I was married and working for Marvin Miller on a farm near Murray, Iowa, when I received my draft notice. We had to find a place to store our belongings and a place for Rose Ann to live.
I reported to Camp Chaffee, Arkansas for eight weeks Basic Training on January 3, 1955. When that was finished, I had a 15 days leave, then was sent to Fort Carson, Colorado for eight more weeks of Advanced Infantry Training. After Fort Carson, I was sent to Fort Lewis, Washington, which was between Olympia and Tacoma. Before the interstate systems, we used Highway 101.

The first part of June 1955, we were at Fort Lewis, and about the 6th of June we were sent to Camp Roberts, California for two weeks of summer training. While there, we had permanent jobs. We were on detail three days on and four days off, or four days on and three days off. I was

an "Engineer." My job was to go out at 6:00 a.m. to the rifle range and get 20 targets ready on the firing range. I had a "hand car" on a track which I ran up and down with the targets, resetting them etc. I'd go back to the range shack, then later start all over again.

Rose Ann Joined me in August 1955, in California. When we started back to Fort Lewis, Washington about Labor day, Rose Ann and I rode with another couple in their car. The convoy was stopped and had to fight the California forest fires. We rented an apartment in Olympia, Washington and the other couple had one in Tacoma, Washington.

Rose Ann left for Iowa in November 1955. In January 1956, I was sent to Communications School to be a radio operator. My job was to check in each morning about 6:00 a.m, with my communications officer and drive him around, if there was anything to do. Most of the time I wasn't needed, so we just drove around the back roads checking our radios and messing around until noon, have lunch and go back out to "play."

Also, while in Washington, we were sometimes on "police call" — cleaning up trash along Highway 101. Maybe we would go to Madegan Army Hospital to do landscaping jobs, pull weeds, cut grass and whatever. Or we'd have to take the lagoon waste and rake it around on the base, trying to get the grass to grow. That wasn't a very pleasant job!!

In the spring of 1956, we were to get the "ducks" ready and we practiced on a pond. We were to go to Bonner Springs, Idaho, to help with the floods. Our crew was out on the pond when our "duck" started taking on water. They had forgotten to put the bilge plug in the bottom of the boat. Needless to say, we didn't have to go to Bonner Springs! Out of the five "ducks," only one went to Idaho.

On July 4th, I was to drive my new jeep and commanding officer to Seattle for a parade. My jeep broke down so, again, I didn't get to be in the parade. Someone else took the officer and I caught a ride back to the base. Once five others and I rented a car and drove Highway 101 around the Olympia peninsula.

Whey they started sending in new recruits for radio crews, wire crews, etc., my company was preparing to be discharged. My share of pay was about $64 a month, the rest was sent to Rose Ann.

Out of my company, maybe just one was sent overseas to Korea.

I was discharged December 10, 1956 in Fort Lewis, Washington as PFC in Communications. I had a good conduct medal and sharp shooters medal. As some of the guys have said, "I went, I served and came home!"

I went back to farming, raising a family, and hoping I would never be called back in the reserves! Now I reside in Weldon, Iowa.



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Last Revised June 7, 2015