Name: Vernon Gilleece
Place of Birth: Valley Falls, Kansas
Personal History: High Prairie District 92 School l(8Yrs.); Dennison High School (4 yrs.); played baseball & basketball; 2 sisters and 1 brother; wife (deceased); 2 children (Alan Gileece & Sandra Booth). In the 1930s, my dad became the world's second stomach intestine resection; There were a lot of dust storms in Kansas. In 1932, we had the biggest drought where it did not rain at all. On Friday, August 13, 1934, the drought ended by a big tornado at 4am in the morning. I lived on a farm and we raised cattle. I was stationed on the farm by the draft board due to my father illness. I could not go into military at that time. After a period of time, I asked the draft board for permission to leave Valley Falls and join the military. They was reluctant to do so. So I put up a big fuss and they finally released me from the stationery status.
Place of Recruitment: Fort Leavenworth, Kansas (19 yrs old)
Branch of Service: US Army (1945 – 1947) WWII
Kansas National Guard (1948 – 1951)
Military Occupation: Anti-Tank Gunner
Class: Private First Class
Service History, Stateside or Abroad: 1945 – In April I spent 3 days at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas for indoctrination and, thereafter, went to basic in at Fort Hood, Texas, South Camp. Trained for invasion forces into Japan. We were trained on every weapons including the 57mm cannon, twin 50 guns, m1 rifles, 30 caliber machine gun, browning automatic rifles, 45 caliber pistol, grease gun, bazookas and flame throwers. We were in basic training for 17 weeks. During basic training and while walking to the impact area (20 miles each way) every day of training, I collapsed and was pronounced dead on arrival (DOA). It turned out to be a fall out from heat exhaustion.
In August, 1945, we transferred to Camp Funston (Fort Riley, Kansas) for advanced training for 12 weeks. During this period, the war was still going on. The US dropped bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We did not get a chance to be transferred overseas, but were shipped to Washington, D.C. (Fort Meyers). Twenty-eight generals lived at the Fort, including Dwight Eisenhower. We were the controlling force at the Pentagon, and Arlington National Cemetery. We were the 250 MP Specialist Company. I was the personal guard to President Truman. As part of the 250th MP Company Special, eighty of us were assigned to protect the White House and the President. We were on a rotational basis. The time that I was on duty, I found the President to be a very nice person. Also, whenever he made a statement, he expected that statement to be carried out the way it was stated. He did not get radical (mad or angry). He was pleasant. At Christmas time, he would come out and make a speech in front of the White House before the Christmas lights were turned on.
In 1946 and while in Washington, D.C., a Lieutenant, and six soldiers (including me) guarded the stolen Hess Jewels. We was told that there were one army captain, one army Wac lieutenant and one army sergeant stoled the jewels from Germany and took them to San Francisco, California, where they were caught. This was an FBI operations to get these jewels back. I don't know how it got to Washington, D.C., but it ended up at the 14th Street Warps. I don't know what happened to the jewels thereafter.
I stayed in the regular Army until 1947. Following my military service, I returned to Topeka, Kansas, and worked for the Veteran Administration, Winter Veterans Hospital for five years. I worked on the Mental Ward. I was in the 1st class that was licensed as LPNs. Thereafter, I was placed in the Lobotomy Ward. I also got married in January, 1947. I also joined the Kansas National Guard. In 1951 and 1953, I went to Anchorage, Alaska and worked for a construction company. From Alaska, I went to Wichita, Kansas and in 1952 and 1954, I worked for Eby Construction Company.
From there, I worked in Topeka, Kansas from 1954 to 1962, in a Medical Supply Company, as a General Manager. In 1962, I worked for a Medical Supply Company in Oklahoma. In 1963 to 1980, I became a stockholder in a medical supply company and worked as a General Manager. In 1981, I worked for a medical supply company in Louisiana. I returned to San Antonio, Texas and started up another Surgical Supply Company until 1985. In 1986 to 1992, I worked at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, as a Purchasing Agent for the hospital. I stayed in Florida until 2003. Thereafter, I came to Corinthians Reitrement Community, Carrollton, Texas.
Honors & Commendations: Good Conduct Medal; Medal for Washington, D.C. Area
Present Location: Carrollton, Texas (Corinthian Retirement Community)
What's Your Carrollton Connection? My son, Alan, lives in Carrollton, Texas