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Retired soldiers reflect on Veterans Day
by Everett Catts
November 07, 2012 04:56 PM | 2030 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff/ Nathan Self<br>
World War II veteran Jack Castle shows a portrait of himself in uniform from his time in the Pacific.
Staff/ Nathan Self
World War II veteran Jack Castle shows a portrait of himself in uniform from his time in the Pacific.
slideshow
Special Photo<br>
Korean War veteran Jim Hoover, shown vacationing in Victoria, Australia.
Special Photo
Korean War veteran Jim Hoover, shown vacationing in Victoria, Australia.
slideshow
As the country prepares to honor former soldiers on Veterans Day this Sunday, two local veterans talked about their experiences and reflected on what the holiday means to them. Their comments were edited for space concerns.

Jack Castle

o Served in: World War II

o Role in war: Naval lab technician and mortician

o Residence: Sandy Springs

o Age: 92

o On his experience in the war: “I was 21 when I went in. I had just been married [to his wife Jean] prior to being drafted. I was not trying to think about the big picture. I was just taking orders. We didn’t think about how long the war would last. We probably thought it would go on forever. … I [started as] a private and moved to [up] adjutant of the 689th Combat Battalion. I was in Japan fighting with occupation troops. … I was on the Aquitania, the Lusitania’s sister ship. We ran alone on the Aquitania, a supply ship. It was very fast. We went to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Cape Town, South Africa, Cairo … and El Alamein, Egypt; and the Qattara Depression.”

o On what Veterans Day means to him: “I think we did stop the tyranny in the world by having World War II. It was a terrible, long war. … It’s just a major event in my life. I’m proud that I served. I think we served for a purpose and that was accomplished. Whether we [the U.S.] keep the gains we have made in World War II, I don’t know. I look at it and think it was a major experience in my life. I was successful in civilian life [after the war].”

Jim Hoover

o Served in: Korean War

o Role in war: Marines Corps aviation electronics

o Residence: Midtown

o Age: 78

o On his experience in the war: “We flew over the 38th Parallel to track where the North Koreans had their radar stationed. ... The great thing about serving in Korea or in a dangerous zone is everybody [all the U.S. soldiers] gets along. You just don’t have differences. I got mad in a poker game one time and it took six months to live down my reputation of losing my cool. That was the experience for me. Anybody can like anybody if you make an effort to. I had friends there and you go your separate ways when you come back to the [United] States. But when you’re over there, you find the good in your fellow Marine. I value that. As a Marine, in an area like that, the officers and the enlisted men showed total respect for each other. That was why we were a team. Those are the two things I take away from Korea.”

o On what Veterans Day means to him: “I guess it makes me proud that I served and I think it’s a great experience but everybody should give service to their country in one way or another. The older I get, the more I believe that. I think if everybody did that, we would not have as much of this nonsense that we do here [in the U.S.]. … We’ve got to do everything we can to avoid wars. War is not a good thing. It may be a necessary thing sometimes.”
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