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Bouck joined the National Guard [Annotator's Note: Missouri National Guard] at the age of 14. Growing up during the Depression in St. Louis was difficult, but he didn't realize much of it. He joined the National Guard while he was in grade school because he could get a dollar for a drill period. Bouck's father brought him and his brother who was 5 years older that him, to join the 138th Infantry Regiment [Annotator's Note: at the time part of the 35th Division].Bouck was athletic and had no problem keeping up with the other members of the Regiment. They played softball and baseball. He could keep up and was accepted by the others.The Regiment went to camp for 2 weeks after which there was an athletic program which Bouck liked. The following year they went to camp again. The 3rd year they were sent to camp in Minnesota. When they got back from Minnesota they were informed that the Division was to be mobilized. Bouck was in his 1st year of high school and he asked his dad if he could go because by that time, there had ben an organizational rearrangement in the military. During those years, Bouck was an armorer/artificer, a weapons specialist. The supply sergeant had him in the supply room. In 1941, when the Infantry Regiment was reorganized there were a lot of promotions but the supply sergeant didn't get one. In order for the supply sergeant to get promoted he would have to transfer to the wire Communications Section. He did that and that left Bouck as the only person in the supply room that had any knowledge of it, so he was made the Supply Sergeant. That way, when they were mobilized, Bouck got 60 dollars a month instead of 18 dollars a month if he had been drafted. Bouck's father gave him permission to go if he would return after his year was up to finish high school.Bouck was sent to Little Rock , AR to Camp Robinson. Pearl Harbor was attacked on the 7th of December [Annotator's Note: 7 December 1941]. Bouck's 1st year was up on the 23rd of December. When the war started, everyone's duty was extended for the duration of the war plus 6 months. Bouck was not able to return home and finish high school. He stayed with the 138th Infantry in Little Rock, AR.Bouck was sent to Fort Benning for a motor maintenance course. While there, the Division was mobilized and sent to California. He was pulled from the course and met his Division in California.The Division boarded boats and shipped out for about 3 days after which they were informed that they were going back to Fort Ord [Annotator's Note: in Monterey, CA]. Bouck's regiment was pulled out of the 35th Division creating a triangular division of 3 regiments. The 138th Infantry was sent to Fort Lewis, WA and from there to the Aleutian Islands.The Aleutian Islands were miserable, so Bouck applied for OCS [Annotator's Note: Officer Candidate School]. His Company Commander recommended him for OCS. A travelling board of officers went to Cold Bay to interview the soldiers who applied for OCS. Out of 32 men who appeared before the board only 4 were selected.Bouck was sent to Fort Benning, GA and joined OCS Class 57. Classes began August the 26th and Bouck graduated on October 26th. When he arrived he didn't know what was going on. The men were lined up. Bouck was called out by Lieutenant MacGuire, his platoon leader, and ordered to drill the platoon.He graduated 4th out of a class of 220. After graduation MacGuire told Bouck that he knew that he would graduate because he looked like a high school kid.The top 10 percent of the class were retained as instructors. Bouck stayed at Fort Benning as an instructor for about 2 years.
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