Clarence Atzenhoffer was no stranger to hard work while growing up on a dairy farm in Victoria, Texas. After graduating from Victoria Junior College with a degree in Business Administration, he joined the United States Air Force Reserves and worked as a supply supervisor until he was called up for active duty in September of 1951. Although he was never sent to Korea, he played an integral role as a member of the Air Control and Early Warning Radar unit located in Spokane, Washington, and later in Portland, Oregon. He recounts how his unit spent hours preparing for military action if ever warranted and flew around the country picking up various weapons that were needed for the men fighting on the front line. He is proud of his wartime service and comments on the importance of remembering the war and its outcome.
Joining the Air Force Reserves
Clarence Atzenhoffer shares how he learned of and joined a local United States Air Force Reserve unit. He recalls how he started working as a supply supervisor for the unit and adds that he told several of his buddies about the opportunity to serve with little likelihood of being activated. He recounts how his unit was activated shortly after his friends signed up, and he laughingly adds that his popularity dropped quite abruptly.
First Station Location
Clarence Atzenhoffer recalls how his unit reported to Geiger Field in Spokane, Washington, in September of 1951. He shares that there was a squadron of F-86 fighter jets onsite and adds that his unit served was an air control and early warning radar unit. He remembers the weather conditions, commenting on the large amount of snow they experienced there.
Clarence Atzenhoffer comments further on his main mission as an air control and early warning radar serviceman. He recalls participating in combat drills and watching for blips on the radar. He agrees that while North Koreans may not have had the air technology at the time to reach the United States, the Russians did, and it was important to be prepared during the Cold War era.
Lacking Equipment and Unprepared
Clarence Atzenhoffer recalls how unprepared United States soldiers were in Korea. He shares how they lacked equipment and proper clothing for the extreme weather conditions and comments on the reality that many soldiers froze to death rather than dying from a bullet. He details how he and others from his unit flew across the United States in an effort to gather equipment to send overseas to troops.