My dad volunteered at 17. He wanted to be a pilot, but didn't pass the vision test. Before starting Basic Training he took a few college classes. Then he was shipped out to Camp Croft, South Carolina as a rifleman to learn jungle warfare. Thankfully, the war ended while he was still stateside, So instead of Japan, he was sent to Germany as part of the Occupation Army. At this time, the army was sending the soldiers who'd seen combat home as fast as they could. New recruits coming in moved up the ranks fast. When the army saw Dad had a few Journalism classes they put him to work in the PR office of the Ninth Infantry.
Dad was housed in a chateau in Tutzing, Germany that had belonged to an Opera Singer. My dad shared the whole place with just one other private, neither was yet twenty.
One day Dad was sent to report on a ski meet the army was holding in Garmisch, where the winter Olympics had been in 1936. The Olympic ski jump still remained. As my dad watched, one soldier did such a spectacular jump the General officiating stood up and declared to the Private, "I'm making you a Sergeant!" Dad loves that story.
Veteran's Day reminds us that It's imperative we provide everyone who serves our country with high quality, safe healthcare, education that prepares them fully for their next success, safe and affordable housing, and meaningful and satisfying employment.
But my Dad has always been thankful for the army and the GI Bill that sent him to college.
Thank you to all our veterans for your service and sacrifice.
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