Rudolph McDonald

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U.S. Army

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Rudolph McDonald

Place of Birth: Miami, Florida

Interesting Home State History: When Juan Ponce de Leon visited Florida in 1513, he may have been searching for the fabled Fountain of Youth. The waters of this fountain were said to bring back youth and to keep people young forever. Ponce de Leon did not find the magic fountain, but today more than 400 years later, many of the retired people who make their homes in Florida believe they have found a kind of fountain of youth in Florida's warm and sunny climate. Florida has played an important part in the space age. In 1958 the first United States space satellite was launched from the missle base at Cape Canaveral (known as Cape Kennedy from 1963 to 1973) on Florida's Atlantic coast. In 1969, Apollo 11 lifted off from the Cape with astronauts who became the first human beings to set foot on the Moon. In 1981, the space shuttle Columbia was launched from the Cape.

Florida has long been known for flowers and citrus fruits. It is the land of forests, rolling hills, swamplands, springs, and lakes. It has vast farmlands and busy industrial centers. It holds many reminders of the past. Many cities have Indian names. Tallahassee, the name of Florida's capital city, means "Old Town". Okeechobee, the name of the largest lake means "Big Water". Another lake is called Apopka, or "Potato Eating Place". The Calusa were one of the four tribes of Florida. Florida became the 27th state of the union on March 3rd, 1945. Florida is called the Sunshine State. It's original name came from Pascua Florida, the Spanish word for Flowery Easter. So named by Ponce De Leon because of the flowery appearance of the land and his discovery of it during the Easter season. The state song is Swanee River by Stephen Foster. The state motto is "In God We Trust". The state flag seal is in the center on a white field. Red bars extend from each corner to the edge of the seal. The state bird is the "Mocking Bird". The state flower is the "Orange Blossom".

Place of Recruitment: New York, NY

Branch of Service: U.S. Army

Class: SP5(T)

Military Occupation: Mail Clerk, Supply Clerk, Legal Clerk (stateside) Personnel Specialist (Vietnam)

Service History, Stateside or Abroad: From: September 27th 1966 thru September 18th, 1968
I was drafted into the military and was transferred to Fort Jackson, South Carolina along with other servicemen by train, for orientation and process. It took about three days. The next day I was on the bus along with other servicemen to Fort Gordon, Georgia for basic training. I was scared and nervous as others were too. Basic training was hard and rough. Getting up at 5am in the morning to make revely (formation) at 6am was mandatory. 
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If you did not make this you would be considered AWOL (absent without leave) and you were punished. All through basic training I was determined to make it. It was a three month training that involved rifle training, physical and mental testing. I had time to mingle with the others after physical and mental training. We could not go off the base, but were able to go to the PX escorted. We also marched to the barber shop. It was a pitiful and hilarious sight to see after our hair was cut. Toward the end of basic training the rules were a little more laxed.

There was a week of testing, and at the end, I was one of the service-men that scored highter on all the tests. Those that scored the highest, were given a weekend pass downtown Augusta, Georgia. It was early in December of 1967 when basic training was over and we all awaited our orders for the next stage of our military training. My orders read: Clerk and Advanced Training at Fort Hood, Texas. I was to go on furlough and report to Fort Hood, Texas on or about December 17th, 1967. The first unit I went to was I recalled is the 2/1 Calvery. I worked in supply 4. I was transferred to another unit whose name I don’t recall but I was the mail clerk for the unit. The last unit I went to was the 1/46 Infantry Battalion. I worked as a legal clerk for awhile handling all the article 15 and court marshals.

Later on our unit was chosen to be a part of the 198 Light Infantry Brigade to be stationed in Vietnam. It was back to the hard training out in the field at Fort Hood lasting some four weeks or more. I got my orders along with the others and was given three days to packand call my family members. It was a tough time but I was determined. On October 3, 1968 I left Texas for Oakland, California by plane, along with the other servicemen. There were three ships that sailed for Vietnam. I can only recall the ship I was on, and that was "The Upshur". The next day, October 4th, (my birthday) we sailed from Oakland, California to Vietnam. We spent twenty three days on the seas, which included a stop over in Okinawa, Japan. And on the 23rd day we were in Da Nang. And with the sound of planes, bombs and gun fire, we knew that we were in the war.

I was determined to come home and do what was necessary to achieve that quest. We were finally located in Chu Lai from Da Nang and wen later on a convoy to Duc Pho for action. It was not until November 1967, toward the week of Thanksgiving, that we convoyed back to our base at Chu Lai. I was there during the Tet Offense in December of 1967. I was also a part of the Bob Hope Christmas Show. In September of 1968 I got my orders to depart for the states which ended my time in Vietnam. Vietnam was a military experience that I will never forget. I left Cammaron Bay, Vietnam with a stop over in Guam, the plane landed in the state of Washington. I stayed at Fort Lewis, Washington. On September 18th,1968 I was given an Honorable discharge from the military. 

Honors & Commendations:
National Defense Service Medal, Marksman M-16, Vietnam Service Medal, Sharp Shooter M-14, Vietnam Commendation Medal, 2 o/s Bars, Good Conduct Medal, Army Commendation Medal.

Present Location: Carrollton, Texas