Saturday, August 14, 2010

All Gave Some – Some Gave All

In the lottery of life, there are some who win and some who lose. I was one of the lucky ones. Nearly sixty years ago I enlisted in the US Army during the Korean War. After basic training at Fort Knox I was sent to Fort Devens near Ayer, Mass for additional training with the Army Security Agency. A year later I found myself on the USS Marine Carp on the way to Germany to be part of the occupation army. After two years there, I came home and opted not to “re-up”, got an honorable discharge and went on with my life.

That two years in Germany I was assigned to Hq. & Hq. Co with a Communications Reconnaissance Battalion in VII Corps. It was, with the exception of one incident, thank God, for the most part, uneventful. Although a few German nationals viewed our presence as distasteful, it presented an opportunity for an Iowa kid to expand his world view. I was in the company of a great bunch of guys, lived “on the economy” with my wife, had good German friends, a super dog, and managed to make E-5 before my enlistment was up. As mentioned above, I was one of the lucky ones.

The army is huge but that does not mean that I was unable to keep tabs on many of the guys I trained with at Fort Knox and Fort Devens as well. The critical day came when we assembled on the parade ground and the lst Sergeant opened his remarks with “The following named men will report to duty station…..” From “Aaron thru Little” it was followed by Korean assignments. “Lyons through C. Miller” were to report to Asmara in Africa. From R. Miller to the end of the alphabet it was off to Bremerhaven. After the troop movements were accomplished, we periodically heard from some of our classmates. The news was not always good. It included rotation to the US to deal with injuries, MIA, POW, and loss of life. I had spent a year of my life with these guys and it was difficult to deal with. It still is. I often think on the alphabetical position of my name on a list of two hundred and the possibilities of having been born to Mr. and Mrs. Clark, or Jones, or Baker.

My son, a father and grandfather in his own right, sent me an outstanding video. I urge you to watch it. It is a mere 4 min and 6 seconds long but tells a story you shall never forget. You will find the YouTube reference here.

Short of actual participation, this will explain the military mind set better than anything I have ever seen. Most important it explains the relationship to each person in his family and to his individual memories. I choose the personal pronoun “his” because back in the day, the forces were largely male and mostly segregated overseas. It is not PC but it is the reality.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

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