Edgar James Hammock was born May 5, 1925 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His parents were Charles and Mamie Hammock. Ed was one of seven children. He grew up in a house at 630 Panama Street and attended Philadelphia public schools. Ed was drafted into the United States Army in August of 1943 and served in the 761st Tank Battalion under the command of General George Patton.
This outfit had the only Black men driving Army tanks during World War Il. They were in actual combat for 183 days in Europe. It took 33 years for the 761st Tank Battalion to receive the Presidential Citation in Washington, D.C. This took place on April 20, 1978.
Ed enlisted again in the Army in 1948 and stayed until 1950.
Ed married Alretha Riggs in September of 1948 and they are the parents of six children. Through the years he worked as a yellow cab driver, PTC bus driver, and in 1960 he worked at the Naval Supply Depot until he retired in 1985. After retiring, he worked almost five years at Moss Hospital as a courier.
Ed is survived by: his wife, Alretha; their children, Richard R., Patricia Ann, Michael James, Valerie Lynn, Denise Renee, and Shawna Therese; ten grandchildren, DeShonta, Michelle, Gary, Libra, Inga, Kyle, Terry Jr., Kyree, Jaleel, and Michael Jr.; and one sister, Doris with two children, Jennifer and Charles. Ed will be sorely missed by his mother-in-law, Luevina Riggs Osborne Williams. He also had two daughters-in-law and four sons-in-law, plus a host of nieces and nephews.
Ed was a strong family man and his presence will never leave us. He did his job well and we, the family, know he will forever rest in peace. Ed touched many lives along the way and we know all of you will always remember who he was.
God knows you had to leave us
But you didn't go alone
A part of us went with you
The day He took you Home
To some you will be forgotten
To others just part of the past
But to us who foved and lost you
Your memory will always last
Sorrowfully, The Family
April 24, 1997
Letters, The Philadelphia Inquirer
The phone rang. I picked up the receiver, and answered somewhat abruptly , "Henderson residence."
A quivering voice asked, "Is this Mark Henderson?"
Sensing a note of sadness in the caller's voice, I quickly replied in a more civilized tone, "Yes, this is Mark Henderson."
"Mark, Hammock passed away this morning about 1:00 am. He was at home and we were by his side."
"Not my man, Hammock!" Gigabits accumulated through fifty six years flashed into my mental imaging process. "Wait! Wait!" I blurted out as tears streamed uncontrollably down my face. I found myself forcing my words thorough a choked passageway. "Please, talk to Martha, I can't find words at the moment."
Mrs. Edgar Hammock was telling us that her husband, one of my World War II comrades in the 761st Tank Battalion, had quietly slipped away. Reflecting on the Presidential Unit Citation (Army) for extraordinary heroism awarded to our battalion by President Jimmy Carter thirty three years after the war's end; the recent posthumous recognition of Staff Sergeant Rubin Rivers with the Congressional Modal of Honor, the Army Barracks in Germany named in honor of three 761st Tank Battalion Comrades, Coleman Barracks for Second Lieutenant Kenneth W. Coleman, Hammond Barracks named for Second Lieutenant Robert C. Hatmnond, and Turley Barracks named for 1st Sergeant Samuel J. Turley; I became totally overwhelmed with thoughts of the African American contribution.
As is depicted on the battalion crest; a black panther head on a silver medallion with the words COME OUT FIGHTING on the attached banner, we men of the 761st have fiercely clung to and proudly cherished the memories and camaraderie. The 761st Tank Battalion was the first United States Army tank battalion committed to battle comprised of black soldiers. This battalion distinguished itself during 183 days in combat,
Edgar Hammock, was one of us, a young man barely past his teen years. We shall miss this Philadelphian.
Mark Henderson, Jr.
Willingboro, New Jersey