Originally Published: November 10, 2015 6:56 p.m.
Gene Wallace Laramy
City of Residence: Prescott
Dates of Service: Jan. 4, 1946 to Nov. 13, 1946
Branch of Service: U.S. Army
Medals and Commendations: World War II ribbon; Sharpshooter's Badge
I was drafted into the U.S. Army almost the day after I graduated from high school, at the age of 18. I had basic training at Fort Bliss, Texas. I was on the rifle range one day in a prone position firing at targets when someone back of me said, "Nice shooting, soldier." I looked back and it was General Dwight Eisenhower. Shortly after that, I received the Sharpshooter's Badge. I don't know if he had anything to do with that or not.
After basic training I was sent to Fort Lawton, Washington, for embarkation to the Aleutian Islands or Japan. I was on the way to the ship when my orders were changed and I was sent back to Fort Bliss for further training. You might say I fought the battle of Fort Bliss as I was assigned to the military police on the bridge between El Paso, Texas, and Juarez, Mexico. At that time we would only allow soldiers in groups of five to go across into Mexico as we were having so many soldiers coming back across the bridge all cut up.
One day after being in the Army for just under one year, I was called into the office and they told me because of my high I.Q. I had a choice: I could go to Officers Cadet Training School, which would require me to sign up for four more years, or I could be discharged under the demobilization act of 1946. It took me all of four seconds to make up my mind. I took the discharge.
Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't take a million dollars for my experiences in the Army, but at the same time, I wouldn't give two cents for any more of it.
I do believe, however, that every person should have to give two year's service to their country right after high school, because they learn what it is to be disciplined and are better for the experience.