After the firing stops during the conflict of war there is still work to do. That’s the experience Amidon native Benedict Benz had after he joined the forces in 1954.
By COLE BENZ | Herald Editor | email@example.com
After the firing stops during the conflict of war there is still work to do. That’s the experience Amidon native Benedict Benz had after he joined the forces in 1954. Though the conflict in the Korean War was nearing its end, the army was still needed for support around the world.
Enlisting as a 24 year old farmer, Benz joined the military because he anticipated being drafted anyway.
After penning his name on the dotted line, Benz left Amidon for Fargo. His train left at 5:30 a.m. and after making stops at every town along the way, he arrived in Fargo close to midnight that evening.
He would do his basic training in Missouri before heading to Fort Sam Houston in Texas. He was assigned to Ft. Sam Houston after a placement test recommended him for Medic duty.
From there he was deployed to Germany where the military used him and his crew wherever they were needed.
“We could go anywhere anybody needed, even civilians,” Benz said.
Some of the more important roles Benz had was while other soldiers were trying to clean up the areas that had been battle grounds just a few years prior. When teams would survey the land for buried land mines, he was on site in case of an accident, or another emergency situation.
Benz was on site at the International Firing Range overlooking the Baltic Sea.
Benz was charged with helping the German citizens if there was medical assistance needed. He recalls one story in which a motorcycle accident occurred just outside where he the medics were located. The accident involved civilians and the military medics responded.
Though World War II had been over for almost a decade, Benz said relations between the soldiers and the German citizens were something less than comfortable.
“They were a little impartial to us,” Benz said. “But they found out [that] we’ve done some good whenever they needed help.”
The assistance is something that Benz said the military hoped would mend the tattered relations between the United States and Germany.
Overall Benz said there were about 120 ambulances in his outfit. Though they were based in Germany, Benz said they could be sent anywhere assistance was needed.
He also said a great part of his experience was the friendships he gained.
“You make some good buddies,” Benz said.
He still keeps in contact with them to this day.
Benz made it to the rank of Corporal, and when he was finishing up his required service time his superior approached him with something in his hand. What was in his hand?
His Sergeant stripes.
All he had to do was re-enlist and he would have been promoted. He declined the opportunity, and according to Benz, went home to be with ‘sweetheart.’
Benz’s experience is one that many overlook when reading about the history of war and conflict.
Fences need mending and hearts need soothing, and the efforts Benz and his fellow troops made during a post war era are a display of how actions can say a lot more than words.