Weimer’s Army Time Provided Skills
Editor’s Note: The following story is the third in a series about Fulton County veterans who fought in World War II that will be published each week in the “News” through Veterans Day.
One month shy of turning 19, Clarence “Bud” Weimer of Mc- Connellsburg “volunteered for the draft.”
With one friend already having received his draft papers and two additional friends waiting to leave for their first assignment with the Navy, Weimer recalls telling his father that he was being left behind. His father’s connections with the draft board resulted in a standard military physical two days later.
Weimer was sworn into the United States Army on December 31, 1942, but a slowly worsening eye condition detected during that initial physical would allow him only to provide “limited service.” Office work, however, proved to be a perfect fit for Weimer, 89, who had a penchant for numbers and trying new things. In fact, it was those skills learned in office settings in the United States as well as overseas that would provide the background for his future career in management.
According to the Rockwood, Pa., native, he attended a training camp outside Greenville, Pa., with other men on limited service as well as officer candidates. He recalls those following weeks at Shenango Personnel Replacement Depot, which would later become Camp Reynolds, to be the easiest weeks he ever had in the Army.
“I had a car, and we would drive to the other end of the camp where we drilled and messed around doing a little of this and that,” said Weimer. “Then at the end of the day, we would drive back to the other end of camp.”
Spending 18 months in Greenville, Weimer worked in the insurance and war bond office, processing the necessary paperwork for men being sent overseas. Weimer would tackle wills and paycheck allotments being sent home and later on served in the capacity of a supply clerk. His time at Camp Reynolds would come to an end in July 1944 after being examined by a new physician who would unexpectedly cross off his vision problems from his medical charts and release him from limited service.
On July 23, Weimer boarded the Queen Mary bound for Scotland. Five days later the ship would drop anchor in a bay, and the ship’s occupants would be shuttled to port in smaller boats. A train would in turn transport them to England, where he would spend time at 10 different locations until May 1945. He found himself relegated to office work and back in limited service again, after a superior officer in charge of infantry training decided he didn’t want to “deal with a bunch of blind guys.”
Never having been outside of Pennsylvania before, Weimer’s travels would take him into France following the conclusion of the war and several days later into Belgium to clean ordnance products (weapons, ammunition, maintenance tools and equipment) from the docks. Moving further into Belgium to the city of Antwerp, Weimer was removed from the ordnance cleanup and was asked to transport important military paperwork for the company.
Back into Camp Brooklyn in France one month later and then into a depot just outside of Paris, Weimer was given the “best job he ever had in the Army.” From August 1945 through February 1946, he served as company personnel clerk.
“It was something new and interesting, and I enjoyed learning the different paperwork associated with it,” he said.
In March 1946, he boarded a Merchant Marine freighter used in the war. Saying the freighter was a “rowboat” in comparison to the Queen Mary, Weimer’s journey home across the sea lasted 13 days.
He opted to join the Reserves when he came home and in the meantime took a job at the local A&P supermarket where he met co-worker Patricia Leer. The couple married in September 1950, and shortly thereafter Weimer received a notice to report to Kentucky for possible duty in Korea. Having undergone countless physicals and eye exams over the years, the latest physician standing before Weimer decided he “had no business being in the Army.” Six months later he would be discharged having enjoyed the travel and tasks he was delegated but not the monotony of becoming acquainted with people you never knew if you would see again.
“In the end, I guess I was pretty lucky I had a bad eye,” he said.
Weimer continued working for A&P for a period of 29 years, using many of the personnel and officerelated skills he learned first hand in the military. In 1965, Pat and Clarence relocated to Mc- Connellsburg where he was second shift, assistant supervisor in the warehouse at JLG Industries until his retirement.