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