WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – One veteran says the military gave him opportunities he would have never had otherwise.
Bill McGee said it allowed him to get his education and to see most of the World’s continents.
McGee said one of the most memorable moments during his military career was serving as an advisor to the Iranian Army.
He saw so much since he signed up to serve at just 16.
“At that time, you were very limited what you could do in the Navy as a minority,” Retired WWII, Korean and Vietnam Veteran Bill McGee said.
The seaman deployed to WWII and was stationed at Guam, where he loaded and unloaded ships.
“After I got out, I said well you know I’ve been in the Navy, so now I’ll try something else,” McGee said.
Mcgee re-enlisted in the Army a year later and was sent to the 2nd Infantry Division, The Indian Head Division.
He said then he took a quick leave.
“When the war broke out, they sent me a telegram to report back to duty,” McGee said.
So he did and said in no time they shipped his entire division overseas.
“We were the only one that was combat prepared at that time,” McGee said.
Mcgee said that was because they had been training for more than two years, leading up to the Korean War.
“The combat was brutal because you are dealing with an overwhelming number of Chinese, then you got to deal with the weather,” McGee said.
He said the soldiers had no cold-weather equipment, and they were boots on the ground.
“I walked, I didn’t ride,” Mcgee said. “You walked just about everywhere!”
Mcgee earned a Combat Infantryman Badge and said it’s the most coveted of all.
“The problem with it though is you may not survive to wear the Combat Infantryman Badge,” McGee said.
He said he has always wondered how he did survive.
“All of us over there was between 20 and 25, and I would say a third of us didn’t make it home,” McGee said.
When he did make it home, he quickly made a change.
“If I am going to survive, I gotta get out of the infantry,” McGee said.
He said that’s when he started in the Signal Corp.
“Somebody gotta take care of their communications, make sure it works, repair it, and that was part of my job,” McGee said.
It was also his job to prepare those entering the field.
McGee spent many years teaching soldiers, and would even deploy to Vietnam to teach.
“It just shows the wars I’ve been in, WWII, Korea and Vietnam.
Very few can say they served in all three wars, or that they gave more than 27 years to the military.
Mcgee has now been retired for decades, but you’ll still see this sailor, turned soldier, at McConnell Air Force Base, volunteering with the American Red Cross, a volunteer duty he’s now had for 25 years.
“The most satisfying thing, I think, anyone could do, is to try to help someone else,” McGee said.
McGee is also a friendly face for those who used to frequent area parks.
He worked as a security officer for the park board for 13 years.