Veteran to reunite for first time with fellow WWII sailors - WSMV News 4

Veteran to reunite for first time with fellow WWII sailors

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James Horton in 1942 James Horton in 1942

A 92-year-old World War II veteran has lived a peaceful, quiet life as a farmer in Hendersonville since 1921, except for those few years he served his country in the Navy.

Now, James Horton gets a chance this week to see his old shipmates as he heads to a reunion in Denver with his fellow sailors.

"Well, it will be wonderful. Of course, they won't know me after nearly 70 years - lots of differences," Horton said.

They'll know him. They just might not recognize him. Horton in 1942 was a self-described country boy headed for water and war.

He served as a sailor fighting the Japanese aboard the USS Denver.

"I'm no hero. We had a job to do, and I went over and did it. I got hurt a time or two, and that's alright. I'm still living, and I'm proud of my country," Horton said.

The injury he spoke of was the result of a kamikaze attack on his ship. Fortunately for him and his shipmates, it was not a direct hit.

"It had enough explosion in it to sink a ship," Horton said.

His trip to Denver is organized by Second Wind Dreams, a nonprofit that makes trips like this happen, and supported by the Caesars Foundation. Horton, who has only been to Denver once, will be making his first trip on an airplane.

"Went through there on a troop train going to the West Coast to be shipped out. That's the only time I've ever been there," he said.

Horton downplays his service, but he did see the horror of war during his time in the Navy. His ship was struck by a torpedo that killed 19 of his fellow sailors.

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