HomeNewsArticle Display

A century of living

U.S. Army Retired Maj. Anthony Grant poses for a photo, Oct. 28, 2019 at Kadena Air Base, Japan. Grant has given 45 years of service between the Army and Air Force and now spends his time traveling the world

U.S. Army Retired Maj. Anthony Grant poses for a photo, Oct. 28, 2019 at Kadena Air Base, Japan. Grant has given 45 years of service between the Army and Air Force and now spends his time traveling the world. (Courtesy photo)

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan --

In the early 40s, millions of men were drafted into the military, making up over half of the fighting force during World War II. In April of 1942, Anthony Grant became one of the millions when he was drafted into the U.S. Army. After serving through two major wars and being stationed all over the world, he retired just over twenty years later in May of 1962.

At nearly 101 years old, his experiences are still fresh in his mind. Like many veterans, he has a story. Although his story is one that only a fraction of people can relate to, he’s found a way to let it inspire his lifestyle – and hopefully the lifestyle of others.

Like many, Grant was drafted as a Private. He worked as a quartermaster and was assigned to a quartermaster battalion at Ft. Dixon, New Jersey. In 1943, just over a year after being drafted, he was sent to Europe until the end of the war.

At the time, Grant’s duties covered many tasks that would now be the responsibility of a transportation unit.

“During World War II, the Army supplied trucks and so forth because transportation was not active until after the war,” he explained. “During the war we did the work of supply and transportation – providing trucks, picking up supplies, delivering to the front lines … That’s what I did throughout the war.”

As the war came to an end, the Army began to demobilize. Many draftees did their time and then returned back to their hometowns. Grant however, decided to continue serving.

“During the war years, mostly everyone was drafted and we were drafted for the duration of the war,” Grant said. “When the war was over it became the great demobilization … All the draftees wanted to return back home. So, to encourage people to remain in the Army, they offered a lot of incentives … Some of us fell for that,” he laughed. “I was one of them.”

Shortly after committing more time to the Army, the Korean War broke out.

Through the years and the nearly back-to-back wars, Grant had worked his way up through the ranks.

“I was one of those who went through all the ranks. I was drafted as a Private and I promoted along the way,” he said. “I was an E6 Sgt. then my commander recommended me to be a Warrant Officer, so I became a Warrant Officer.”

As the Korean War came and went, the Army once again began to face an inevitable downsize. Once again, Grant took the incentives – specifically, progression in rank.

“People were getting out and the Army needed 2nd Lts.,” he chuckled, “Another incentive … Well why remain a Warrant Officer if I can commission? I got a direct commission as 2nd Lt.; I followed the officer path until I retired.”

While his story thus far seems similar to that of many other veterans – being drafted, one war after another, and making the military a career – there’s one key difference. Grant is African American. He served through segregation.

Although all quartermaster units had the same equipment and same type of personnel, the units were separated based on race.


“During World War II the Army was segregated so I was in a segregated unit; it was very challenging,” he said. “However, I always make the distinction to people that the military was segregated but we were not discriminated against … There’s a difference.”

Despite the segregation, Grant always felt a sense of camaraderie and friendly competition.


“In many instances there would be about three quartermaster battalions in a certain area; one would be all black and the other two would be all white,” he explained, “We accepted it ... It was the norm.”

After several years of serving in a segregated Army, Grant was able to witness the end to it all; finally, his career, the Army and society were all progressing.

“I was in the Army when we integrated the units,” he recalled. “The executive order came out that segregation ended; separate units ended. Many men went from the black unit to the white unit and from the white unit to the black unit – we were on our way to being one Army.”

From that point on, as members came in, they were placed with units based solely on their job rather than their race.

After 20 years of experiences in the Army, Grant decided to retire and move on to new experiences. Just three months into the civilian life he landed a job for the Air Force, working services – the same type of work he did for the Army.

After 25 years with the Air Force, he decided to retire – again – and began traveling.

“I’m very inquisitive; I like seeing many geographical areas of the world,” Grant said. “When I found out that I could travel on Space Available with the Air Force, I decided this is just what I’m looking for.”

Grant has been traveling since 2008 and has been to countless places to include Japan, Singapore, Cambodia, Thailand, Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, Guam, Germany, Spain, and many other destinations.

His love of travel has been a passion for his entire life. From sailing around his native islands in the Caribbean to traveling abroad while in the Army and working for the Air Force, it's something he has always enjoyed.

“I wanted to see the world and I had a chance to see the world,” Grant said. “Within the last 10 years, this is my third visit to Okinawa. If my health holds, I may want to make another short trip to Rota, but this is my farewell trip to the Pacific.”

For someone who has lived fully – both years and experience wise – his take on life is quite simple.

“I’m not a worrier; I keep a positive mind all the time and I accept things as they are, not as I want them to be … I make the best of it,” Grant explained. “In my quiet moments, I feel blessed – I have more behind me in life than I have ahead; the few years that are ahead, I’m going to take advantage of them.”

USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.