Courtesy photo From left, George Gushwa, Jim Robinson, Johnny Morgan, Oliver Fenton, RE Self, Carol McClusty, J.W. Capps, George Barton (kneeling).
By Johnny Morgan
On March 11, 1941, 26 young men from Roosevelt County left Portales to be drafted into the U.S. Army in Santa Fe.
We walked from our hotel to the armory for our physicals. I will never forget what the major said when he saw us:
“What do we have here? A bunch of country boys? Good. You are just what the Army ordered. You can take whatever the Army can dish out. I am also a country boy.”
When we arrived in El Paso and Fort Bliss, half of the 26 were assigned to the 200 Coast Artillery and the other half went to the 804 Tank Destroyer Battalion.
Those of us in the 804 became close as brothers for almost five years. We had one dear friend we called “Pop” as he was quite older than we were. He kept us in line. He was George McCollough, who lived between Milnesand and Pep.
George was killed in action in Italy and was buried in Italy.
It was such a shock to all of us.
Out of the 13, we had five purple hearts.
A few years after the World War II ended George McCollough brother’s had George’s body brought back to Portales.
The eight of us in this picture met the train with George’s casket at 3 o’clock one morning. The photo was taken in 1947 at the house where I lived, 510 W. 15th St.