WASHINGTON – Senator John Boozman released his latest interview in a series recognizing the service and sacrifice of Arkansas veterans. This spotlight highlights the military service of Russell ‘Bo’ Falls, a WWII veteran who served in the Navy.
Falls grew up in Mount Pleasant, Texas with nine siblings. He followed two of his brothers into Navy service saying “he couldn’t go anywhere else.”
Falls went through boot camp in San Diego and went to radio school before being stationed in northern California.
“I told them I wanted sea duty and they sent me to an air base in Monterey, California. I stayed there almost a year,” Falls recalled.
Falls eventually was assigned sea duty and was stationed in Guam.
“Guam was a good place. I worked with the Seabees on Guam and they had their own private mess hall. You could go there and order anything you wanted to order. Just like going into a restaurant. And they’d bring it to you,” Falls said.
“We carried the mail. With those sea planes they were carrying mail different places. We also handled passengers. It was mostly officers being transferred to different places. They’d come aboard our ship and we’ve fly them. We had flights going out to Australia and Honolulu. All over the place. We had some PBMs. They’re the big plane with lights on its belly,” Falls recalled.
Following his military service, Falls returned to work for the railroad where they assigned him to Arkansas.
“They had a program that they called a 52-20. They would give you 20 a week for 52 weeks. You had to line up. So many people. I only went there one more time. I had to go back to work for the railroad. Stood in line several hours. I could make more money working for the railroad. That’s when I came to Arkansas. They sent me to Pine Bluff, Arkansas and I went to work in the shops down there in the signal department.”
Today, Falls calls Conway home.
“I’m pleased to recognize the service and sacrifice of Russell Falls. He enlisted in the Navy to defend our nation and the world against tyranny. His memories of his military service are an important part of our history and I am honored to share his stories,” Boozman said.
Boozman will submit Falls’ entire interview to the Veterans History Project, an initiative of the Library of Congress’s American Folklife Center to collect and retain the oral histories of our nation’s veterans.
Do you know a veteran who you would like Senator Boozman to feature in his Salute to Veterans? Nominate an Arkansas veteran to share their story at Boozman_submissions@boozman.senate.gov.