U.S. Army Tec 5 Willie B. Hatcher was a farm hand with an elementary school education. His parents were Bennie and Rosa Hatcher. In 1940, Census records show, he lived with his family on Ga. Highway 42.
National Archives records show he was 25 and single when he enlisted at Fort Benning on June 26, 1941. His rank would be equivalent today to an Army sergeant, said Post Commander Alton Head. Hatcher’s unit was assigned to Finschhafen in Papua, New Guinea, where they were busily upgrading the Finschhafen Airfield. Hatcher died Nov. 1, 1944 at Fort William McKinley, now Fort Bonifacio, and is listed as “DNB” or “died, non-battle” on the World War II casualty honor roll. He was World War II’s first casualty from McDonough. He never met his son, Willie James Hardy, who was not yet born and who has since died. He left behind his wife and two brothers, Charlie and Tommie. He is buried in Plot F, Row 14, Grave 93 of the Manila American Cemetery in Taguig City.