Bill Northcut –Citizen Soldier
Bio: Born: 2-18-1933 in Emory, TX. Married Billie Frances Northcut June 1952. Children: Melinda, Brenda and William.
Bill Northcut graduated high school in June, 1950. He was drafted into the Army on February 5th, 1953. He noted that approximately 36,000 men were drafted during this month which was the largest call since WWII. From the Korean War’s outbreak in June 1950 until the armistice agreement in July 1953, 1.5 million men were inducted and another 1.3 million volunteered.
Bill took his basic training at Ft. Bliss near El Paso, Texas. At the end of basic training, he and many of his buddies were afraid they would be sent to Korea. Out of 225 in his training detachment, 175 were sent to the 246th Field Artillery Unit on the main post. The unit was deactivated after the war in the Pacific was over in September 1945 and was reactivated during the Korean War. Bill said that his unit “spent quite a bit of time in the field shooting off missiles called ‘corporals’ The MGM-5 corporal was the first guided weapon to carry a nuclear warhead and had a range of 75 miles.
Fortunately for Bill, with the signing of the armistice in Korea, he was able to spend his entire enlistment at Ft. Bliss. He would make Sergeant by the time his enlistment was up in February 1955. He would receive the National Defense Medal, Good Conduct Medal and the Presidential Unit Citation which was a carryover from WWII.
Bill would have many jobs after his time in the service. He would work at a dairy. He had a bookkeeping job at a cotton merchant. Then he worked in a janitorial supply business. He was the financial accountant at Automation Industries in Abilene which was a fabrication shop making critical helicopter parts for Bell Helicopter. He would go to night school during his working years. His next job would be selling audio visual training aids to schools. After working in the oil field for a few years, he made his way to Sul Ross University in Alpine and worked in the Physical Plant. He would retire from there in 1996 and move to Abernathy. Not content to be retired, he worked at Resthaven Cemetery part time.
Bill is a very patriotic American and he has very strong opinions on what it means to be and American and a veteran. Here are a few examples in his own words:
“From the very beginning of the United States, it was the citizen soldier (veteran) who would give us our country and freedom. These men and women were and are willing to give their blood and their life if necessary for that freedom. Our way is not perfect, but it is far better than other countries.”
“It was said by a Japanese Admiral that an invasion of the United States would fail, repeat fail, because there would be a person with a gun behind every bush, tree, etc.”
“Freedom isn’t Free. All gave some, some gave all.” (These are two of Bill’s favorite statements).
“It is the veteran who will defend the constitution and your right not to agree with his or her beliefs.”
“Everyone should be willing to defend these freedoms.”
Bill was honored to go on the 2015 Texas South Plains Honor Flight.
Respectfully submitted by
Larry A. Williams
Texas South Plains Honor Flight Board
Veterans Liaison Co-Chair