Pat Thurman was drafted into the United States Army during World War II and later volunteered for the Korean War. He says he is very lucky to have the experiences that he had.
"I'd like to say that I was on the front lines, but I never was," said Thurman, 86.
It wasn't that Thurman never wanted to, it was just the luck of the draw, all along the way.
That's why he says his time in the service wasn't like most others.
"You get concerned that you could be killed or something like that, but I had to admit that most every place I was in, I was fairly safe," he said.
Thurman was drafted when he was 18 years old and he admits he was pretty nervous about leaving home in the Hub City.
"I remember writing my dad a letter and said, ‘I don't know what my future is going to be' because they were shipping us all over the place. So I thought I would end up, during World War II, in Germany."
Thurman says boot camp was brutal, but when it came time to get deployed, he got lucky.
"I got pneumonia so they kept me back and my class went to Europe to the Battle of Bulge."
So Thurman went to Hawaii and was stationed at Schofield Barracks. And again, Thurman's luck pulled through.
"We may have been in the staging area for the invasion of Japan. Luckily that didn't happen because...a lot of people would have lost their lives," Thurman said.
After that tour was over, Thurman went home and got a degree from Texas Tech University. But in 1950, he was called to duty once more.
"Telephone rang and I answered it and it was this major and he said, ‘Pat, our outfit's been called, do you want to go with us?'"
So Thurman said yes, but dodged a bullet yet again.
"I ended up in Fort Eustis, Virginia and then they shipped us overseas. But instead of going to Korea, I went to Germany for two years."
After 18 years of service, four of which were active duty, Thurman says there is no greater place than America.
"There's no other place in the world, having been in a lot of different places in the world, this is the place I want to be."
For more Hometown Hero stories, click here.
Copyright 2013 KCBD. All rights reserved.