Whitesburg KY

What happened to all those recruits?

The Korean War broke out in June 1949. Sampson Air Base was opened to train recruits from the eastern parts of the United States. Sampson was a Navy base during World War II.

I was asked to open the base as the first printer. I was a printer at Lackland Field, Texas, during this time. Basic training began in January 1950.

When I arrived in December 1949, I’d never seen so much snow and cold weather in my life. My thought was that the Pentagon had made a big mistake in choosing Sampson to train recruits.

After basic training started, some of the ravines on base were full of snow up to 10 feet deep. The rumor was that they’d lost many recruits in the ravines. My theory was that the recruits went AWOL to get away from that place.

(Contributing writer Everett Vanover lives in Fairfield, Calif.)

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