"I am very proud to have served my country; however, I would definitely not do it again. It was a lot of time spent learning various things, but it was just not for me."
My name is Ronald Soucy and I served in the US Army as a Specialist 4th-class from 1958 to 1961. I served because, at the time, it was possible to get drafted, I saw a lot of guys get drafted and I was between girlfriends, so I decided, “After I get out, I’ll be 21, and I’ll be better off.” Because of the fact that companies at the time would oftentimes ask how old you were and would reject you if there was a possibility to get drafted out of work, I decided to get it out of the way. After my service, I could join the workforce immediately.
I didn’t speak much English at the time. I initially wanted to join the Navy but failed their test. However, the Army would take anyone, so I joined them. Life in the Army did not affect me that much. Before I was serving, I would have to wake up early to get to work; the only difference now was that now I didn’t have my mother to wake me up. I was pretty used to being asked to do something, then doing it as a child; the military was no different. I did my boot camp at Fort Dix, NJ. Then I was sent to Fort Brag, NC. There was an artillery battalion that they were building up and they were getting a lot of recruits. My second and 8th weeks of training were in the heavy artillery. In those days, you towed the guns behind you on a truck. You had to get up and move. I was the powder man. 4 men would put the rounds in the barrel, 2 men would push it in, then another man would put the powder. The last man would fire it on command.
The military did not affect my life that much. I did what I had to and got out of there. When it was time for my discharge, we were all standing in formation. The sergeant that was giving out the discharges called people up, then you would receive your discharge. When he called my name, I grabbed it and I ran across the parade field to get to the bus to get home. I was later told that I ran so hard, there was a cloud of dust in my wake. For me, my service was just a stepping stone in order to get to work. Do what the authorities tell you what to do. It’s important that we obey the law in order to protect ourselves. It is also important that if we are given a task that we do it to the best of our ability. My time in the military has taught me how to work as a team. I am very proud to have served my country; however, I would definitely not do it again. It was a lot of time spent learning various things, but it was just not for me. The veterans need more support than they are getting. They need recognition for their time in service and better pay during service time(pension as well).