Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

July 8, 2013

VETERAN PROFILE: 38th Parallel ‘wasn’t a very nice place to be’

MILLERSBURG — Richard Groff was a farm boy, just like his father and grandfather. But in 1954, at the age of 20, he decided to become a soldier.

“Five of us signed up (for the U.S. Army) together,” Groff said Sunday from his home just east of the Millersburg town limits. “We were all farm boys so we thought if we signed up together we’d be able to stay together. … We knew we were going to get called eventually because the draft was picking up.”

Their ultimate destination, they also knew, was South Korea, where the war had recently ended, but the post-war rebuilding effort was in full force. Groff, because of his background in farming and with farm machinery, was sent to training in Virginia to become a mechanic.

By the time he made it over to South Korea, Groff said, he could take apart any piece of machinery the Army had.

After he was in country for a while, Groff was sent up to the 38th Parallel, the tense border between North and South Korea and near the Demilitarized Zone that served as a buffer between the two enemy countries.

“It wasn’t a very nice place to be,” Groff said. “We had guards walking that wall all the time.”

Groff said he spent about six months up by the 38th Parallel, serving mostly as a supply sergeant. Toward the end of his nearly two years in Korea, Groff, who stood about 6-feet-2, was selected to play on his battalion basketball team. He had played a little ball at Millersburg High School, but grew several inches after he graduated.

“I was still the smallest one on our starting five,” Groff said of his battalion team. “We were pretty good. We played 20 or so games before I left and we hadn’t lost a one of them.”

A couple guys on that team, Groff said, had played college ball at the University of Southern California. He said they tried to talk him in to joining the team when he got back to the states, but he had other plans.

“I was a farm boy,” Groff said. “I wanted to keep farming.”

So, he came back to Indiana, married his sweetheart, Nancy, in October of 1956 and bought into the family farm, raising swine and beef and growing grain on about 500 acres just east of Millersburg for the next several decades.

Health problems, however, forced Groff to retire from farming in 1988. He remained active in the community, serving 16 years on the Fairfield Community Schools’ board of trustees. He is currently the Clinton Township trustee.

Groff is proud of his service and suggested the country might be better off if everybody was required to serve in some capacity for a year.

“I think some of these young people,” he said, “could use the discipline.”

As for South Korea, he says it’s changed considerably since he served there.

“I do believe we left it in better shape than when we got there,” Groff said. “… When the Olympics were (in Seoul in 1988) I couldn’t believe how (the country) looked. It was totally different.

“… I got to know a lot of good people while I was over there,” Groff said, “but I was ready to come home.”

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Mary Alice Miller SILVERTON, Ore. — Mary Alice Miller, born Aug. 9, 1950, near Topeka, LaGrange County, Ind., departed this life following a short illness Tuesday at her home near Silverton. Mary was baptized in her youth upon confession of her faith in Jesus Christ a

    July 31, 2014

  • Gene R. Lowther ELKHART — Gene R. Lowther, 75, died Tuesday at Golden Living Center. He married Mary M. Flynn March 27, 1970, in Elkhart. She survives with two sons, Michael (Pam) Estes and James Estes, both of Elkhart; and two daughters, Donna Estes of Elkhart and

    July 31, 2014

  • GN140801 jeffery hunt Warsaw man gets 120 years for home invasion

    GOSHEN — An elderly New Paris couple who were victims of a violent home invasion last fall recounted that frightening night during one of their attackers’ sentencing hearing.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • BIZ GN140801 eby ford image 02 Eby Ford renovates showroom and more GOSHEN — The remodeled and expanded Eby Ford, Lincoln, Mercury dealership was celebrated Thursday night during an open house and ribbon cutting. “Without our awesome customers, we wouldn’t be here,” said owner Todd Eby as he addressed the crowd of fr

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • GN140801 Mackowiak new Millersburg marshal.jpg Retired Goshen police officer sworn in as new Millersburg town marshal

    Retired Goshen police officer Al Mackowiak was sworn in as Millersburg's new town marshal Wednesday.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wawasee Conservancy map Conservancy buys wetlands property at Syracuse Lake SYRACUSE — The Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation has purchased 44 1/2 acres of property along the southeast corner of Syracuse Lake. It is adjacent to the CSX railroad tracks, East Shore Drive and Cornelius Road and includes the Bonar Lake wetlands

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140731 Habitat auction2.jpg Friday auction to benefit Habitat SHIPSHEWANA — On Friday, LaGrange County Habitat for Humanity will host its annual auction at Shipshewana Auction Barn.The auction begins at 3:30 p.m. and includes, among many other items, a five-piece bedroom suite, a white oak trestle table and a d

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • City heads seek more employees GOSHEN — Like the 2014 budget, the city of Goshen’s proposed 2015 budget will include a number of requests for new personnel as department heads fight to maintain services amidst growing responsibilities and shrinking coffers.The Goshen City Council

    July 31, 2014

  • Rerouting for U.S. 33 lags behind GOSHEN — It looks like the city could start seeing some movement on the planned U.S. 33 rerouting project by as early as next month.That’s the word from Goshen Civil City Engineer Mary Cripe, who spoke on the subject during the annual Goshen City Cou

    July 31, 2014

  • School board OKs contract GOSHEN — The Board of Directors of the Goshen Community School Corp. approved the design-build contract with Ancon Construction of Goshen Wednesday.They approved $12.260 million for the Goshen Middle School piece of construction, said GCS Superintend

    July 31, 2014

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Poll

Classes at Goshen Community Schools and St. John the Evangelist Catholic School will begin the 2014-15 school year on Thursday, Aug. 7. School corporations throughout the state have been trending toward earlier start dates the past few years. When do you think school should start?

I think early August is a good time to start
I think later in August would be a good time to start
I think school should start after Labor Day
     View Results
AP Video
Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN