‘A veteran remembers’ is the story of Eugene Schmid, an army veteran who served in the Korean War. He is also a brother to Gays Mills resident Virginia Murphy, and was born and raised in Plain, Wisconsin. This is the fourth and final of four weekly segments.
That was my only disappointment as I got home for Christmas Eve.
After a brief furlough I was sent to Fort McCoy for reassignment. I was simply amazed at how things changed there in the ten months since I left. The soldiers were all outfitted in new fur lined parkas and regular boots. I was sent to Fort Leonard Wood, MO where we were required to train new recruits in basic training. I met a recruit there who was from New Holstein, WI who was commanded to be company clerk. We became close friends and stayed in touch until he died several years ago. Our morale became low as we had to accompany the troops doing the same things as they did. Several of us volunteered for assignment to Europe but were denied. In July I received a three day pass and went home. I became sick on the way and I reported immediately to our family doctor. He treated me for a fever and called the Red Cross. They instructed him to keep treating me and wait for further orders. I would go through periods of high fever, chills and dehydration. Nearly two weeks later he was ordered to send me to Fort McCoy with accompanying medical notes. I presented the notes upon arriving and was told I had Malaria Fever. I was put in a ward with fifteen other patients, all with Malaria Fever. Later that summer after a very hot spell I came down again with an attack, but was immediately treated there at Ford Leonard Wood.
With about a year left on my enlistment I ordered a new 1952 Chevrolet from a dealer in Spring Green. I went home to pick it up when my friend, the company clerk called and told me I might not want to pick the car up as I was on orders to go to Europe.At this time there didn’t seem to be an urgency to my travel. In March I was traveling on a troop ship “the Eltinge” across the Atlantic. On the way we were informed that all the troops would be assigned to the infantry, except wounded Korean veterans, who had not been re-evaluated after examination. I was rated C-3, which was pretty low. After a very rough ice storm in the North Sea we landed at Bremerhaven, Germany. We disembarked on two inches of ice over the entire deck. The ship was put into dry dock for repairs and I returned to the States on its maiden trip after repair six months later. As the troops were given their assignment I was the last one called up. The officer told me that with a profile like mine he couldn’t use me in the infantry, he would send me back to Division. They replied they didn’t want me either. After all I had done for the military I was wasted material. I decided I would be a tourist for the duration. My job consisted of being in charge of seven service men who were teaching some recruits to pass a six grade mark. Yes, that is true. After about eight two hour lessons in German I got on a train and went to Cham to visit my Aunt who lived in the same house that my dad was born in. I traveled there twice, once to Munich to see my uncle, once to Paris on a bus tour. I visited a friend that I went to school with about 20 miles away and another guy from Plain who was in the other direction. Sunday evenings I would go to a pub, have a good bock beer, Wienersnitzle and American fries. In September I sailed back to the States and flew to Fort Sheridan and mustered out. I was examined and given a thirty percent disability rating. I joined the Disabled Veterans of Baraboo. I kept my Government Life Insurance and converted it to a Thirty Pay Life. That was a very good decision.
To read the whole piece, here are the links to the first three segments: