Born September 2, 1931, Arland Shelstad believes there’s no other place he’d rather live than in Pine Island, Minnesota. Growing up in a family with 10 children, Arland said,”there was never a time he went hungry or he was cold. My mom and dad took very good care of us.” While still going to his local country school in ’49, he and some of his classmates enlisted in the Minnesota National Guard and at that time was the 47th Division. By December 26, 1950 he was placed on active duty and was sent to the U.S. Army Post Fort Rucker, Alabama for basic training. Arland said he would be sent back and forth from Fort Rucker, to Fort Sam Houston, Texas where he would receive his advanced, technical, and back training at the world renown Brook Army Medical Center in San Antonio. Arland said his MOS would equate to a Physicians’ Assistant, attending to broken bones, surgeries, and ammunition wounds.
Life Prior to the Korean War for Arland Shelstad
His parents were farmers and he had 9 siblings. Arland Shelstad graduated high school in 1950, the year at the Korean War broke out. He knew about the war and joined the Minnesota National Guard, 47th Division in 1949.
Basic Training and Training other Recruits Across the US
On Dec. 26, 1950, Arland Stelstad was activated and was sent to Fort Rucker, Alabama for basic training in the Army. His training started in summer camp before being sent to Fort Rucker, so when they arrived, they were advanced trained so that they could travel the US to train the new recruits.
Training as a Medic
Arland Shelstad was trained in multiple locations across America in order to prepare as a medic for the US Army. The most common injury that he assisted with was broken fingers and arms. Arland Shelstad even helped doctors during surgeries.
[Beginning of Recorded Material]
Arland Shelstad: My name is Arland Shelstad. I’m called Shelley, I’ve been called Shalley all my life. I was born 193–1931.
Interviewer: What Month?
A: September 2nd.
I: September 2nd.
I: Hm. Where were you born?
A: Pine Island, Minnesota.
I: Right here?
A: Well, its 20 minutes from here.
I: Just 20 minutes? How do you like your Minnesota? The state of Minnesota?
A: I think I wouldn’t live any other place. [after some tours, why?]
I: Mm-hmm. Tell me about your family your parents, your siblings when you were growing up?
A: Sure. My parents were farmers and they raised 10 kids.
I: 10 kids?
A: And we never went without food or we never went–
got cold and never got hungry. And my dad and mother lost a son at 14 years of age and at that time, they really didn’t know what it was about.
A: We went to a local country school. All 10 of us went there at one time or another.
I: When did you graduate high school?
A: I graduated in 1950.
The year that the Korean War broke out.
A: Well, yeah, just– just broke out.
I: Mm-hmm. How did you know–come to know about that?
A: Well, we knew about it, but we joined in ’49. I–we– a bunch of classmates joined the Minnesota National Guard.
A: The 47thdivision, at that time. And that year–that–late that year
We were activated.
A: And 26thof December 1950 we were activated and left for Fort Rucker for basic training.
A: Fort Rucker Alabama.
I: Okay. Fort Locker? L-O-C–
I: In Alabama.
I: Were you military?
I mean the Army?
I: Okay, what kind of basic training did you receive?
A: Well, we had had most of our basic training at our two weeks in summer camp. So, we went into advanced basic training, so to speak, and then we got recruits from all over the country to train them.
I: Mm-hmm. So you were infantry?
A: We was medical.
I: Oh you are the medics?
What kind of training did you receive as a medic?
A: Well, we had on the job training at our home stations and then I spent quite a few times at Fort Sam Houston, Texas which is a–probably one of the medal–medical professions operations in the world.
if you’ve heard of BAMC Brooke Army Medical Center is at San Antonio, so…
I: Yeah, I know that.
A: That’s where we had our basic training and–
A: And also back for advanced training and technical training and, so…
I: What kind of training. What–do–did you learn how to operate or anything like that or what other?
A: Probably the closest would be is a P.A.
A: Physician’s Assistant, probably. They didn’t call them that in the service
But we assisted with a lot of surgeries. And the other common things, broken fingers and broken arms and–and
A: assisted with all that with our doctors.
I: And wounds right?
I: Ammunition wounds. The gun wounds.
A: Yeah, oh yeah, absolutely. We did them the hard way, you know.
I: Hard way meaning what?
A: Well, we didn’t have any ar–actually military wounds or ar–or–
[End of Recorded Material]