My Korean War story

John E. Miller American Legion Post #146 - Beaver Dam, WI

Here is my account of the Korean War enlistment, rather unusual - always a sailor on land duty, never aboard ship! I was a senior in high school when the school had two Korean War veterans talk to the classes in an assembly program. I was so impressed with their dedication to serve their country that I too wanted to be a patriot. I enlisted in the U.S. Navy at 17 in 1952 and headed for boot camp at San Diego Naval Base. Because I successfully passed an aptitude test I was enrolled in additional schooling following boot camp. My assignment was to attend Teletype Writer School, also located in San Diego. My final grade was high enough to be sent overseas to Naples, Italy. I was part of the CINCSOUTH Communications Center, sending and receiving teletype messages with other NATO forces.

My U.S. Navy enlistment was three years and 13 days, called a "Kitty Cruise." My overseas assignment was for two years, three months and eight days. My rank upon departure was Petty Officer Third Class. I received my honorable discharge in September 1955. Because I serviced during the Korean War, I was able to receive the GI Bill which allowed me to attend and graduate from college with a teaching degree in 1960. After teaching for three years, I received the National Science Foundation grant to attend and graduate with a master of science teaching degree in 1966. In the twilight of my teaching career, I received an EPA Fellowship Grant to work during the 1992-1993 school year at Grand Force Air Force Base in Grand Forks, N.D. I was a member of the environmental flight and taught the latest pollution prevention regulations.

After retiring from teaching, I was a science consultant from 1993-2003, helping school districts with the new standards in their science curricula. In May 2016, my daughter took me on the Badger Honor Flight to Washington, D.C.

I joined John E. Miller American Legion Post 146 in Beaver Dam, Wis., and have been a member for over 30 years. For the last 15 years I have been commander of the honor guard, making 178 flag presentations to deceased veterans' families.

As I look back over my career, I did not go to Korea, but learned the value of an education in the U.S. Navy which was extremely important in teaching. I can honestly say the assembly program featuring two Korean War veterans changed my life, and certainly for the better. Thank you for the opportunity to share my Korean War story.

Floyd R. Henschel, U.S. Navy veteran, Beaver Dam, Wis.

John E. Miller American Legion Post #146
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