When I graduated from Indiana University in February 1953 near the end of the Korean War I was classified 1A for the draft and inducted in April that year. Because I had severe asthma, I didn't expect to serve. However, at Camp Breckenridge near Owensboro, Kentucky, they had an experimental basic training unit intended to make some use of draftees with physical profiles 3, one step short of 4f.
The physical profile had six categories: P-U-L-H-E-S, which stand for pulmonary, upper extremities, lower extremities, hearing, eyes, and psychological. For example, someone with perfect eyesight was a 1, needed eyeglasses 2, unable to see without eyeglasses 3, and legally blind 4. Asthma was a profile 3. Allergic to dust and smoke, both part of the battlefield environment, I would be worse than useless in the field, but since seventeen support staff were behind the lines for every man in battle, some use might be made of me.
Designating the experimental training company as Q, which is pronounced "Queen" in the military alphabet, was a mistake, for the unit was immediately called "Queer."
. After completing on the job training in Q Company I was sent to Germany for duties as a company clerk in Heidelberg and was eventually discharged as a corporal.
This fictional account of life in Q Company is based on real events and cases. The book was written in Stockholm, Sweden in 1958 when I was studying under the GI Bill at the International Graduate School. Finding a US publisher while living in Sweden was logistically difficult, so the manuscript languished in the files. Later I sent the first copy of the manuscript to the US Military archives as a contribution to US Army history. Here it is resurrected for general readership.
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About the Author
Though born in Chicago and raised in Indiana, Harley L. Sachs considers himself an international, having lived in Germany, Sweden, Scotland, and Denmark. He earned a degree in English at Indiana University, then served in the US Army in Germany. After getting his Master's degree at I.U. he returned to Europe and worked under cover for several years. He met and married Ulla in Stockholm, Sweden and they spent a year's honeymoon in a Scottish castle. Returning to the USA, Sachs taught English briefly at Southern Illinois University then moved to Michigan Technological University in the Upper Peninsula where he and his wife raised three daughters. He took early retirement and now divides the year between Michigan and Portland, Oregon.
Harley L. Sachs is the author of many novels, short stories, magazine articles and newspaper columns. His short stories have been broadcast on the BBC World Service short wave and on Oregon Public Radio’s Golden Hours . His awards for writing are too numerous to list as are his about 1000 publications.