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Arendt, Laurie (ed.) / Back from duty 2 : more stories from Ozaukee County's veterans

[Profiles],   pp. 11-148 ff.

Page 20

Ruben Baumann
Clerk for the II 7th Transport Co. during the Korean Era
It's fairly easy for a single, young soldier to assimilate into military life, but not so easy when you're a
newlywed. After growing up and going to school together in Port Washington, newlyweds Ruben and
Doris Baumann had to deal with an unexpected relative: Uncle Sam.
When I was drafted into the Army, it was kind of a surprise because I had enlisted in the Naval Reserves when
I was a junior in high school. I thought if I had to go in, I'd be going in the Navy. Quite a few of us in my class did it.
I never had to go for drills or anything like that; I was just a member
of the Naval Reserve.
When I got my draft notice, I checked with the draft board.
They weren't aware of it, but they did say that because of it, I could
join any military branch. I picked the Army because their prescribed
time was two years, less than the Navy was requiring at the time. I
did it because we'd just gotten married, and it was the shortest
amount of time offered to the draftees.
I was inducted during Holy Week 1951 and arrived at Ft. Eustis
on Holy Saturday. I don't remember if I went to mass that night, but
I'm sure I went on Easter Sunday. Ft. Eustis just started offering
basic training at that point, and we trained with carbines until the
last two weeks of training, when we were finally issued M1 rifles.
They were so worn out they must've been among the first issued
during World War II!
I had been assigned to a transportation unit, and we had two
choices: cargo checking or stevedore. I had just finished schooling
when a sergeant came in and asked
if anyone could type. Even though
you're never supposed to volunteer
for anything, I raised my hand. I had
two years of typing in Catholic
school, and it paid off because I
Ruben served as a clerk at Ft. Eustis for his entire  was assigned to be a clerk-typist in
tour of duty in the Army.            personnel.
It helped me to be in personnel
because part of my job was to pick the guys with certain MOSs to go to Korea. A lot
of them ended up on the front lines. I also found out through my work in personnel
that my Naval Reserves time counted, and I was able to qualify for higher pay.
At one point, our battalion received notice that it was going to be going on
maneuvers in Iceland. Just before we were about to ship out, I was called out of
ranks - it scared the bejezus out of me - and the company commander asked if I'd
like to stay behind and be the company clerk. It took me about 10 seconds to
decide - my wife was pregnant at the time and we were living off post. By becoming
company clerk, I was able to stay with her.
My job was routine: morning reports, reports for the battalion and letters. I  Ruben was armed with a rifle ...
would work regular shifts and go home at night. We were a "holdback" company,  and a typewriter.
and anyone who had emergency leave would come through our company. While I
don't know of anyone who came back from Iceland, but we did have a lot of returning soldiers from the first
occupation of Japan, and they became the cadre for our unit. About 90 percent of them had Japanese wives.
After I served my duty, I was ready to return to Wisconsin. I liked home. I saw a lot of guys get orders to move
across the country. I hated - and still hate - moving and I didn't want that kind of life, particularly since we had a
family. I think serving in the military made me more patriotic, probably more patriotic than I would've been had I
stayed home.
We came home and had a total of seven boys and two girls - no twins. One of my sons, Jim, retired from the
Air Force as a Lieutenant Colonel. Our other son, Jeff, served 10 years in the Air Force. All three of us belong to
the Land-Thiel Legion Post #470 in Saukville.

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