I was working in the greater Seattle area in early 1963 knowing I could be drafted anytime as a high school classmate had been drafted. While visiting an Army recruiting office, the sergeant heard me say that I had attended college. He then said the Army Security Agency (ASA) was looking for people like me. This piqued my interest as I knew I didn’t want to be drafted becoming a “ground pounder,” infantryman. I didn’t enlist then, saying I’d think about it. But a couple of weeks later I returned to talk some more when he informed me that the ASA enlistment was going from three years to four years as of May 1, 1963. Within days I took a military leave of absence from my work and was sent to Ft. Ord for basic training, enlisting for three years on April 29, 1963.
There were many times during basic training where I questioned my decision, but I chose to do my best in this situation as I was several years older than most of the new inductees in my unit. I performed well enough to clear post a day before others and travel across country to my (AIT) training at Ft. Devens, MA where I finished first in the two graduating classes as a teletype operator by Feb. 1964.
Along with five other new teletype operators, we were sent for two more weeks of extra training along as getting information from NSA at Ft. Meade, MD prior to going to our duty stations overseas. My next duty station was Frankfurt, Germany at a processing company which later became part of Headquarters ASA Europe. Because of the material with which we worked, each of us needed top secret clearance.
Being peace time, we performed our duties and had lots of free time to travel within an area around Frankfurt, occasionally taking three-day passes to go further afield, including my taking a two-week leave to travel to Spain. I even took a European out to travel more in parts of western Europe and England before returning home in June of 1966. Although my military tour was not like what many other servicemen had, I did my duty by enlisting for three years instead of being drafted for two, but am glad I could serve my country. There are so many different jobs in the military and I found mine, although it did not help me in my post military career directly, but parts of it, especially where I was stationed, helped me to explain many things to my students while teaching high school US History. The renewed GI Bill of the 1960’s permitted me to finish college and also most of my master’s degree.
I’m also proud to be able to follow many of my fore fathers who helped to protect our country, from a colonial militiaman (my 7 times great grandpa on both sides) on the frontier and the Revolutionary War, to those serving in other times, especially during times of war.