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Ashe County Veterans History Project: Albert Calhoun

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Albert Calhoun's Photos

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Albert was honored to raise the American flag at a Skyline / Skybest Telecommunications meeting in West Jefferson, North Carolina. One thing he wants all kids to remember is to "always have respect for the flag."

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This is a picture of Albert with his step-granddaughter, Audrey, an elementary school student who met him at the door when he came to be part of their Veterans Day Ceremony.  He was proud that she placed her hand over her heart in a salute.

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Albert is very patriotic and enjoys painting hats with Army logos.  He also paints t-shirts and makes woodworking designs to always remember service to our country. 

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Albert-Calhoun

Albert Calhoun's Story

Albert Calhoun was born in Fig, North Carolina. Today Fig is known as the Creston area. His father, Vernie, and mother, Maude, were farmers. He has one older sister named Mary Ruth Patrick and three younger brothers: Larry, Howard, Ralph. Another brother named James Edward died as an infant.

After finishing high school, Albert worked in Pennsylvania delivering drywall.  He was drafted into the Army at the age of 22 in June of 1967.  His parents wished him good luck as he headed off for training at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Later Albert was transferred to Fort Riley, Kansas. The hardest part about his military training was moving from place to place. "It was hard to adapt to new places and people," he said. While in training Albert became an expert with rifles, shooting 3300 rounds a day! Surprisingly it wasn't gunfire, but barbwire that led to a serious injury. In Kansas there was a lot of Broom Sedge, a grass that grows two to four feet high, and he didn't see barbwire hiding in the grass. Snagging some wire he tore open his leg and the wound soon became infected ... that was a painful memory.

After finishing his training, Albert began his military career in Munich, Germany. The cooks were great and he loved the German food!

Albert reflects that his military experiences gave him responsibilities and taught him to have respect for everyone and everything.  He says, "If you want to go into the military, then go, because it is the best thing you can do and it teaches you responsibility and teaches you discipline."

One of the worst times in Germany was during winter when there was a really bad snow storm. One night on Hill #29, twenty inches of snow fell, caving in his unit's tents and giving them a brutal awakening. Albert said, "You don’t get cold because the snow wraps around you and keeps you warm." He worked with his partner clearing snow, so all the soldiers could get out.

Coming down the hill they heard someone yelling for help. His squad had to go dig him out of about a six foot snow drift!

When he first went to Germany there were fifteen guys in his group. When he came back there were only two who returned. The others were killed in Vietnam. Albert was lucky to avoid Vietnam; during his time in service he stayed in Germany and when stateside he was in Kansas and Missouri.

Albert took engineering training while stationed at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri and helped to build an airport while there. He recalls a time when one of the guys missed a ramp and drove his vehicle into a deep pond. It really sunk down deep, but they eventually pulled it out.

Albert was honored to raise the American flag at a Skyline / Skybest Telecommunications meeting in West Jefferson, North Carolina. One thing he wants all kids to remember is to "always have respect for the flag."

Albert reflects that his military experiences gave him responsibilities and taught him to have respect for everyone and everything.  He says, "If you want to go into the military, then go, because it is the best thing you can do and it teaches you responsibility and teaches you discipline."

-- Interviewed by Maranda Banks & Kiesha Shoemaker