Thursday, November 12, 2015

Rearview: OOIDA salutes its veterans

Editor’s note: We’re looking “in our rearview” to bring you some of our favorite stories, columns and items from Land Line’s 40-year-history. This week, in honor of both Veterans Day and the OOIDA Truckers for Troops telethon, we bring you a collection of stories and photos from staff and contributors about their time in the U.S. Military. Come for the awesome throwback pictures; stay for the moving stories.

You would be hard pressed to find a group any more loyal to the military or more respectful to veterans than truckers. And it’s real respect. It’s not buttons or T-shirts with placating statements – it’s genuine, sincere and deep.

The pride and earnest admiration for those who have served in the military is awe-inspiring – so much so it’s hard to describe or even comprehend at times.

It shouldn’t come as any surprise, however, that truckers and veterans are so connected. Estimates vary, but some reports anywhere between 30 to 40 percent of active truckers are veterans of the U.S. armed forces.

Veteran’s Day is special in a lot of ways for OOIDA. It’s the Association’s chance to pay honor to the sacrifices of the men and women who have served in the U.S. military. But it also unofficially serves as the kickoff for the annual OOIDA Truckers for Troops effort.

The weeklong event takes nearly a full month of preparation. But, in that labor of love, OOIDA and Land Line staffers hear some great stories.

In OOIDA’s 2010 salute to veterans, we honor the men and women who gave of themselves to serve our country and share some of their most vivid memories from their time in the service.

  • Ironic twist: from Woodstock to Army in ’69 
    The summer of love in 1969 proved to be a life-changing time for a self-described “17-year-old smart-mouth know-it-all-kid” from Newark, Del.
  • Second shift at the hospital? No matter, formation at dawn
    From 1948 until 1973, during both peacetime and periods of conflict, men were drafted to fill vacancies in the armed forces that could not be filled through voluntary means.
  • Trucker’s doctor first called ‘Doc’ by wounded soldiers
    OOIDA Support Life Member John McElligott, MD, is known to many truckers as Dr. John. He treats drivers from his Knoxville, Tenn., office and helps many more patients by phone.
  • ‘If I hadn’t been in the Marine Corps …’
    The late 1960s and early ’70s were trying times in American history, due in large part to the nation’s involvement in an unpopular military conflict in Vietnam.
  • At sea with Pvt. Presley; other Navy memories
    OOIDA President and CEO Jim Johnston enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1956. He was a boilerman and spent four years stationed on four different ships – two troop ships, an ammunition ship and a survey ship.
  • ‘Keep a low profile’
    OOIDA Life Member Wayne Baker, Worthing, S.D., always admired his brother who had been an aerial gunner during World War II. Even though he was only 17, Wayne was inspired by his brother and decided to join the Air Force as a way to get out into the world.
  • From basic to the Pentagon, Wolfgeher remembers service well
    It’s been more than 20 years since OOIDA Webmaster Leslie Wolfgeher served in the Army but a few situations are still vivid in her memory. Here are some highlights in her own words:
  • ‘There it is’
    U.S. Army vet Reed Black remembers how soldiers in Vietnam had a couple of key phrases that spoke volumes about the war.
  • ‘Low enlisted gob’ remembers ‘dirty work’
    After deciding the 10th grade was too boring, Bob Martin signed up for the U.S. Navy and went on the “Kiddie Cruise.” Bob passed away in October 2011 but we have to include his contribution to this collection.