CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — 84 years ago, Great Britain and France declared war against Germany — marking the start of World War II.
Coastal Bend veteran Roger Bateman shares his experience of serving in the deadliest war in history.
Bateman is a 95-year-old Naval veteran who served the last four years of WWII.
"I still think that the start of the war was more scary for me than any flying event that I experienced," Bateman said.
Bateman remembers when he heard about the attack on Pearl Harbor — that horrific event that brought the United States into the Second World War.
He was just in high school at the time, and he recalls hearing it on the radio while living in Seattle at the time. He was definitely a little too young to join the military.
At that time, he knew he would have to serve, but when he came of age—he wanted to join the military. At first, his parents were not completely on board because he had a brother who was already serving.
But when he finally got his parents to agree, he didn't pass his physical. He had to get surgery on his nose before being cleared for war.
He added that his parents supported him and helped him complete the operation.
When the time finally came around, he became a naval pilot and served for five more years after the war ended.
"I don't feel like I had much impact on World War II, but World War II had a major impact on me. It completely changed my life," Bateman added.
The now 95-year-old veteran got his wings and commission here in Corpus Christi.
Bateman continued to fly as a private pilot and had multiple businesses but always remembered to give back. He dedicated the last 60 years of his life to giving back to the community.
Bateman has served on many boards like United Way and the Coastal Bend Food Bank. He also volunteered his time to help people who suffer from mental illnesses.
"I feel like since life has been good to me, I owe it back, and I've gladly given back," Bateman said.
The war has taught him how to work well with others. He said if he had to do it again, he would do it, but he would try to give even more.
Bateman is now retired and says he enjoys playing cards twice a week but is in it for the win.