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Lind: Pederson was a military man

Roy Pederson wants to straighten something out. Somehow, he says, people have the idea he was never in the military. But boy, was he. Roy, who was with WDAY for many years, now is 93, lives at the Golden Living Community, Moorhead, and but for le...

Roy Pederson
Roy Pederson served in the Army National Guard and saw action at the Battle of the Bulge. Larry Gauper / Special to The Forum

Roy Pederson wants to straighten something out.

Somehow, he says, people have the idea he was never in the military.

But boy, was he.

Roy, who was with WDAY for many years, now is 93, lives at the Golden Living Community, Moorhead, and but for leg problems that force him to use a wheelchair, is doing fine.

As to his military service:

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Roy was in the Army ROTC at the North Dakota Agricultural College (now North Dakota State University). He got a dollar an hour for drill and made enough to pay for his education, graduating in 1941.

He joined the Army National Guard in Fargo and then went on active duty at Fort Snelling, Minn.

There were a number of military classifications then. He got a 1B, calling for "limited service" because his eyesight didn't meet military standards.

But then the Army tried something. It took a number of 1B troops to Fort McClellan, Ala., and gave them training to see if that classification could be changed.

"The guys did so well they dropped those middle classifications," Roy says. "You were either 1A or 4F."

Roy nailed the 1A classification and wound up with the 3rd Armored Division in Europe.

He went over as a first lieutenant. He'd gone to officers' candidate school where he was given credit for his six years in the Guard and thus skipped the second lieutenant rank.

He fought in five battles, including the Battle of the Bulge. "It was fought in cold, wet snow," he says. "But I survived."

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But he says his buddies who formerly were classified as 1B would say, "Hey, what are we doing here on the front line? We're supposed to be 'limited service.' This is limited service?"

Hate to think what Roy and the guys would have faced if their service hadn't been limited.

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107; fax it to 241-5487; or e-mail blind@forumcomm.com

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