News: Neillsville – Am. Legion Recognizes Gloff (Dec 2017)
Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon
----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark, Co) 12/06/2017
American Legion Recognizes Gloff (Military Service – December 2017)
American Legion Recognizes Gloff for Military Service
By Todd Schmidt
Cyrus Gloff, 80, served in the U. S. Army from 1954 to 1958, Neillsville American Legion Post #73 recognizes Gloff for his military service. Gloff does not wish to be honored in the traditional way with a special program at the Legion. (Contributed photo)
Military veteran Cyrus Gloff is being recognized for his military service by Neillsville American Legion Post #73.
Gloff does not want to be honored in the traditional way with a special program at the Legion, which is holding a Christmas Party Saturday, Dec. 9, with a potluck meal at noon. The event will feature a white elephant gift exchange, and games.
The next Legion meeting and honoree program will be held Monday, Jan. 8, 2018. This is a week later than usual, as the first Monday in January is New Year’s Day.
There will not be a potluck meal, as Jan. 8, is the monthly steak feed. If attendees wish, they can enjoy a delicious steak dinner starting at 5 p.m. The honoree program will begin at 6:15 p.m.
With all those details out of the way, it is time to focus on Gloff’s military service and interesting life.
Gloff was born in 1937, the youngest of six children. They lived in Milwaukee, and the family survived on rations at the time.
All his brothers served in the U. S. Army, with their father serving in WWI.
“Growing up, we would go to the museum, and the theater every Saturday to watch a movie, instead of roaming the streets,” Gloff said.
The family moved to Wauwatosa, where Gloff went to high school. In 1954, he enlisted in the Army at age 17.
“In those days, they would draft you at age 18 anyway, so I thought I would get it out of the way,” he said.
He finished his high school education by graduating from the U. S. Armed Forces Institute. Gloff was trained as a cook by Army chefs.
During his 4½ years of service, Gloff was first shipped to Guam on the USS Barrett (serving there for 18 months). He cooked, helped build the air strip, and pulled guard duty there, as his Army unit was assigned to the U. S. Air Force.
He was promoted to Spec. 3rd Class, and was shipped to Korea.
“I was on the front lines,” he said. “We didn’t have war, but we were always on alert, and had to be prepared at all times.
“I was in Korea when Sputnik went into space. I thought that was neat.”
Gloff was injured during pistol practice. He shot himself in the leg.
“The bullet ricocheted off my holster, and hit my leg,” he said. “I had to go to the hospital to get the bullet removed. The doctor kept it a secret.”
Gloff became ill and was shipped to Fitzsimons Army Hospital in Denver, CO. He endured electric shock treatments three days per week for 40 days.
“Boom to the head, and you are knocked out for 20 minutes,” he said. “If you are knocked out longer than that, you are dead. I had to be on my best behavior, and it paid off.”
Gloff was transferred to La Crosse, and then to the Tomah VA, where he was a patient for about a year. The Army “retired” him at age 21, and his father had to sign for him to return to civilian life.
Crossword puzzles kept Gloff busy. He was not allowed to work and lived off his military pension. He had to see a doctor once per month at the Milwaukee VA.
“They would give me medication, not what I thought I needed, but what they thought I needed,” Gloff said. “Then, they would visit me every three years.”
After Gloff was discharged, he moved to a farm. He did chores, and assisted his neighbors, driving tractor, lifting hay, feeding cows, and doing field work. He then moved to Neillsville with his parents and one brother.
In the 1970s, Gloff was diagnosed with kidney disease and he also suffered a stroke. He wasn’t allowed to drive a vehicle, but he was allowed to use a motor scooter for a little while.
Gloff was sent to the Tomah VA in 2003 to live out the remainder of his life.
“I like it here,” he said. “It takes some getting used to, but once you get used to it, it’s good.”
Gloff, 80, likes to bowl, and play bingo. He enjoys programs and shows featuring acting, and singing. He is now confined to a wheelchair.
He goes to Madison every 6-8 weeks to have tubes changed on his side that drain the kidneys.
Gloff said he had many girlfriends in his life, but was never married.
“There was one girl from Korea, Tina, who I loved and wanted to marry,” he said. The other girls were just girlfriends.”
His brothers and sisters have all passed away. He has a friend, Joyce, who visits every Saturday. Gloff still owns a home that must be kept up.
I’ve had a lot happen to me in my life,” he smiled.
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