Military Record

Son of George A. (Dick) and Alice Saddoris

After graduating from Osceola High School in May of 1958, Gary Duane Sanderson and I went to Des Moines to join the Iowa Air National Guard. We were told that we lived more than 35 miles from the base, therefore we were not eligible to join. In 1960, Bob White and I went to Des Moines to join the U. S. Navy Sea Bees. They put us through a physical before swearing in and they told me I was not eligible to join the Navy because I had flat feet. Within a month Bob was in boot camp and I was back at work with the Iowa Highway Commission in Creston, thinking I was not qualified for military duty due to my physical condition.

Eugene Blazek, my first line supervisor at the Iowa Highway Commission, was a member of the local U. S. Army Reserve Unit, and he had tried to persuade me to join his organization due to their low number of members. I told him of my status due to the Navy turning me down because of not passing a physical. He and I assumed that would convert to a 4F rating on my selective service status with the Clarke County Selective Service Board.

However, a couple years later, I received a letter from the Clarke County Selective Service Board informing me that I was to report to the "Highway Cafe" at the intersection of US Highway 69 and US Highway 34 with a bus ticket included in the letter for a trip to Des Moines for a Pre-Induction Physical. All of this led to a whole new chapter in my life including meeting my future wife after needing to hitch a ride back to Osceola after being held over for my physical in Des Moines and missing the bus.

After this drawn out process of going through the physical and then spending another day taking tests before being released to return home I received another letter in the mail from the Clarke County Selective Service Board informing me I had passed their physical requirements and was determined to be qualified for induction into the US Armed Forces with a rating of 1 A.

When I showed Gene Blazek the letter, he immediately said, get out to the Reserve Unit and join now. You are going to go into the US Army anyway, and we need recruits to keep our strength up or we will lose the Unit in Creston. While weighing my options my future wife, the former Patty Reasoner, and I agreed I should join the US Army Reserve and go in immediately rather than wait a couple of years and be drafted, keeping our lives in limbo.

Thus my military career began at Creston, Iowa in December 1962, when I enlisted in the US Army Reserve. In January 1963, I reported to Fort Polk, Louisiana to begin basic combat training with the US Army, then in September Patty and I were married.

Sometime in the spring of 1963, while taking basic combat training and advanced infantry training at Fort Polk, I received my draft notice from the Clarke County Selective Service Board, so I guess I would not have had quite as long of a period in limbo as originally feared. However, I was already committed at this time so I had to stay with my original decision. I have never regretted it.

Advancement was fairly rapid with the Unit in Creston. I was promoted to Sergeant within the first four years, and the Battalion Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Richard Oslo, sent me a letter through my Company Commander, Captain Marvin Focht, encouraging me to begin the process of obtaining a commission in the US Army. I was in the final phase of the process after going before a board of review and waiting for the results, when I received a letter informing me that the board questioned my failing a physical with the US Navy. They weren't sure I was qualified to be an Infantry Officer if I had not passed a physical at one time. I had to go to an Army doctor, have him give me a complete physical, and write a letter to the board. He emphasized that I had just finished four years as an enlisted man in the Infantry, and had not experienced any problems with my feet; therefore he was sure I could handle the rigors of being an Officer in the Infantry. The board accepted his letter and in 1966, commissioned me a Second Lieutenant Infantry in the US Army Reserve.

This began a very disruptive period of time for the US Ai my Reserve and therefore for me as well as a newly commissioned officer. The United States involvement in Vietnam was beginning to escalate and the draft was going into high gear to fill the ranks of the US Military. We were inundated with new recruits in the Atuiy Reserve. As the junior officer in my unit I was designated with all the additional duties that included enlistment and reenlistment officer. This obligated me to swear in all new recruits. I was being called in at least once a week to swear in another group of new recruits. At this time I was selected to attend a ten week course in Fort Benning, Georgia entitled "Combat Platoon Leaders Course". This was a primer for newly commissioned Infantry officers being groomed for duty in Vietnam.

It was during this training that I experienced one of the more memorable events in my career. As we were finishing a training class in Infantry Hall, our instructor told us the instructor for our next class always started his class with a joke. He said he would like to make a deal with us. He would tell us the joke ahead of time if we would agree to remain silent when our next instructor, Major Powell, told his joke. We agreed, and the tables were turned on our next instructor. He was a little confused, and we thought maybe even irritated a little with us as a group until he figured out what was going on. Much later in my career, I again met up with this same instructor, only this time he was a four star General, General Colin Powell.

Upon my return to Creston, and back to reserve duty, we were informed that we were being "Alerted for Active Duty". This meant we were to begin mobilization planning to prepare our soldiers for active duty. However, this was during the period of time that the Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara, was trying to dissolve the military reserve forces and combine them with he National Guard. This pitted the congress against the administration over the makeup of the military forces. As the political battle went on, we were told to "Stand Down" and wait. Our unit went through this process three times over the next three years. Then they reorganized ourunit from Infantry to Ammunition Ordnance. This took us out of he mobilization picture again due to none of our members being qualified for their duty assignments.

Finally the Army decided that our unit should be designated one of the selected reserve units for riot control duty within the Continental United States. This got us new specialized equipment and new training directives to prepare for back-up riot control in the Kansas City area if needed. The good news was, it eliminated us from the Vietnam call-up list.

In 1971, I was selected to become the Company Commander of the U. S. Army Reserve unit in Washington, Iowa. This was a maintenance unit working in the direct support role above division level. This meant that there was little or no need for this unit in Vietnam. I spent the next three years commanding this unit which took us through the Vietnam war period, and me through the entire Vietnam war without having to serve overseas.

After serving as the commander in Washington for three years, which had gotten me promoted to Captain, I was moved up to the Brigade headquarters in Des Moines as a staff officer. I remained with the headquarters unit in Des Moines until I got my twenty-year letter. The "twenty-year letter" is a goal for reservists, as this indicates your eligibility for retirement benefits upon reaching age 60. I had been promoted one more time by then to Major. It was at this time that the Army decided the Army Reserve needed to be revamped and given a mission as part of a total force and not treated as a neglected step-child. Part of this plan included putting ten percent of the Army Reserve on Active Duty to reduce the train-up time for mobilizing and deploying units.

I was approached and asked if I would be interested in taking one of these Active Duty slots in Des Moines as a Lieutenant Colonel. My reply was "Yes, except I am a Major." The Chief of Staff, Colonel Roger Sandler, said "We'll take care of that, you just get ready to go on active duty." So after spending my twenty years to become eligible for retirement, I then went on active duty. I spent the next ten years on the Active Guard and Reserve (AGR) program. I worked in the war plans, force structure and force development area for the first our years. Then I was moved to Omaha, Nebraska with an Army Reserve Support Group Headquarters to work as a Logistics Operations Officer for the next three years

During my tour in Omaha, my Personnel Management Officer contacted me and said, "You have a choice. You can get off the AGR program and return to the drilling reserve, and take a chance on being promoted or you can select a duty station for a 'Terminal Assignment'." Being a Lieutenant Colonel with almost seven years time in grade, I knew my chances of being promoted would be slim, so I opted for a terminal assignment in Des Moines, Iowa, so I could be close to home.

My military career covered thirty-one years with twelve and one half being on active duty. The only overseas duty was for exercises except during Desert Statin when we were tasked with deploying Seventh Corps from Germany to Saudi Arabia. Then I was only over for a week at a time to visit our units working in Germany.

As noted earlier I will never regret my initial decision to join the Army Reserve. I had probably one of the least risky, easy careers, one could ever hope for in the military. However, I can look back and be very proud of my work with the Army Capstone Program which gave the reserve a viable mission in life and made them a respectable part of the total force.

Following is a biographical summary of promotions and awards:

1962 - Private E-1
1963 - Private E- 2
1964 - Private First Class E-3 and Specialist Fourth Class E-4
1965 - Sergeant E-5
1966 - Second Lieutenant
1969 - First Lieutenant
1971 - Captain
1977 - Major
1983 - Lieutenant Colonel

Legion of Merit
Meritorious Service Medal w/Oak Leaf Cluster
Army Commendation Medal w/Oak Leaf Cluster
National Defense Service Medal w/Oak Leaf Cluster
Armed Forces Reserve Medal w/Two Hourglass Devices
Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal w/Two Oak Leaf Clusters
Anny Service Ribbon
Army Reserve Component Overseas Training Ribbon. Expert Marksmanship Badge - 106mm
Recoiless Rifle
Expert Marksmanship Badge - Mortar
Expert Marksmanship Badge - Rifle M-14
Expert Marksmanship Badge - Pistol .45 Cal

1962-1971 - U.S. Army Reserve, Creston, Iowa. Unit underwent two reorganizations during this time. Originally Co B, 3/17th Int 103d Infantry Division, reorganized to Company B, 3d BattalĀ­ion, 17th Infantry Regiment, 205th Infantry Brigade (Separate), finally reorganized to the 289th Ordnance Company (Ammo), 394th Ordnance Battalion, 561st Group, 103d Support Brigade.

1971-1974 - U.S. Army Reserve, 872d Maintenance Company, Washington, Iowa 394th Ordnance Battalion, 561st Support Group, 103d Support Brigade.

1974-1977 - U.S. Army Reserve, 103d Provisional Battalion, 103d Support Brigade, Des Moines, Iowa.

1977-1983 - U.S. Army Reserve, Materiel Section, 103d Corps Support Command, Des Moines, Iowa.

1983-1987 - Active Guard and Reserve Program Fourth United States Army, Fort Sheridan, Illinois, with assignment to 103d Corps Support Command, Des Moines, Iowa as Assistant Chief of Staff Plans.

1987-1990 -Active Guard and Reserve Program Fifth United States Army, Fort Sam Houston Texas, assigned to 561st Support Group, 89th Army Reserve Command, Omaha, Nebraska as Logistics Operations Officer.

1990-1993 - Active Guard and Reserve Program First United States Army, Fort Meade Maryland, with assignment to 103d Corps Support Command, Des Moines, Iowa as Deputy Assistant Cliief of Staff Materiel.

1993-2000 - United States Army Reserve Lieutenant Colonel Retired.

2000 - Army of the United States of America Lieutenant Colonel Retired.




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Last Revised June 13, 2015