Government has conferred an honorary rank of Warrant Officer Class One on 95-year-old War Veteran, Ex-Private Joseph Ashittey Hammond.
He was recognized for his heroic deeds in World War II and for recently walking to raise funds for frontline health workers at the peak of the Covid-19 fight.
In the throes of Coronavirus pandemic in the country, Ashittey Hammond walked 2 kilometres daily for 7 consecutive days, raising a total of GHS 240,000 for healthcare front liners and vulnerable veterans.
Defense Minister, Dominic Nitiwul who conferred the honorary rank on Ashittey Hammond on behalf of the President Nana Akufo-Addo acknowledged the contributions and sacrifices of the ex-private and conveyed the sentiments of the President on the veteran’s undaunted spirit.
“It is in view of all these exceptional contributions and sacrifices of Ex-Private Ashittey Hammond that the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces, President Akufo-Addo deems fit and right and of course appropriate to confer on him, the honorary rank of Warrant Officer Class One,” he said.
Warrant Officer Class One (WO1) is the highest rank for junior soldiers in the Ghana Armed Forces.
Before his retirement 75 years ago, Ex-Private Joseph Ashittey Hammond’s works has been nothing but exemplary.
He fought in World War II at the young age of 16 while serving as a member of the Royal West African Frontier Force from 1943-1945.
He also participated in the February 1948 riots, marching alongside Sergeant Cornelius Francis Adjetey, Corporal Patrick Atippoe and Private Odartey Lamptey who were shot at by Major Imray while on their way to present a petition to the then Gold Coast Governor, Sir Gerald Creasy.
Their loyal service and selfless sacrifice led to Ghana’s independence nine years after.
The 95-year-old is an ambassador of the Veterans Association of Ghana (VAG) and shows no signs of slowing down and was beyond grateful for the honorary award.
“Honestly, I must be frank with you, this is beyond my comprehension. I never thought that this thing will come my way but when God raises his hand on you nothing can stop it, this is what I know.
From 16 years I have fought in the war in India and Burma and after 75 years of retirement to bring me back into the army to be promoted, it is rare.”
His daughter, Vera Brown was both happy and surprised by the honorary rank conferred on her father.
“We are surprised. We don’t know what to say, we are happy”, she said.