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My Military and Life Experiences by Steven Waugh

Edit: Steven Waugh sent this autobiography in recently and, besides an abbreviated Waugh family history, he mentions being involved in some of the activities that were shaping U.S. policy.

Steven Michael Waugh would have been a member of the Class of 1962; but, since Milford School closed at the end of the 1961 class year, he graduated from Roland Community High School. Due to the relative closeness of Steve’s family’s dairy farm to Roland, and since his father, Fred A. Waugh, Jr., and his grandfather Fred A Waugh, Sr., had both graduated from Roland, it made more sense for his family to “petition out” from the Nevada School Reorganization Plan, along with the Watson and Munson families. Steve had spent his first five years on the original Nels and Rikka Waugh farm, started by his great-grandparents in 1870, three and a half miles north of Roland, where his family farmed, also.

He is the only child of Fred A. Waugh, Jr., and Gladys E. (Rafdal) Waugh, each from the Roland and Story City area, respectively. At five years old, Steve and his family moved to a 200 acre farm, 1 mile East and 3 miles South of Roland, and 2 miles East and 3 miles North of the Milford Schoolhouse. Steve’s family rented this farm and another farm 1 mile East and 1 1/4 miles North of the Milford School, from Lawrence Farrell, owner of the Des Moines Register and Tribune Newspaper and Building, until Steve’s dad passed away in July 1975, after having a farm machinery sale earlier that year. At the time, Steve was working on Wall Street for Citibank/Citicorp and came home to organize the farm sale and make arrangements during and after the passing of his father, so his mother could build a new house in Roland to move off the farm.

After graduating from Roland in May of 1962, Steve began college in Ames, Iowa, at Iowa State University enrolled in Aerospace Engineering for the first two years of his college career. Then, he changed his major to Industrial Engineering/Industrial Administration, which he received his Bachelor of Science Degree in on November 18, 1967. Upon graduating, Steve worked for a few months as a Sales Engineer for the Goodyear Rubber Company Plant in Lincoln, Nebraska, where they make Power Transmission Belting Products, from minute belts for clocks up to people-moving sidewalk belts.

Since Steve had already been drafted due to his 1A status, he enlisted in the Army with the intentional plans of going to Officer Candidate School (OCS). However, after finishing in the top 10% of his Basic Training at Ft. Lewis in Seattle, Washington; and, then graduating from Advanced Individual Training (AIT) at Ft. Ord in Monterrey, California, as the class Honor Graduate; the Army hadn’t processed his OCS paperwork in time, so they put him on a levy for combat service in Vietnam.

So, once Steve arrived in Vietnam, he was assigned to the 11th Armored Calvary Regiment (ACR) at Blackhorse Base Camp in IV Corps Vietnam, and then moved up to I Corps at the Forward Command Post Headquarters, where he served under the direct command of Colonel George S. Patton III. This Patton was the Commanding Officer of the 11th ACR, and he was the son of General George S. Patton, Jr., who commanded the 3rd Armored Division in WWII.

The mission of the 11th ACR Command Headquarters was not only to provide armored combat vehicles for the war in Vietnam; but, they still guarded the Bien Hoa Air Force Base perimeter, where “Freedom Birds” arriving and leaving Vietnam, along with combat air strikes were conducted. As a personal aide to Patton, I was responsible for writing/preparing a lot of his correspondence, maintaining casualty records, writing/preparing combat orders and medals to be awarded, along with pulling guard duty as required. Upon receiving orders to report back to the USA for OCS, Patton sent me to a couple of artillery support bases along the Cambodian border to get some experience in the artillery, since I was going to Artillery OCS.

Once I got to Ft. Sill, in Lawton, Oklahoma, I found myself in the 100th Centennial Class of Artillery OCS or Class 19-69. I was fortunate to graduate in the top 10% of my OCS class 19-69, so I was given the opportunity to choose my Branch of the Army to be commissioned in; so, I selected the Signal Corps, which then took me to Ft. Gordon, Georgia, for Officer Basic Courses in the Signal Corps. Upon graduation there, I was offered a 2 year tour of duty in The Pentagon, if I would serve at least one more tour overseas.

My Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) in The Pentagon was that of a Data Processing Project Officer, whereby I served in the Personnel Information System Command (PERSINSCOM) under the Deputy Chief of Staff of Personnel (DCSPER). Since computers were still relatively new and much larger to operate, we designed the new personnel records and systems for the Department of the Army. Another major project, that I worked on with our staff, was the “Modern Volunteer Army Project”, which is still in use today by our troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc., whereby they receive a college education, etc, in exchange for 3-4 years or more of service.

Then, during my last year, I was an Adjutant/Administrative Officer of a Signal Corps Company in Bangkok, Thailand, along with carrying a sidearm as the Payroll Officer. Page Communications, an American company was taking over responsibility of all communications in Thailand, so one of my jobs was to find jobs for our troops all over the world, as they were replaced by a Page Representative. Also, I was in charge of all personnel and their records, along with bailing them out of jail when they had too good of a time on Pat Pong Road and other Bangkok nightspots. Finally, I was promoted to Captain on my birthday, 12/17/71, but my orders were rescinded, along with all other junior officer promotions at that time, since Nixon had decided, that day, to end the Vietnam War with honor, and allowed all junior officers an “Early Out”.

So, I got out on 3/21/72 from The Presidio in San Francisco. Once I was out of the Army, I started interviewing; and, I decided to take an offer working for H. Ross Perot, owner of Electronic Data Systems (EDS) in Dallas. The job was with EDS on Wall Street in New York City. Perot was in the process of merging a couple of brokerage firms together (Walston and DuPont-Glore-Forgan), that he had invested in heavily. So, after attending the Computer Systems Engineering Course at the Dallas Headquarters of EDS, my family and I moved to New Jersey, where we later lived on the Jersey Shore. After working for EDS for a couple of years, one of my friends went to work for First National City Bank, which soon after became known as Citibank/Citicorp. He arranged some interviews for me with a few bank officers in operations, and they offered me a better opportunity, than I had with EDS.

So, for the next few years I was one of the key management officers in the Check Processing Division, where we implemented the REI-Trace Systems of Technology, in order to process about 4 million checks per night. Then I had the opportunity to get in on the early days of credit card processing; so I moved to the Baltimore-Washington area, where Citicorp had acquired a regional

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© 2012 Mark Christian
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