Oral Histories

Sam Taylor


Sam Taylor

Q: So when you left to go to college, the boom hadn’t really started?

A: No.

Q: Then you came back in the short interim and things had really started to change and then you took off again?

A: And I took off again. And I was gone for two years. I requested overseas duty; I didn’t want to be stationed in the United States because I knew I’d be fighting to get back home on 3-day passes. I didn’t want to face that. Thought the time would go faster if I was overseas. So I got sent to the Far East and by that time the peace talks had concluded in Korea.

Q: Were you actually stationed in Korea?

A: No, I was there on infrequent occasions, but I was stationed in northern Japan and that’s where I spent nearly two years.

Q: And what was your job in the service?

A: Well, I was trained as a radar operator, because of my induction test scores. But when I was assigned to the small field artillery battalion in northern Honshu, I was put into a battalion that had an average education level of 6th grade. And I had two years of college and I could type. So they moved me right into battalion headquarters where I was made personnel sergeant as a pfc. And in six months had been waivered up to sergeant. I was personnel sergeant of a field artillery battalion and, as such, I did a lot of courier work. Some of those courier trips take either passengers or papers over to Korea. So I did get a taste of Korea; just enough of a taste to know I didn’t ever want to go back. But I decided when I got over there that I was going to make the best of it. I wrote my parents from basic training and said, “You know, this is miserable.” But the most miserable thing about it, even though I’ve been in miserable situations in my life, in my growing up years, I’ve never been in one before where I couldn’t say, “To Hell with it”, and walk away from it because I knew somebody would be right behind me. I continued that attitude and decided I’d get as much out of military service as I could. I did a tremendous amount of traveling in the Far East. At that time, you could hop a ride on a military air transport plane if they had room for you, to almost anyplace. I went to Manila, Singapore, Saigon, Hong Kong, It was just marvelous. And since I was personnel sergeant and had supervision over my own leave records, I could take these trips and they would never be counted against my 30-days a year leave time. That’s kind of dishonest, I guess. We did it. The first 6 months in Japan I tried to cope with it, the second 6 months I was there I learned to enjoy. The last 6 months there, I loved it. In fact, I even looked for a job over there. By that time the newspaper back home was in trouble lease-wise. It had been run down badly. I talked with my Dad on the phone. He still had 3 years left on his state appointment and he didn’t want to leave. And he physically, after the stroke, wasn’t able to do much anymore. I said, “Well, I’ll come home then and run the paper for a few months until we decide what we want to do with it.” So I did. I was released from the army and retained in inactive reserve for 6 years in Fort Ord, California, which is not far from San Francisco. I flew home. Two days later, I drove my car, which my father had kept for me, to Moab and took over the paper. I couldn’t believe the size of the staff. The secretary came into my office the day after I came home and said, “We’ve got a little problem.” I said, “What’s that?” She said,” We’ve got to make the payroll tomorrow.” I said, “Well, do it.” She said, “I’m short six hundred dollars of having enough to cover the payroll.” I said, “ How much money do we have in the bank anyway?” She said, “Eighteen dollars.” Where had all the money gone?

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