Hometown Vet: Springfield native recalls service in Europe

Hometown Veterans is a weekly feature profiling Clark and Champaign County veterans. This week the Springfield News-Sun profiles Joseph Flora.

Name: Joseph Flora

Hometown: Springfield

Current Residence: Garland, Texas

Family: Wife of more than 50 years, Margaret; three daughters, Joelle Dudrow, Sharilyn Courter and Kimberly Stapleton; 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren with two more due this August. Margaret and I are truly blessed!

Career After the Military: This is funny. I have had so many different jobs since my time in the military that I couldn't even begin to name them all. So I will not even try. What I will do is name the top three: mail carrier for 20 years, security officer for 15 years, hospice chaplain for three years.

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Hobbies: Woodworking and gardening

Branch of Service: U.S. Army

Did you join the military or were you drafted? I joined the military.

Dates of Service: Enlisted in September 1966.

Deployments/Bases: I went to Fort Bennington, Ga., for basic training. I then went immediately to Fort Gordon, Ga., where I was trained as a military policeman. Immediately after police training, I came home on leave and that's when Margaret and I were married. When I got back to Fort Gordon, I received my orders to go to the 8th Infantry Division in Germany, where I was stationed until January of 1969. From Germany, I was shipped to the 2nd Armored Division in Fort Hood, Texas, where I spent the remainder of my three-year tour of duty.

Total time that you served? Three years

What did you do in the service? I was a military policeman. As a military policeman, I was trained in all aspects of the law, as well as some triage.

READ MORE: Springfield sailor killed in Pearl Harbor now home 75 years later

What did you gain from serving in the military? Serving in the military gave me a great sense of satisfaction, as well as confidence. I was and still am extremely (proud) to have served this country that I love so much.

What do you remember most about your service? I could write a book but I guess the most memorable part would be getting to see much of Europe with Margaret, as well as starting our family over there. One very memorable moment was when 20 men, including myself, were prepared to be deployed to Israel during the Six-Day War. Our assignment would have been to evacuate all American civilian personnel. We were prepared to leave when we were told that the mission was canceled.

What would you like readers to know about your military experience? My military experience gave me a greater appreciation of all who have served, are serving and will continue to serve this great nation. God bless our troops!

To nominate a veteran, e-mail samantha.sommer@coxinc.com or randyark48@gmail.com or call 937-328-0363. Any veteran of any military branch, years of service and age is eligible to be profiled.

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