Dick Kenney was drafted two weeks before his high school graduation; thankfully, they deferred so he could at least receive his diploma, but he was on a bus the very next morning at 6 am.
After completing all of his Army training, he was stationed in Germany as a Combat Engineer from 1953 to 1955. His unit was mainly responsible for building bridges and setting up other infrastructure.
During his time overseas, tensions rose with Russia and his unit was sent to the German/Russian border. The United States wanted to ensure they were demonstrating an appearance of power. The guys spent a lot of time out in the field during this time, keeping a watchful eye and waiting.
As winter approached and it became cold, Dick remembers very clearly the guys going out into the cattle pastures and snuggling up to piles of dung since that was the warmest spot they could find. While stationed in Germany, Dick also trained as a demolition expert; he was also responsible for going in and detonating bombs that had failed to explode.
Looking back, Dick's favorite part of serving in the military was simply doing his job, knowing that he was protecting our country. He was also very fond of being with friends that he knew he could rely on and trust with his life. He says, "I grew up by being in the service."
Upon his return home from the Army, he went into the construction/tuckpointing business, working for DC Taylor. He also spent a lot of years doing bricklaying for a meat packing company, Wilson's in Cedar Rapids.
He married his wife Joyce in 1960. The couple will be celebrating 63 years of marriage this October. Dick says these are his "best years." Dick chuckles that his kids are cheaper by the dozen. They have five children, four girls and one boy. Now at the youthful age of 90, his favorite thing to do is fish. As a matter of fact, they just went out on the river yesterday.
What a pleasure it was to spend time with Dick and Joyce. He has so many stories and I'm grateful to have heard just a few. My favorite is me telling him how great he looks to which he replies with a twinkle in his eye, "I can't help it, I was just born this way!"
Thank you for your service, Dick.
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