Photo | Shane James III, Philip Manning's great-grandson, poses in front of the American flag.
As he expected, Philip Manning was drafted in 1954. His entrance into military service was somewhat typical. Somewhere along the line his name had been misspelled.
"The whole time I was in the Army it was spelled with two Ls. Do you think I could ever get that corrected?" Manning joked.
He headed to Missouri for basic and then to Camp Gordon, Ga., for second basic training, which was in the Signal Corps. He worked in overland telecommunications, putting up high lines and stringing field wire-up through battle stations, he said.
"They didn't have the fancy radio and satellites that we have today," Manning said.
They were shipped from Ft. Lewis, Washington, to Japan. Manning said for a while they stayed at Sendai, which had been a Japanese officer's camp during World War II. Manning was transferred out of construction and into the motor pool, which had dozens of cars, as a mechanic.
Eventually, Manning said, the crew rode an LST for three days, "which was a little different," to Okinawa to repair communication lines damaged during a typhoon. Once the work was finished, another typhoon came and they began repairing the lines again.
In 1956, Manning was discharged and returned to his home in Illinois. He had made some good friends that he still exchanges Christmas cards with, but was ready to return to his wife.
"The whole experience was quite a deal, being young and off the farm," he said. "Well you, wouldn't want to do it again for a million dollars but you wouldn't take a million dollars for the experience."
His granddaughter's husband, Shane James II, began his military career in ROTC in college. Now, he's an Army Ranger and first lieutenant training in Germany, Manning said. His father, Shane James I, was a career military man before him.
Shane James III (pictured above) has a lineage of service behind him. Family hopes, if not military, he'll prove to be another in the line of patriotic men.
"I think everybody recognized the obligation of being an American citizen. If you're called to step up to the plate, yeah you should do it," Manning said.
He said teaching new generations patriotism is "basic."
"We better be ready to stand up for our country and for what's right and be ready to defend it if we have to," Manning said. "We better be in that mode or we're in trouble I'm afraid."
Besides that, his great-grandfather claimed he's "an exceptionally good baby."
"We told our granddaughter [James III's mother], 'Don't expect the next one to be that good,'" Manning said.