CHAPTER CHATTER

The Official Newsletter of the
Shenandoah Valley Chapter #313
Korean War Veterans Association
Lewis M. Ewing, Editor
February 2016
MEMBER PROFILE - CHARLES R HOAK

    My brother Roy and I were born on March 20, 1932 in Frederick County, at Rock Enon Springs, VA, the present site of the Boy Scout Reservation. This is where we lived our first nine years without indoor plumbing and electricity. It was the era of the Great Depression made worse by a terrible drought, a fire that devastated Gore, a blight that destroyed all the Chestnut trees, and the terrible 1936 flood. Dad apparently lost his job in Baltimore and therefore moved back near my mother's home place to eke out a living working on a saw mill. With two mules, a cow, a couple of pigs, chickens and a few acres of land, my parents were able to keep my brother and me, along with my older sister from want. My mother was an excellent cook and food was never scarce. When the lumber business went bust, Dad got a job as a carpenter, building the Newton D. Baker Hospital at Martinsburg, WV. Life, I suppose was quite hard for my parents back then, but in some respects it was some of the happiest years of our lives. Our play pens were the abandoned 450 room hotel and the three story mill at Rock Enon Springs, the nearby hug sawdust piles that were created by the sawmills, and the many fresh water streams that flowed through the upper Back Creek Valley. Our first half year of schooling was a one room school house at Rock Enon. After that we were transferred to a new eight room brick school house, with autitorium, in Gore, where we eventually moved. Dad got on at the newly constructed Gore Sand Mine as a quarry superintendent and mother later ran a country grocery store in Gore.

    I received my physical for the Army in my senior year at Gore High School in 1950, but was not inducted until 18 months later. In the meantime, I continued my education by taking post graduate business courses at the newly constructed James Wood High School.

From there I went to work for VDOT as a highway and bridge inspector. Roy had not been called for his physical so he went to work as a mechanic with George Washington Garage, a Mercury and Lincoln dealer in downtown Winchester.

    On September 16, 1952, I was sent to Indiantown Gap, PA for Infantry training. After eight weeks of basic training, Roy was given his physical and the following week was sent to Ft. Belvoir, VA. What luck! The Army has a policy that twins can stay together. The only down side to that move was I had to start my training all over again, which resulted into a total of 24 months. Upon graduation, half of our unit was sent to Europe and the other half to Korea. All the ones designated for Korea were flown to Ft. Lewis, WA, except Roy and me and four others. The six of us were transported first class on a train which was quite pleasant since we were not in any hurry to get to Korea. At Ft. Lewis, we were given orders for different troop ships. It took a couple of weeks to get the orders changed to the same troop ship. At Japan, they had us on different orders again for Korea, which, to our satisfaction, delayed us again for several more weeks.