Sunday, October 25, 2009

Another Gulf War Veteran Dead: "He Was Sick When he Came Home from Kuwait"

Written by Bill Bell, Whittier Daily News.

(Whittier, Calif. - October 23, 2009) - Those closest to him called him "Skeeter." 

A strapping, healthy 6-foot water polo player in high school, Clinton Marvin Hammitt Jr. enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps right after graduating from Pioneer High School in 1987. 

In 1990, Skeeter was deployed to the Gulf War, called Desert Storm, and was discharged in 1991. 

Hammitt worked his way up from a restaurant job at the former El Patio on Greenleaf Avenue to becoming the owner of Steel Press Printing, which did most of the printing for the city of Whittier and its Police Department, said his sister, Renee Hammitt Mendoza. 

Then on Aug. 20, he died at the age of 40. 

"He was sick when he came home from Kuwait," said Renee, one of his five older sisters. Even now, there is no definite diagnosis of the cause of his death, said Renee. 

She said Veterans Hospital doctors worked on his blood disorder over the years and kept Hammitt and his family advised of their progress on a weekly basis. 

The most recent information was that Hammitt's disorder most likely was something called TTP (thrombolic thrombocytopenic purpura), a blood disorder that could be related to parasites, oil well fires or nerve gas, but possibly could also be unrelated. 

"Skeeter was handsome, funny, had a million friends and turned out to be an outstanding businessman," Renee said. 

Hammitt was born Feb. 27, 1969, in Montebello to Clinton Marvin Sr. and Helen Hammitt. The family moved to the unincorporated west side of Whittier where Skeeter attended Phelan Elementary school and Katherine Edwards middle school prior to Pioneer High. 

He was cremated and interred with military honors at Riverside National Cemetery. 

Besides his parents and sister, Renee, he also leaves a 7-year-old son, and his other sisters, Joy Hammitt of Cedar Creek, Utah, Lynne Nay of Los Angeles, Denise Hammitt of Wilmington and Julie Arredondo, and 12 nieces and nephews.

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