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David Draut

David Draut

  • Service Branch: United States Army
  • Service Dates: 1958–1960
  • Stationed: Redstone Arsenal, Alabama
  • Rank: E-4 Specialist

An Army recruiter advised Dave not to make any plans for the time after graduation from college, as he was very high on the draft list. On this point, the recruiter was right. A month after graduating, he received his draft notice and was on his way to Ft. Jackson, S.C. for basic training. After training, he was advised that the might be eligible for a newer program called the S & P (Scientifid and Professional) program which the Army was developing in response to criticism of how the Army was using their supply of draftees.
His assignment was to Redstone Arsenal in Alabama, where the Army’s Ballistic Missile Agency was developing missile systems. He had an office job mainly concerned with procuring parts for the Redstone system, which was being developed at the time as a tactical weapon. Crude by today’s standards, the Redstone proved to be a reasonably reliable rocket and was used in a number of early launches.
The interesting part of the job was that he did see Von Braun and some of the German scientists who were brought to this country to help in the development of these systems. Before leaving Alabama, he witnessed some of the experimentaal work by the scientists to strap rockets together to get the power needed to escape earth’s gravity. This was a forerunner of the Saturn rocked which came later, and Dave remembers these experiments truly rocking the place when all the rocket engines were fired at once.
He left with the rank of E-4 Specialist and does not miss the Army or Alabama.

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