The Loafer’s Veteran of the Week is Ralph Slatton. Mr. Slatton was 20 years old at the age of his enlistment and served in the United States Army. As for why he wanted to serve our country, Mr. Slatton cites his dad for his decision: “Although he never encouraged me to enlist, I was probably influenced by my Dad’s career; he served in combat during WWII and Korea, retiring after 30 years of service in the Army.” Mr. Slatton served in the Air Defense Branch of the Army and was ranked Sergeant E-5. He was stationed in Grafenwöhr, Germany and got to travel to quite a few places, including Nurnberg, Heidelberg, Frankfurt, Innsbruck, Amsterdam, Paris, and Rome.
Mr. Slatton formed several close friendships while in the service, but after their service, they drifted apart due to their own busy lives. When asked how his military experience affects his life today, Mr. Slatton states that it has allowed him to learn a lot about electronics and communication systems. He also states that the most important aspect of what he learned were the lessons of responsibility and working with different types of people. He responsibly performed his duty to where he knew people could depend on him, which eventually earned him his Sgt stripes and gave him the opportunity to become Team Chief in his last year. He also received a good conduct medal upon his separation from the Army.
On his last day of service, he got up at three in the morning and hitched a ride on an army truck that took him to Frankfort airport to depart from Germany. During those last days, Mr. Slatton says that he thought a lot about his home, his parents, and his future employment. He was able to find work as an electronics technician upon his arrival, and he ventured to study electrical engineering at the University of Arkansas for several years. However, he eventually enrolled in art programs at Arkansas State University and the University of Iowa instead.