George Geno was no stranger to hard work living in Romeo, Michigan during the Great Depression. Working on various farms, musk-rat trapping, raising bull calves, and goats would earn him enough money shortly after he graduated high school in 1947, to buy his dad’s vehicle. He initially bought it so they could collect gas ration cards during World War II. After being drafted and attending OCS leadership training at Fort Bliss, he was assigned as a battery commander in charge of training soldiers as marksman. George Geno stayed in this position throughout the Korean War. After being discharged from the military in 1953, he got married and worked as a Campus Police Officer (eventually named Captain) while attending school to earn his bachelors in electrical engineering. George Geno worked for Boeing in the aerospace field as well as the Department of Defense after his time in the military.
Working Hard to Stay Afloat During the Great Depression
It would be unfathomable for student in high school today to know how hard kids during the Depression had to work to earn money. George Geno said that most farmers couldn't pay you, but they wanted to give you food. He helped farmers, trapped musk rats, and raised calves. In 8-10 months, he sold the bull and that's the money he lived on and saved to buy his first car. George Geno was also given a nanny goat and a kid which he used to start his own goat farm while attending high school.
Stringing Popcorn on Christmas During the Depression
Because George Geno lived in the country, he avoided seeing a lot of the soup lines and problems in the cities, but the farms had a share of their own poverty. People would work in the field or paint your barn just to get food. They didn't have anything, but they didn't know any better. They would string popcorn to decorate the Christmas tree. To keep watermelon and their soda pop cool, families would put them in the draining ditch to act as a refrigerator. You couldn't buy tire outright, but you could buy the boots to use inside the tire. Toys weren't available, so they handmade everything including their bow and arrows for hunting pheasants, squirrel, and duck.
We Fished In the Basement Of Our House During the Depression
The house George Geno had growing up had a dirt basement and it would fill with water in the spring. His dad would take them to Reese's to buy nets and they would catch fish. Not many people can say that they went fishing in their own basement during the Great Depression!
The Korean War Draft
George Geno received his draft card in November of 1950 during some cold weather, so he worked hard to get the car running for his family before he left. He first took a train to Fort Wayne, Detroit for basic training and then he found out that his hometown dentist had been drafted too as he went in for his military checkup. After basic training, he was trained as a combat construction engineer specialist. He was also chosen for Officer Candidate Training School even though he didn't really want to go.
George Geno: One Happy and Safe Soldier!
George Geno was chosen for Officer CandidateTraining School and he had a Lieutenant that wanted to be well-known, so he really worked his men. George Geno was called heavy, so he had to run 2 miles extra every night and when he was discharged July 2, 1952, he was asked to re-enlist. He decided to re-enlist the next day and they were all given their next assignments; to George Geno's surprise, he was assigned to stay at Fort Bliss in the US. He cried with excitement and eventually became the Lieutenant in charge of training the US soldiers how to shoot accurately from the trenches.