I was 18 years old in 1945, the year World War II was coming to a close. I was called for my physical soon after my 18th birthday in August. Since I was scheduled to graduate from high school in January 1946, I was allowed to finish and delay my calling.
During that time the draft was put on hold and no more were called. In July 1950 the Korean War started and in August, my name being on top of the Draft Board's list, I was called again and was processed in September, now 23 years old. I assume all across the country the first called were in my situation.
The processing at Fort Knox, Ky., was a mess due to the sudden influx of recruits. After a hectic few days, most of the recruits from my hometown were sent to Fort Hood, Texas, where we were assigned to an element of the Utah National Guard that had been activated to provide the provide the basic training for the new recruits. They were essentially a field artillery battalion using the 155 mm long rifle - that's another story. Near the end of our basic training there were two recruits who were transferred to the 2nd Armored Division, the primary tenet at Fort Hood. I was one selected due to my MOS as a apprentice machinist. I went to the 124th Armored Ordnance Battalion, the other happened to be a friend I had made there who was transferred to the Armored Engineering Battalion; he was experienced as a heavy equipment operator.
At the time I didn't realize what good fortune that transfer would be for my Army experience; the balance of the recruits were transferred to Fort Sill, Okla., and most of the Utah NG were deactivate . All the ones I had been with had a few weeks of further training and were then sent to Korea.
Soon after joining the 124th we were told that the 2nd Armored Division was going to Europe. Seems that at that time there was a planned program that we needed to reinforce our presentation in Europe due to continued aggressive action of Russia, and the Cold War was heating up.
The 2nd Armored was joined by the 24th Infantry Division; if both were transferred at full strength that could be 50,000 solders plus those left over from World War II; we were told there were more troops in Europe than in Korea.
We very well could have ended up up being in harm's way in Europe, but I spent most of my two years during the Korean War on training and maneuvers; pretty good duty compared to dodging bullets in the freezing cold in Korea.
We were told if someone asks "what we are doing in Western Europe", answer "to keep the Russians out." I guess we did a pretty good job because they have never gotten there yet.
I am submitting this because I am not sure it is that well known.
Former Staff Sgt. Charles M. Green