May 2014 - State Senator Ken LaValle has announced that Arma Andon has been selected to be included in the 2014 NY Senate Veterans Hall of Fame. “Arma E. Andon embodies the life, character and abilities of a generation of leaders that exemplify the great American spirit.” said Senator LaValle. He continued, ““Arma is a true hero that protected the freedoms we treasure. His selection into the Hall of Fame is in recognition of his patriotism and sacrifice for our country.”
Arma Andon, also referred to as Ham, faced nearly insurmountable odds against him from the moment he enlisted in the military during time of war. His courage and capabilities were tested beyond most individuals, and he truly deserves the recognition as a New York State Senate Veterans Hall of Fame member.
Arma was born on January 4, 1919 in New York City. He graduated from Boston University, and although he was accepted and began to attend Fordham Law School, Arma did not finish because he chose to enlist in the US Army to fight for our country during World War II.
After basic training, Officer Candidate School and Combat Infantry Training stateside, Ham and the rest of the 26th Infantry Division landed on Utah Beach in Normandy in 1944. Ham was Captain and Company Commander of the 328th Infantry Combat Team, when General George S. Patton addressed the troops.
Ham’s unit was sent to the front lines in October where it immediately came under fire. This was a no-holds-barred battle as the tanks that were supposed to support Ham’s men became stuck in the mud and the company lost their covering fire. The unit lost many men. Ham took over a machine gun after a Lieutenant was mortally wounded to return fire.
In Germany in March 1945, Ham was in a foxhole and under heavy enemy bombardment. He was badly wounded; sustaining injuries in his abdomen and shattering his left knee and leg. Despite the open gash in his stomach, Ham continued to fight and lead his men.
Ham was awarded the Bronze Star with Cluster, two Purple Hearts with Cluster, and a Presidential Unit Citation. In 2005, he was honored with the Austrian Medal of Honor and in 2006, the French President’s Legion of Honor Medal. Arma retired a Major of the United States Army Reserve.
After the war, Arma became an active member of the community for many decades serving in numerous leadership positions in government and various retired Veteran’s organizations. Arma’s unyielding love for country has served as an incredible role model for everyone to emulate.