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Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts, United States

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Junior R.O.T.C.

He graduated from grade school in Kansas City in 1940.
He was twelve, short and slight, with a baby face.
The nuns at Visitation parochial school wanted him to
Enroll at the Jesuit high school in the city.

But he rebelled, told his parents that
He wanted to go to the public high school.
He had heard that the Jesuits beat the boys
At their school, and wanted no part of it.

As the third of three boys, he easily got his own way,
By staying out of trouble and excelling at school.
So off he went, and in his second year,
Enlisted in the Junior R.O.T.C. program.

War was imminent, and the draft had begun.
He liked wearing a soldier uniform with blue facings.
The R.O.T.C. instructor was an old sergeant
Who had fought in the trenches of France in 1918.

At the annual citywide drill competition of
High school R.O.T.C. units,
He was picked as the individual representative
Of Southwest High School.

The drill took a long time,
And was wearing on spectators and competitors.
Finally, one of the judges said
"Kimball looks pretty smooth!"

So he got the individual drill medal
And from that day on
Made service in the U.S. Army
His life ambition.

When they moved to Chicago,
His parents wanted him to go to Chicago Latin School.
But he insisted on the public school again,
And became a cadet major in the R.O.T.C. unit.

He enjoyed Waller High School on the Near North Side
And made a group of friends from diverse backgrounds;
All of whom, boys and girls, were college bound.
He made the graduation speech in June, 1944.     

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