Of the nine children of Joseph and Lucille Duwell, five of them served in the Armed Forces during the Korean War era including three being in Korea at one time.
The family began on a farm one mile south of St. Cloud. All nine children were born in the family home. In 1947, the farm was sold and the Duwell family moved to the Johnsburg area to a farm located one mile north of the village. The family attended St. John School and church in Johnsburg.
World War II was over in 1945 and the Korean Conflict was about to begin around 1949.
Sgt. Verna Duwell
Verna had the dream that her life would involve air flight in some form.
She completed her primary education with flying colors. By the time she graduated from high school in 1949 the airlines had started to have passenger flights. She applied for training as a hostess but was told she was not tall enough. They had to be able to reach the luggage compartments.
One day she went shopping and happened to see the iconic sign of Uncle Sam pointing his finger at her. It said, “I want you.” That made up her mind to enlist in the U.S. Army. In May 1950 Verna was inducted in the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC) basic training at Co 1st Battalion at Fort Lee, Virginia. After basic training she was sent to Fort Sam Houston, Texas for Dental Tech School. In 1951 she went to Camp Pickett, Virginia to train as a dental hygienist and X-ray technician.
On Dec. 25, 1951 she was on her way to Germany on the USS General C. H. Muir. It proved to be a pretty tough ride. She arrived in Stuttgart, Germany in January 1952 and reported to 5th General, 7th Army to work as a dental hygienist and X-ray technician. In 1953 she tried out and was accepted in the 7th Army Special Services Repertory Company. Her group traveled and performed throughout Germany. While in Germany, she had the opportunity to travel to other countries as well. This opportunity allowed her to combine extensive travel through European countries along with completing her military duties. Being part of the Repertory Company allowed them to entertain the troops.
(Please see the October 15 issue of the Tri-County News for more on this story.)
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