Rulan Woodbury, HQ 355TH
I was attending Utah State University and joined ERC on November 18, 1942. On April 5, 1943 we were called to active duty. I was sent to Camp Callan in California for Basic Training. While there I completed the Radio School. A number of us were selected to attend the ASTP at Loyola University at Los Angeles in the summer of 1943. After about nine (9) months of study in the Engineering Program, rumors circulated that the ASTP was to be discontinued. I had always wanted to fly in the Air Force, so I applied, passed the tests, and was told to expect my orders in the following week. Before the orders arrived, we were ordered to join the 89th Inf. Div. in Hunter Liggett. Words cannot express my disappointment of being so close to my dreams of flying and being sent to the Infantry!
Within a few weeks, the Air Cadet Program was cut back, so many of the "discontinued Cadets" were sent to Hunter Liggett to join us. I felt a little better because I had been assigned to the Radio Section in Hq. Company of 355th Inf. Regt. I will never forget my time at Hunter Liggett carrying our radio equipment and packs on those long hikes. When the 89th was reorganized, it was sent to Camp Butner, North Carolina for preparation for overseas duty in Europe. I was sent to Fort Benning, Georgia for Advanced Radio School. When I rejoined the Hq. Co. at Camp Butner, I was assigned as the Radio Operator for Col. J. T. Harris who was Commander of the 355th Inf. Regt. It was my privilege to have served him during our entire combat time in Europe. After V_E Day, the 355th Regt. ran Camp Twenty Grand until the 1st of November 1945. At that time, the 89th Division was sent home. Those of us with 48 points or less were to stay in Europe for Occupation Duty. I was sent to Austria. We rode railroad boxcars for seven days to reach Vienna, Austria. We had our sleeping bags, straw to sleep on, and "C" rations to eat. Our train spent most of the time on sidings.
I was released from Active Duty on April 12, 1946. I returned to school to finish my B.S. degree and while there, received a direct commission as a 2nd Lt. in the Infantry. I was called to Active Duty and reported to Camp Roberts, California on May 20, 1951. I was assigned as the Officer in Charge of the Radio Code Section. My interest in flying directed me to apply for Army Pilot Training. For the next four months, I went to San Marcos, Texas for basic flight training. The following three months were spent at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma for advanced flight training. At the end of the school, all eleven Infantry Officers in the Class of 52H got orders for Korea! We had to report to Ft. Lawton, Washington at 12:00 midnight, December 31, 1952. I left Seattle, Washington on January 5, 1953. It took just seven (7) days from Seattle, Washington to Korea Air Field A-41 and flying my first of 142 combat missions, directing artillery fire on the Western Front.
On April 18, 1953 at 6:05 p.m. while taking off from a short dirt field, the engine of my L-19 airplane stopped! When the engine quits at 90 m.p.h. and about 90 feet high off the runway, there is only one thing to do-go under some power lines and hit the ground in a rice paddy!! I awoke in a Marine Hospital but I couldn't see my eyes were swollen shut and my head was covered with many cuts and bruises.
After the Peace Treaty was signed, I was assigned as the personal pilot to Col. Beggs, the Deputy Commander of "Big Switch''. I was stationed across the Haun River from Soul, Korea in Yong Dong Po. I flew Col. Beggs to Freedom Village each day. While there, I saw our prisoners come home. On December 19, 1953, I was discharged from the Service. In June of 1955 I was asked to come into the local National Guard Unit to be the Hq. Btry Commander.
For seven years I held that position as a Capt. I was then promoted to Major and served as the 2/222 Art. Bn. Executive Officer. Later I transferred to the 11th Corp. Art. Hq. as Asst. S2. At this time I was promoted to Lt. Col. Shortly after this, I transferred to the inactive Army Reserve until my retirement, at age 60, with nearly 40 years of service. Along with my military service, I spent 33 years in Public Education as a teacher, counselor, vice-principal, and principal. I retired in 1987. On September 29, 1992, I fell from a water truck at my farm and landed on my head, breaking my neck at the C/4-5 level. As a result, I am now a quadriplegic, which gives me a lot of time to reminisce. My wife, Lois, and I have been married for 48 years and we have two children (Cyndi, attorney and stock contractor in Diamond "G" Rodeos with her husband, Steve; and Kory, a doctor training for Thoracic Surgery and his wife, Kim, is a school teacher).