Prologue/Post War: Education
It is appropriate I hope to end these wartime memoirs with a few brief remarks on their impact on my adult life. The first, and perhaps most critical, had to do with providing me with the opportunity for higher-level education. First, there were the credits I earned while in the Army though ASTP/Oregon State College and Shrivenham University and which provided me with the ambition to go further. Second, was the passage of the GI Bill with its educational benefits. Under this Act, at Syracuse University, I obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree bestowed jointly by the College of Liberal Arts and the School of Journalism. I remained there for another a year and a half, earning a Master's Degree in Public Administration from the renowned Maxwell Graduate School of Public Affairs. Thus I entered adult life well prepared with a solid education and related extra-curricula activities in journalism and international affairs.
Prologue/Post War: The Military Continuation
Despite a less than illustrious military career, I had a great respect for the military as a vital institution. In my first term at Syracuse, I enrolled in the ROTC with the aim of getting a reserve commission. After completing two terms, which turned out to be a total waste of my academic time, I was informed that I could not be commissioned because of my poor eyesight (after earning two battle stars?). You would think that would be enough for me, but no, after I was in Washington working as a budget analyst in the Federal Government, I read that the Army was granting direct commissions to qualified candidates and applied as I appeared to meet all the criteria. The process took almost a year. I had to fill out a lot of forms, obtain references, talked to several interviewers and, finally, appeared in front of a small board. They said the Army would welcome me but first wished me to go to OCS (Officers Candidate School) to which I was accepted. I had been taken and flatly refused. Good thing too because it was not long before the Korean War started and guess where I was sure to have been assigned? During my government career, I again came in frequent contact with the military, first with MAG when first working in Cambodia and then when assigned by USAID to advise the Vietnam Government on multi-year planning, something they needed at the time like a hole the head.
A much more interesting and beneficial event was when, as an official in AID, I was selected for senior training at the National War Collage in Fort McNair (Class of 69-70). It was a great educational and personal experience and I must admit a little self-satisfaction when, for example, this ex-PFC was a guest in the Admiral's dining room. Later on, when with the Bureau of the Budget (now the Office of Budget and Management) in the Executive Office of the President, I became the resident guru in the processes for strategic and program planning as well as program and project management. This brought me in direct contact with DOD and the military brass and I learned much from their R&D and planning activities. This, in turn, helped me apply and adapt their know-how to developing guidance for non-military programs throughout the government, where applicable. In turn, I wrote a chapter on planning for a management textbook used by the Army Industrial War College and, when still working at the BoB, as a part-time Associate Professor at American University I taught classes in planning and management for both civilians and military officers. So it seems there really was a melding, eventually.
Prologue/Post War: Family and Career
A few short and final words about my career in public service. I began in the Federal Government as a budget analyst, first in the Civil Aeronautics Administration and then with the Department of Agriculture. But the desire for overseas service remained and I next transferred to the Department of State as a management analyst. The rest of my total of 29 years of military and federal service was with The Agency for International Development (AID) both in Washington and overseas tours in Jordan (where I met my beautiful and loyal wife, Mary Ellen Thorpe from Winona, Minn.), Cambodia and Brazil. At age 50, in early 1975 I retired from the Foreign Service and, after a year of consulting, joined the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) headquartered in Vienna as chief of their evaluation office, which provides a fitting ending to all of the above.
Our two daughters (Cherie and Melinda) were attending the University of Virginia when we left the States, taking our eight-year old son Mark with us. I had a very interesting eight-year career with the UN and we all enjoyed Vienna very much but that is not the focus of this prologue. Dora Bujatti is. Our first five years in Vienna, we lived near Grinzing and the Vienna woods but then we moved to the 14th district to save some money. As you entered the area, there was a side street named "Bujatti Gasse" which seemed a co-incidence. Mary Ellen had often heard me exclaim about the beauty of Gmunden, which we visited several times and often took visitors to see, and was curious about Dora, I guess. Near the end of our stay (the UN required all Secretariat personnel to retire at age 60 or we might still be there), Mary Ellen had obtained a pretty good proficiency in German and discovered that there were six Bujatti's in the phone book. The second one she called was Dora's brother, the one who had the home in Gmunden during the war. They had a great chat. It turned out that the two old but once gracious villas on Bujatti Gasse were indeed their family homes. Even closer to us, the grandparents were buried in a graveyard no more than 200 yards from our home, just down the street. What a coincidence! He told us Dora and her husband had been living in Trieste for many years. Life had not been too kind to them, but she maintained a family-bequeathed apartment in Vienna and visited once or twice a year to sell women's clothing she had designed and made. He said he would be talking to her soon and within two days, I received a call from her at my office (calling there instead of at our home didn't exactly please my wife) and we had a long talk. To end this, several months later while in Vienna, she had dinner at our home bringing along her beautiful, young granddaughter. Dora had taken on some weight and, while not unattractive, I would never have recognized her. We all had a very pleasant evening together and I've always admired my wife for arranging it. Mary Ellen thoroughly enjoyed her visit and it brought a nice end to this little romantic wartime story.
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