Editor's note: This is part of a weekly series published each Monday between Memorial Day and Veterans Day honoring local veterans.
GIRARD - Though he never saw any fighting, a Girard veteran played an important role in the war effort: He helped others leave.
After graduating from high school, Bob Sanders volunteered for the U.S. Air Force since there were not that many jobs. Finding the Air Force quota was full, he decided to join the Army instead.
Tribune Chronicle / Bob Coupland
Girard resident Bob Sanders, a veteran of the U.S. Army during the Korean War, looks over materials at his home. Sanders helped fellow service members with their discharge papers.
Sanders went to Camp Breckenridge in Kentucky in 1952 for his basic training, which included learning to use of different artillery and weapons, including rifles, bazookas and 45s. While there he also learned record keeping.
Sanders worked as a corporal and then later as a specialist with the 101st Airborne.
''There are a lot of records that needed to be kept. Whenever someone was being discharged we would make sure the records were accurate and up to date. There were sometimes stacks of records,'' Sanders said.
MILITARY: U.S. Army as a corporal and specialist 1952-1955
OCCUPATION: retired teacher, Girard city schools
FAMILY: wife, Mary Ann, one daughter
HONORS: Good Conduct Medal, Sharpshooter Medal and Service Medal
He then went to Fort Knox, Ky., before being sent to Japan for two months of stenography training and schooling, where he qualified for G2 Intelligence.
Sanders spent one year in Korea in G2 Intelligence at a time when the hostilities were coming to an end.
''I was in Korea at a time when there wasn't much fighting. It was almost the end of the war,'' he said.
He said his record keeping knowledge was put to great use at this time because many servicemen were being discharged.
''I had to interview them and make sure the information we had for their records was up to date and accurate,'' he said.
Depending on if the records needed a lot of changes, the process did not take too long, but if information needed to be updated then it was a longer process for that soldier.
Sanders said he and others probably did paperwork for hundreds of soldiers.
''I was one of the last people they would see before they went home,'' Sanders said of the six to eight servicemen who often had to assist hundreds of people trying to get out of the service at one time.
And meeting all those soldiers is what sticks most in his memory.
''I admire anyone who serves in the military," he said. "While I didn't fight in battle like others did, there is a sense of pride knowing you are helping your country.''
Sanders said there were Koreans who worked with the Americans in the camps and barracks as orderlies and hired hands.
After leaving the military he studied education at Youngstown State and Kent State universities on the GI Bill. He later taught in Youngstown, Struthers and mostly in Girard schools, where he was a physical education and industrial arts teacher.
Sanders also coached football, cross country, golf and track.