Milhorn fulfilled lifelong dream to serve his country

11:00 am | November 12, 2013

R.H. Milhorn followed his lifelong dream of serving in the military and found himself stationed in the Panama Canal Zone, then in Suriname with the Army during World War II.  Photo by Brandon Hicks

Milhorn volunteered for the Army in April 1940 when he was 20.

“I yearned all my life to go to West Point,” Milhorn said. “That was my ambition, to go to West Point.”

Former U.S. Rep. B. Carroll Reece secured Milhorn an appointment to West Point, but Milhorn said he could not pass the entrance exam.

“Of course graduating from Watauga Academy up there in Butler just didn’t cut it,” Milhorn said. “The military, they want all kinds of arithmetic, and I had two years of algebra I think. When they turned me down, he got me an appointment at the Naval Academy, it was the same thing. He got me an appointment at the Coast Guard Academy and it was the same thing there. I didn’t pass the examination.”

Photo by Brandon HicksMilhorn was accepted into the Army and was sent to the Panama Canal Zone for basic training. He left from Charleston, S.C., and spent five days on a ship traveling to Fort Clayton in the Canal Zone.

“In Charleston, they took us down to the dock to let us look at the transport and you had to look straight up to see the top of it, the top deck,” he said.

After completing basic training, Milhorn stayed in the Canal Zone for two years with the 33rd Infantry Company. He said they were “regular soldiers” and helped to guard the Panama Canal.

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