Faithful soldier toiled behind the scenes

He ensured food safety
May. 21, 2013 @ 05:41 PM

In just about every productive institution, there exists a group of individuals who work behind the scenes to ensure the organization's success.

The United States Army has operated as a well-oiled machine for centuries because of men like Don Hasty. During the Korean War, Hasty served as a food inspector responsible for overseeing the distribution of products from meat packing and poultry processing plants in Chicago to the troops.

"This is just one of those support kind of jobs those of us who did this kind of work thought was important," Hasty said. "The worst thing you could do was let bad food products onto ships and over to the war zones.

"One of our guys didn't do his job quite as well as he might should have and he let a load of turkeys get inspected and shipped over. Some of the guys on the ships in the Pacific got bad meat products, and as soon as word got back to our outfit, he was in Korea the next week — not doing food inspection. There was a certain incentive for us to do good."

Hasty was born of a military family, but also a family of athletes. His brother was involved in World War II and his father, Bob Hasty, had his Major League Baseball career interrupted by World War I when he was drafted, leaving behind teammates with the Philadelphia Athletics and Hall-of-Fame manager Connie Mack.

"He pitched against Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb and knew all those guys personally," Hasty said. "We moved around a little bit, because all of professional sports went down the drain with the Depression. In those times, they had what they called company baseball teams. You'd work for the company doing some Mickey Mouse job and then manage the ball club. That's what he did."

Raised on a farm in South Carolina, Hasty learned the skills he would need to fulfill his role as food inspector early in life. He was deferred from the draft until he graduated from the University of Georgia in 1952 with a degree in agriculture. Upon being selected for the draft, Hasty was initially sent to Fort Jackson in Columbia, S.C. for basic training.

His 16-week training was suspended, however, when he was transferred to Fort McPherson in Atlanta. He never finished basic training, an experience Hasty does not regret missing.

"One out of six or seven were actually in a combat role. The rest of us were support of some sort, whether you were a cook, a truck driver or whatever," Hasty said. "I was one of those. I had my own Army inspection stamp. My serial number was on that stamp, and with every box that went out of there, I personally stamped the end of that box."

With that stamp, he left his mark on American history.

Staff Writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 888-3575, or kennedy@tvilletimes.com.