Second World War: KP Duty

Texan talks about enlisting in the Army Air Corps and dodging KP duty during the Second World War.

| Good Old Days

I was a young farm boy in 1942 and wanted to serve my country. My dad took me to the Salina, Kansas, Army Recruiting Station to enlist in the Army Air Corps. A great number of young men were enlisting and being drafted. I took the physical and was told to return home and they would notify me when I was needed. 

I received my notice to report at Fort Riley, Kansas, on September 26th. I hitchhiked there, arriving on the 25th, and was assigned a bed in the barracks. I thought I would be inducted in a day or two. The second evening a sergeant called my name and told me to report for KP at 3 the next morning. I told him I hadn't been sworn in yet. He said since I was still a civilian I wouldn't be required to pull KP. Then the same thing happened daily until October 1st.

By that time, I was getting discouraged and decided the Army didn't need me. I asked for and received a pass to go into Junction City. I didn't stop there but hitchhiked to Wichita, where my brother-in-law and sister lived. When I explained that the Army didn't need me they said I was over the hill and was a deserter. I said I wasn't over the hill as I was still a civilian, and I didn't believe the Army needed me.

My sister was frantic and was sure the Army would have me shot. I finally agreed to return to Fort Riley on October 4th. The first night I was back the sergeant came after me. Before he could say anything I asked him where he had been, because I had missed him. He told me he had been looking for me. Again he told me to report for KP, and I explained I hadn't been sworn in. He came after me for KP each evening until October 10th. I had decided if they didn't swear me in that day I was leaving again and not returning. At 4 p.m. I was lined up with ten men outside the barracks and sworn in. The sergeant found me again that evening and assigned me to KP. Right after he left I was called to the office and given an envelope with my records and told I would ship out the next morning. When I found the sergeant and told him I was leaving, I thought he would cry.

I may have the record for being the only one to go over the hill before I was inducted.

Ivan French 
Mercedes, Texas

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