy and blessed to be alive,” Compton said. “The party is wonderful, wonderful, they shouldn’t have done it for me but I’m glad they did. I don’t deserve it.
Compton worked in the coal industry, insurance and real estate after the war. In 1961, he established what would become Compton Bowling Lanes on Old Route 50 East.
“Everybody has been so kind to me, so nice to me, everybody looking after me. And it’s in the Bible you know, we’re supposed to bring our kids up and take care of them, and then when they get older they’re supposed to take care of you, and when they get older they’re supposed to take care of the parents,” Compton said.
Compton said the first ship he was on in the Navy was the U.S.S. Cony and it was hit with a Japanese suicide plane, but he was not on the ship when it was hit and was instead in the hospital having surgery. He said the secret to staying alive is not smoking and eating healthy.
“I’m pretty healthy, I eat oatmeal and put some honey on it. They say sugar is a poison and if you eat enough of it kill ya. So, I put honey on it, and half a banana, a little bit of milk. Then I can go around and tell people, I eat my honey everyday,” Compton said.
Family and friends said Compton is still full of life and loves joking and having fun. The advice he had for young people was to straighten up and to behave themselves, and to be good like him.