Sykes, Clarence Earl
Grove City, Ohio
U.S. Army – Post-Korean War
The army has help many people overcome early-life setbacks. Clarence Sykes left school after the seventh grade. On 21 March 1955, at the age of 17, he enlisted in the army. A little over a year later, he completed a GED (General Educational Development) course, thus earning the equivalent of a high school diploma. That was at age 18, about the time he probably would have graduated had he stayed in school.
The GED program was instituted during World War II not as a recruiting tool, but as a program to help to those who were leaving military service. Many soldiers had enlisted while in high school. When their service was coming to an end, they were faced with the problem of re-entering civilian life without the diploma required for enrolling in college. The military developed the GED to overcome this obstacle. There was, at that time, no equivalent program outside the military. That only came after the military program proved to be successful.
Since World War II, a high school diploma has become a requirement for enlistment. At times, when there weren’t enough high school graduates willing to serve, the military made exceptions to allow young people to enlist without a high school diploma if they were willing to complete the GED program while they served their country. It was revived in 2008 when it became to fill shortages caused by the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. However, the program was suspended in 2010 when that problem dissipated.
Clarence served pretty close to home. He was assigned as a General Warehouseman at the U.S. Army Garrison, Lordstown Military Reservation, Warren, Ohio. That was Nike Missile Site CL-69 for the defense of Cleveland and nearby cities.
Nikes were ground-to-air missiles that were widely deployed throughout the United States and in other countries.
Clarence was discharged from active duty on 26 March 1958. His home of record at that time was Grove City, Ohio.
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