YUMA, Ariz. - In honor of Veterans Day, all this week we are profiling different veterans from all different walks of life that have made their way to the desert southwest.
In an exclusive report for KYMA, we spoke with a man named Walt Schumacher. Proud of his heritage and background in the military, he does a lot for local veterans in our community. Here is his story as a proud vet.
''I decided to volunteer for the draft, I did that in January of 1967. Went to Fort Ord, California for 10 weeks worth of basic training. And then went directly to Fort Polk, Louisiana where they had a big Vietnam camp there," said Schumacher.
Once he finished his time in Louisiana learning how to fight and fire weapons, he was sent to Vietnam in 1967. Walt shares what the living conditions were like.
He was assigned to be an ammunition bearer with the first cavalry division, as it was his duty to carry extra ammunition for the gunner.
"During our first fire fight around the middle of June in 1967, the gunner got killed and the assistant gunner got wounded and I became the gunner," said Schumacher.
After having served one year there, Walt was relocated back to California where he was part of a team that tested new weapons. He was then stationed in Augsburg, Germany for three years. And with his German background...He welcomed the change in scenery and embraced his German roots. His job? To keep track of the troop movements in the eastern part of the country.
If that wasn't enough, when he made his way back to the u.S, he continued his career in programming, but this time sending missiles into space.
"Then my eight years was up with the active duty military and I applied for a job at the Yuma proving ground and I served there for 35 years," said Schumacher.
When I asked Walt what it takes to be in the military, one word came to mind.
"It takes courage to be a solider, a marine, an airman, a sailor, a coast guardsman or a merchant marine. You've got to have the courage, you've got to have the will to fight for your country," said Schumacher.