Due to the Korean War, which raged from June of 1950 to July of 1953, the war machine that all of America help oil— Rosie the Riveter, included — continued to expand.
An old Naval base, Sampson Air Force Base opened in 1950 as a basic training site to prepare young men, most no older than 20, for the war in Korea.
Sampson was located on the shore of Senega Lake in Geneva, NY, where the winter temperatures plunged below 0.
“Could there be a continuous training base” in those kinds of conditions, Pete Harris said the military wanted to know. The answer?
“Of course not,” Harris said.
Harris was a Tactical Instructor (T.I.) at the base, the Air Force’s version of a drill sergeant, and was one of about 119 men, and one woman, who met at the Lake Barkley Lodge last week to remember their weeks in northern New York, almost 50 years after the base’s closure.
The base closed again in 1956, but only after training more than 300,000 men.
Among those attending last week’s reunion were six friends who left Cadiz for Sampson in the summer of 1954. Wednesday was only the second time since their training that all six were together.
They were supposed to go as a group of seven, Bernie Redd said, but “the one who did the most talking didn’t show up for the bus-ride.”
For the rest of this article, please read this week's edition of The Cadiz Record.