WAPAKONETA — Being a veteran does not always mean serving in combat or killing enemy soldiers.
It’s serving your country doing whatever the military ask including sometimes putting your life on the line.
For Charles Emory, he answered the call just before the Vietnam War got rolling. Instead of waiting to be drafted, Emory, who now lives in Springfield, decided to join the U.S. Army.
“I was in from 1961 to 1964,” he said.
He joined out of high school instead of waiting to be drafted.
“I wanted to get everything over with so I could get out, get a job and get married,” he said.
Emory spent two years of his time in France after basic training. He was part of a construction battalion at Laon Air Base, he said.
“My assignment was construction,” he said. “We did odd jobs. We built a bridge, tore out taxi runways.”
Emory, who today is 69, drove heavy equipment and helped build things including a bomb shelter, he said.
He said he is thankful for never having had to serve in combat. While combat may sound glorious to people who never served in the military, Emory said it’s dangerous and something he’s glad he never had to face.
“I might be dead if I had,” he said. “I’m thankful.”
He’s also thankful for the time he had in the Army which helped him become a man.
“You just grow up fast,” he said.
Emory married before he left the Army and has been married nearly 50 years to his wife, Ruth. The couple have two daughters.
If you know someone who served in the military and would be interested in telling his or her story, please e-mail email@example.com