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South Texas Living

Reminiscing: My involvement with the U.S. military

Reminiscing: My involvement with the U.S. military

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Rudy Elizondo
March 28, 2012
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For most of my life, I have been involved with the military in some form or other. In high school, I was in Junior ROTC, in the Civil Air Patrol, and the Texas State Guard, 36th Infantry Division.

ROTC is a three-year program which I completed prior to graduation. I posted for a semester as a military instructor with the rank of major. Upon graduation, the National Guard was being reorganized, having been decimated by World War II. I was invited to join and was offered the rank of master sergeant. But, my interest was the Navy. So, I joined the U.S. Naval Reserve, and attended night school at St. Mary’s University, studying accounting. I also went to work at Lackland Air Force Base in the accounting and finance office.

My enlistment in the Naval Reserve was during the Korean War. I was a member of the mobilization team. All of our training was practicing for the mobilization of former Navy personnel in the event of an all-out war, which was deemed possible because of the Russian Missile Crisis. Most of my fellow reservists were called to active duty, but our team was kept intact.

I spent 16 years in the Reserve as a petty officer second class, first as a yeoman and then as a storekeeper. If I had remained two more years, I could have retired with a monthly pension, but the Russian Missile Crisis prevented this. The Cuban Bay of Pigs fiasco intervened. My enlistment expired, and I was scheduled to be called to active duty at the same time. But my position with the Air Force was deemed to be necessary to the mission of the base, given the impending world situation, and they would not permit me to report for active duty. I had to either resign from my civil service position, or not renew my naval enlistment.

My family obligations, wife, and two children, left me no choice but to not re-enlist. I retired from my Air Force job after 38 years of service.

I was recently invited by the Navy Department to become a member of the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) because of my service during the Korean War. I accepted.

Rudy Elizondo is Julia Castro’s nephew and formerly of Floresville.

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