Stodghill Says So

An opinionated posting on a variety of subjects by a former newspaper reporter and columnist whose daily column was named best in Indiana by UPI. The Blog title is that used in his high school sports predictions for the Muncie Evening Press.

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Location: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, United States

At the age of 18 I was a 4th Infantry Division rifleman in the invasion of Normandy, then later was called back for the Korean War. Put in a couple of years as a Pinkerton detective. Much of my life was spent as a newspaper reporter, sports writer and daily columnist. Published three books on high school sports in Ohio and Indiana. I write mystery fiction for Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and others. Three books, Normandy 1944 - A Young Rifleman's War, The Hoosier Hot Shots, and From Devout Catholic to Communist Agitator are now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers. So are four collections of short mysteries: Jack Eddy Stories Volumes 1 and 2, Midland Murders, and The Rough Old Stuff From Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine.

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Friday, June 01, 2007

Military Records - Is Anything Else as Screwed Up?

Been busy dealing with a problem with a book. The publisher has it all straightened out now so I'm free to do a little blogging.
There's been a lot of publicity lately about the Ancestry.com site on the Internet so I gave it a shot today. It can get darn complicated, I assure you of that, but after wasting an hour I enjoyed a good belly laugh. That came when I looked up my World War II draft registration.
I've often said there is nothing in the world more screwed up than military records. Well, maybe military intelligence, or lack thereof. My draft registration was perfect until I got to the last item. The date of birth was correct, the date of induction into the Army was correct, in fact everything seemed to be correct. But then I came to "Civil Occupation."
Remember now, I was a stupid 18-year-old high school dropout who had worked a couple of years and then enrolled in an Indiana high school because I had heard that anyone drafted got credit for an entire semester. I majored in auto mechanics and swimming.
So what was listed as my Civil Occupation? This:
Actor (Motion picture actor. ) or Director, Motion Picture (Motion picture director.) or Entertainer.
Well if that isn't the last straw. I could have spent my Army days touring the world with colonels and generals fawning over me. Private Mickey Rooney did that. I could have handled Ronald Reagan's assignment. He traveled all the way from Los Angeles to San Francisco for a month and then returned to La-La Land.
But me? With my background as an actor, director or entertainer they handed me a rifle and stuck me in the infantry. OK, I asked for the infantry but when I did so I was unaware of having been an actor, director or entertainer. A bad case of amnesia, I guess.
I've seen a few other Army records that were almost as bad. Two different dates for heading overseas, three for when I landed in France, stuff like that. Then weeks after being discharged I noticed that my papers said I had gone to clerk-typist school. To this day I use two fingers, the old reliable hunt and peck method of typing.
There was more, but that should give you an idea about military records. Like the morning we lined up at Fort Meade the day after receiving 17 shots before going overseas. The sergeant in charge said, "Today you get your overseas shots." Two-hundred men yelled, "We got them yesterday!"
The sergeant shrugged. "They lost the records."
Overnight they lost the records of 200 men. Thirty-four shots in 24 hours. But I wonder, could it have been there at Fort Meade that I somehow became an actor, director or entertainer? Or could I have been acting the fool the day I signed up at the draft board? Beats me.

www.dickstodghill.com

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