Ed Knopf, Army Sergeant, (E5)
How did you get started in the Army?
In 1954, it was required to register for the draft at age 18. This was also during the same time as the Korean Conflict was underway. After signing up, I was sent to Fort Leonard Wood, near my hometown in St Louis, MO.
I went through basic training and was part of the Army infantry battalion. After basic training, we flew to Fort Ord in Monterey, CA. I remained as part of the 137th Infantry as Gunner on the Mortor Squad. We did simulation training in preparation of being sent to Korea. Once completed, I was assigned to the 880th Engineering Battalion and then returned to Jefferson Barracks military post in the St. Louis area.
What did you do in the Army?
While stationed there, I drove a 5-ton dump truck used in conjunction with heavy earth moving equipment. I also drove a deuce-and-a-half, which was a troop carrier, and a jeep to escort my Second Lieutenant on various assignments. I was ranked E5, Sergeant (SGT).
Was there a memorable moment?
One of the moments I remember most is being the assistant driver on a tractor-trailer rig hauling a bulldozer. The truck failed and we had to pull over. We called for assistance and they sent out the Army tow-truck/wrecker. The driver hooked it up to our front bumper and attempted to pull us back onto the road. In doing so, he pulled the bumper right off the truck. The company commander and entire battalion was aware of the situation and the following month included more jokes than a comedian on stage.
What inspired you to serve?
Our country was on the brink of war with Korea.
How long did you serve?
6-years. I was granted an honorable discharge as my first son was born with a medical condition that required me to be at home.
Thank you to Ed Knopf, Army Sergeant (E5), for sharing his story and to all veterans who have served this country past and present.
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