Bob recently contacted us through the website. He graduated in 1944 and is one of our most senior living Alumni. He will turn 90 on October 7, however, he told us that Brother Collier is 96 and still kicking. Bob wanted to share life as an AKπ during the 1940's.
Bob Reiland, 1943, AKπ T-Shirt, 113 N. Superior
Just out of H.S. in Chicago, I came to TSC in Sept 1942. My parents got me a room at Mrs. Chilton’s, which is just behind the AKπ house.
I earned my room by making beds, and had another job at the college, cleaning rooms & blackboards. Millikan’s Restaurant was THE best meal in town, $1.35 full meal WITH PIE ! Later Milikan’s closed so their son could be draft deferred working on their farm outside town.
My room was in a cupola at the 3rd story of the Chilton house. So cold, the ink on my drawings for Prof. Jackson FROZE ! Jackson assigned that we carve a soap model of a 2-view dwg. EVERY weekend. Later learned that his wife ran a laundry, and this was a great war-time soap supply ! At Chilton’s, my best friends were drawn from the AKπmen living there. Tony Conti, Bob Barnhill, Ray Peterson, Bill Stillman, others. So, it was an easy attraction for me to pledge AKπ. I pledged in the Jan-Mar Qt’r. Made my “Long Walk” on a bitter cold Mar. night, returning to my bed at 0530 on a Sunday morning. Had bought the Ft. Wayne Sun. paper before the walk Sat. night. Tired from the walk, but sat down to scan the paper. – Awakened, still clothed and seated on the edge of the bed, about Sunday noon.
There were literally hundreds of students that 1st quarter – lads trying to avoid the draft by entering engineering school. I was one of them; although, I had a lifetime love-affair with airplanes – beginning at age 3. There were THREE sections of College Algebra! – But, ALAS ! – The 2nd term was far less populated – many lads finding engineering was NOT for them – PLUS some “short-quota” draft boards. (In my unit in the Pacific, there was a Pvt. 39 yrs. with three kids.) Draft age in 1944 was 18 – 44.
I moved to the 113 N. Superior house in the 3rd Qt’r. earning meals by washing dishes and was elected Treasurer to earn my room by keeping the books, buying groceries, managing our Rationing Books, all expenses. We had the World’s BEST cook. She made baked liver w/ tomato sauce and onions taste like SWISS STEAK ! – Several guys said they would NEVER eat liver. – (They LOVED it !) Because of meat rationing, liver often was the ONLY meat I could find in quantity for our needs. But, as our ranks grew thin with the draft, we finally had to close the kitchen. I then washed dishes at The Unique Restaurant “downtown” Angola. It was . . . well, OKAY. - I recall the U.S. Army Air Corps had signed up a herd of guys in the “Reserves.” No more problem – Right? – WRONG ! – One weekend, the USAAF took out 500+ TSC students. Many even ended up in the Infantry! - Some were of course AKπ’s.
My Chicago Draft Board told me: “Bob, don’t fret. - We’ve got plenty of punks out there whom we can draft right now. - Just keep your grades up – you’ll be OKAY.” I knew that compassion was going to ebb. So, I took SIX subjects EACH Qt’r. to make it in 24 months. Good thing! My final Qt’r. Tony Andolina quarantined the house for THREE weeks with Scarlet Fever. My Dad passed away, TSC “almost” closed up, until the GI Bill brought in a handful of students. The first man had NO face. He had been a gunner on a B-26 Marauder, and his Cal.50 machinegun blew up in his face.
My Draft Board finally called me to appear for induction 5 August 1944. Being two wks. prior to the end of that term, I went to then Pres. Burton Handy, telling him I had completed all my reports and requested that I receive my diploma B.S. Aeronautical Engr’g. early.
Being the ULTIMATE gentleman he was, my request was granted on-the-spot. Not: “Well, Bob – I’ll need to think about this.”
So, I was inducted at Ft. Sheridan, sent to Inf. Basic at Camp Hood TX. The Army discovered my engr. degree and transferred me to Field Artillery at Ft. Sill OK. Field artillery surveying, ballistics, gunnery and observation is a “natural” for ANY engineer. Our platoon was almost 100% engineer grads. Two M.S. & one Ph.D. From there went to Mule Pack (“Otto” was my mule), then Horse Cavalry. My Mother died. Then finally back in Field Artillery and overseas to 148th Field Artillery Battalion of 112th Cavalry Regm’t. Combat Team on Luzon, Philippines. Clerk-Typist from 112th sat in on our “bull-sessions.” Wrote a “Pulitzer” about our stories, “The Naked and the Dead.”
Came home Aug 1946. Had received “Dear Bob” overseas. All girls had married or moved away. Aunt had discarded ALL my civilian clothes, believing they had belonged to my Dad. My dog didn’t even remember me ! – I hafta’ laff when I hear Viet Nam guys whimper about “No ticker-tape parades for US !” – HA ! – Went to TSC to see bro’s. who had come back to finish school. Sent 14 letters to aircraft companies. Got a NO. Then, got an offer $1.20/hr. at some unknown outfit in St. Louis (Mc Dougall??) Engr. Draftsman. (HATED drawing!) Next day $1.25/hr. at North American Aviation, Inc. in STRUCTURES ! – Los Angeles. 4 Nov 1946 was the beginning of a fulfilling aerospace (“Rocket Scientist”) career spanning 50+ years. Married sweet Beth, then got called to Active Duty, sent to Korea. Came back to North American. - What stories I could write about all those years !
An earlier AKπ four page article about me “TRASHED” my book, as the editor passed it to a “theologian” Prof. for review.
My book is for people who wish to better KNOW God. – NOT for “theologians.”
My book is the most splendid, most important, most valuable, most fulfilling contribution of my altogether otherwise VERY exciting life.
5 Careers – Field Artillery – Aerospace – SCUBA & Spearfishing – Open Sea Small Boat Navigation – Religious author in eschatology.
Robert Reiland -- 561-622-8066
http://jesusandthethirdtemple.com/podcast/ - YOU REALLY OUGHTA’ CHECK THIS OUT
Friday October 3, 2014 - Friday October 3, 2014
Athletic Recreational Center (ARC)
This is an Alumni Recognition Dinner sponsored by Trine University. This is a coat and tie event. Trine is attempting to expand Alumni involvement at Homecoming. The administration has been very impressed with the number of Alumni that have returned to Alpha Sigma Phi for the last 2 Homecomings, that they have extended an invitation to everyone to attend. This will be a great event and there is no charge.
for your convenience, we have asked the University to allow our Alumni to register on our site and they have agreed. Names of attendees will be provided to Trine. Please include your spouse/guest on your reservation, e.g., Joe and Jane Doe so we can provide an accurate account.
see you in October!