WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman recognized the service and sacrifice of veteran Frederick Beck in ‘Salute to Veterans,’ a series recognizing the military service of Arkansans.
Beck, the second oldest of nine children, grew up on a family farm in Morrilton. When he was 18-years-old he was allowed to defer military service for one year in order to help on the farm of a neighbor whose sons were already serving in the military.
Beck joined the Army when he was 19-years-old and trained at Camp Hood, known today as Fort Hood.
He was deployed to Europe where he served as an infantryman with the 65th Infantry Division (nicknamed the “Battle-ax”) on an automatic rifle team.
At times, Beck also cooked for the troops.
“We had a lot of troops that had been there a long time. They had to eat, so I cooked for them for a good a long time,” Beck said. “They had to be taken care of and fed.”
Beck recalled how his life nearly ended when a Sergeant was playing with a pistol.
“He was messing around with a little pistol that he shouldn’t have had in the first place. We had orders that we weren’t supposed to pick up anything like that,” Beck said. “He shot me through the groin.”
The following day a doctor told him how lucky he was to survive.
“He said 1/16 of an inch you would have been a goner. That’s one thing I’m grateful for, I’m living on 1/16 of an inch,” Beck said with a smile.
“I am grateful for Frederick Beck’s dedication and service to our nation. His memories of his military service are an important part of our history and I am pleased to be able to collect and preserve his stories,” Boozman said.
Boozman submitted Beck’s 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.