WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) recognized the service and sacrifice of Edwin ‘Pete’ Ross, a veteran who served during the Korean and Vietnam Wars, in ‘Salute to Veterans,’ a series recognizing the military service of Arkansans.
Ross graduated from Perryville High School in 1949. He enlisted in the military shortly after graduation.
“We went to Russellville, Arkansas to see the Navy recruiter who said he couldn’t take us this week because he was going to be gone,” Ross said. Instead of waiting for the following week, Ross and his friend walked across the hall to the Army recruiter. The next day Ross was headed to Camp Chaffee in Fort Smith for basic training.
Ross was assigned to battalion supply after volunteering information about his typing ability. “It was my job to coordinate and take care of the paperwork for the battalion,” Ross said. He did this until spring when he received orders to deploy to Okinawa.
He worked his way up to chief clerk in the unit. After nearly two years of his deployment he was expecting to be discharged, but at the last minute, things changed. “I had my bags packed. The very day that I was supposed to go and get on the ship to be discharged,” Ross’ first sergeant told him that his orders were extended another year.
Ross enjoyed military service and wanted to rejoin after he was discharged from the Army. In early 1953, he went to inquire about the Air Force. He was able to retain his rank as an E-5 and was assigned to Barksdale Air Force Base.
During his 20 years of service in the Air Force, Ross was stationed around the country including at Little Rock Air Force Base and played a critical role in maintaining personnel records, counseling on survivor benefits and assisting retirees with their benefits. In addition, he served as the base career advisor with the responsibility of reenlisting the airmen or helping them transition to civilian life.
He served as the senior non-commissioned personnel officer during his time at Binh Thuy Air Base, Vietnam in 1969 and 1970. While the comprehensive records were kept at another base, Ross maintained basic records such as changes to rank and salary.
Ross retired from the Air Force in 1973 as a Senior Master Sergeant. He lived in Shreveport, LA before moving back to Arkansas in 1991 where he bought a farm and raised horses. Today he calls Conway home.
“Pete Ross humbly served our nation in uniform, and in doing so, earned our appreciation and respect for his selfless sacrifice. His memories of his military career are an important part of our history and I am pleased to preserve and share his stories for future generations,” Boozman said.
Boozman submitted Ross’ 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.