Clyde Beal, US Army, 1959-1962
Watch Clyde’s story or read it below.
My name is Clyde Beal. I served in the US Army for three years on an active duty. Actually my military career, such as it was, began when I went to college where I went to an all-male military school where we were cadets for the four years and wore uniforms, lived in a military companies, marched to the mess hall and all that sort of stuff.
After I graduated, I had a commission as a second lieutenant, brand new spanking. I worked in industry for almost a year before I was called up for active duty, which was in 1959. I did some basic training in Aberdeen, Maryland and then in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Then we shipped overseas to Germany. I was assigned to an ordinance direct support company, which supported the tactical nuclear weapons that were in the theater at the time. My job turned out to be assistant operations officer for the entire three years I was there. We were stationed in Munster bei Dieburg which is a little south of Frankfurt
The time there was … Well, I think it was rewarding. I’ve met a lot of good people I served with, several of which I’m still in contact with 60 years later. We’re fading out pretty quickly, but we still have that contact and some of those memories.
The duty was all garrison except when we had to go out to for a week or two of training in Grafenwoehr. So it was … Certainly were no bullets flying or no real threat to any of us. Our emphasis in the tactical weapons was security of those, and that was our biggest problem is to try to keep the Soviets from knowing what we had and how much we had and where we had it.
I had my wife with me. We were able to have dependents at that time. I actually had two children, a boy and a girl, who were born in Germany during my stay. They had the option of getting dual German citizenship, which both of them declined when it came their time, but my daughter went back with an army officer and had my grandson in Germany also. So we still have a strong connection to Germany.
My time in the military served me well I think in later life. I spent my entire professional career in serving as a defense contractor for a number of different contractors or companies, one evolving from the next. And so when I retired, I considered myself a lifelong worker for the Defense Department, either in uniform or out.
I’m thankful I was able to serve and what little I did was honorable. I don’t have any war stories to tell, for which I’m thankful.
I certainly would do it again. There was a motivation when I was out of high school that the draft was still active, and I was going to probably get drafted one way or the other. I chose to do it as an officer, and that worked out for me. I missed Korea, and I missed Vietnam being right in between as a Cold War warrior.