Tosh Spent 37 Years In Army Na­tional Guard

McDonald County Press - - VETERANS DAY - Rachel Dick­er­son McDon­ald County Press rdick­er­son@nwadg.com

Bill Tosh of Good­man spent 37 years in the Army Na­tional Guard.

He grew up liv­ing be­tween An­der­son and Good­man. When he was in grade school, he used to walk about five miles to school ev­ery day to a two-room school­house. He did that un­til he went to high school at An­der­son High.

“I played a lit­tle football and bas­ket­ball, and we played base­ball quite a bit,” he recalled.

He grad­u­ated in 1964; but dur­ing his ju­nior year, he joined the Army Na­tional Guard.

“Dur­ing the sum­mer while we were out, they had the two-week camp. Then, after we got out of high school, we did our ba­sic train­ing and AIT (ad­vanced in­ten­sive train­ing).”

“Back then, we were trained in tanks, ar­mor,” he con­tin­ued. “Ev­ery two weeks, we’d have guard train­ing. We’d go to Ri­p­ley, Minn.”

One year they went to Fort Ri­ley, Kan., and trained in in­fantry in­stead of tanks, he said. They would spend the nights in fox­holes, and it would get cold at night. He said it was the cold­est he had ever been.

“There was noth­ing to block the wind,” he said.

After six years, he left the Army Na­tional Guard and went to work at Vick­ers Inc. in Jo­plin, run­ning ma­chines. He worked there for 20 years.

At the end of that stint, a friend got him to join the Na­tional Guard again. This time, he stayed in for 31 years. His job was run­ning heavy equip­ment.

“One year, we went to Hon­duras, built a road over the moun­tains for them. Then we went back up to Ri­p­ley and built an airstrip for the C-130s to land on. We also built (an airstrip) at Camp Crow­der at Neosho,” he said.

When he got out of the Na­tional Guard, he drove a truck for M&X for two years and then be­came a driver trainer.

“I used to take stu­dents out ev­ery week to Cal­i­for­nia and back,” he said.

Then he drove a truck for Hud­son Foods for two years. After that, he drove a truck for Sun­beam, which changed to Jar­dan while he was work­ing for the com­pany. He was a yard driver, mean­ing he would pull full trail­ers out of the dock and put empty ones back in so they could be loaded.

He re­tired in 2006 at the age of 62. Now he and his wife, Oleta, do “pretty well what­ever we want to do,” he said. They en­joy go­ing fish­ing to­gether, he added.

A good bonus, he said, is that he has Tri­care, a gov­ern­ment medical in­surance plan that picks up any­thing Medi­care does not cover. He was able to get Tri­care be­cause he served 20 years in the mil­i­tary.

Tosh has four chil­dren, 16 grand­chil­dren and three great-grand­chil­dren.

RACHEL DICK­ER­SON/MCDON­ALD COUNTY PRESS

Bill Tosh of Good­man was in the Army Na­tional Guard for 37 years.

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