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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Ev Sets the Record Straight

Recently, I wrote about my parents' wedding anniversary and mentioned my father's military service. He wants to set the record straight, so here is his story:

"I was inducted into the army from Quincy, IL in late June, 1954. I had a student deferrment for four years while I attended Wartburg College in Waverly, IA. I volunteered for the draft after graduation.

[Note: When I asked him about this terminology, my father answered that he volunteered rather than wait to be called up, so that he had more control over the timing. By volunteering in June, he would get out of the Army two years later in the summer–just in time to get a teaching job in the fall.]

July-August, 1954, I attended basic training for 8 weeks at Camp Chaffee, Arkansas. There, I had the opportunity to audition for the Army band school. As a result of the audition I was ranked #3 against a quota of 2. However, the #1 man got sick and was put back a cycle (2 weeks). So I moved up to #2.

September-October, 1954, I attended band school at Ft. Ord, CA. After 8 weeks of training, I was assigned to the 324th Army band at Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland, along with Tony Archuleta. Joe Viola came 2 weeks later.

In June, 1955, Jean and I married in Madison, SD on June 19th. On June 21st, a telegram arrived from Band C.O. Bearman informing me that I was to be sent to Far East Command."

[Ev's side note: After my marriage, I got one half of the $78 monthly pay and Jean got the other half. After Laura was born, my Spec. 3 pay was up to $135 monthly, Jean got half of that and Uncle Sam added $55 (I believe) for Laura.]

Back to Ev's story:
"Tony Archuleta, Joe Viola and I, all clarinetists, arrived on August 4th for 2 weeks' wait at Ft. Lewis, WA, certain that our destination was Korea. But when a Korean-bound troopship left without us, we hoped it would be Japan.

From mid-August, 1955 to mid-April, 1956, with less than a year of service remaining, the Army flew us to Japan via Hawaii and Wake Island. I was assigned to the U.N. Headquarters Army Band at Pershing Heights, the site of the former Japanese military academy in Shinjuku, Tokyo. This was the 293rd Army Band with Marion Durbin, C.O.

We played for all ceremonial troop reviews at Pershing Heights, troopships coming and going at Yokohama Harbor, concerts around Tokyo, civilian parades, Far East football playoffs (Torii and Rice Bowls), plus regular season home games, and the huge and moving ceremony for the return of the unknown Korean war dead. This ceremony was held in the early spring of 1956 at Yokohama harbor.

From mid-April to late May, 1956, the entire headquarters band transferred to Camp Drake (an hour from Tokyo and site of the Japanese Kamakazi pilot training school). We were re-designated the 1st Cavalry Division band.

On June 4, 1956, I arrived in Sioux Falls, SD after an eleven day voyage aboard the U.S. Fredrick Funston troopship from Yokohama to Seattle via Adak Island, AK. I attained the rank of Specialist 3rd Class - the equivalent of Corporal."

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