WARREN - U.S. Army veteran Jack Walters comes from a family of military men. His father was drafted into the U.S. Navy shortly after Pearl Harbor, and his three brothers followed suit into the U.S. Army and Marines.
Walters, 83, said when his father returned from the war, he had a nervous breakdown, leaving Walters - a high-schooler - responsible for taking care of his three younger brothers. After taking a year and a half off school to provide for his family, Walters graduated at the age of 21 and was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1951. That is where he met Clark Rumiser.
"We became friends the minute we were drafted," he said.
Together with Rumiser, Walters spent his basic training in Indiana before being sent to Fort Bragg in North Carolina. Walters said the terrain in North Carolina was hot and sandy, something that they expected to deal with in Korea.
"We were really in our minds thinking 'We are going to Korea,'" he said.
However, on the way back to training in Indiana, they got word that they wouldn't be sent to Korea after all, but to Germany. This changed his mindset.
He recalled thinking, "'Oh boy, maybe we'll get over there and see some frauleins!' - You know how 20-year-old guys are."
After a nine day boat ride to Germany, Walters said daily life included continual training. Each day, they woke up did their calisthenics, marched to breakfast and ran through practices.
"We were called 'forward observers.' We'd fly over and spot the enemies and radio back to the artillery guns so the soldiers could advance," he said.
Walters continued to run through these manoeuvres, which consisted of just himself and a pilot with binoculars in a small plane, for the 14 months that he was in Germany. They were part of the occupational army that was ready to be sent to Korea if needed.
Occasionally on weekends he, Rumiser, and others would go on trips to Munich or Switzerland to sight-see and look for girls.
"Oh yeah, but we didn't bring any home. All they wanted was chocolate candies and nylon hose," Walters said.
Eventually with the end of the war, Walters was discharged. He said he's thankful that he never had to go to Korea, though he would have been ready if they did.
After the war, Walters began a sign business in Warren with his wife, and stayed in touch with his basic training buddy.
In fact, he and Rumiser (living in Kent) both participated in the Cuyahoga Falls Memorial Day Parade.