Travis Catura, February 2005

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Travis Catura

Veteran of the Month, February 2005

Brief Bio: dob, service

18th of August 1969, Service: US Army Occupation now: As of last week ? retire 100% through the VA. Prior to that, I was a carpenter and Volunteer Firefighter. Family: One brother and one sister back in Oklahoma. Children are one daughter ? Cheyanne (6 years) and one son ? Blake (14 years).

Why did you decide to join the Armed Services?

It More or less just kind of happened. I had gone down to join the Navy and went through the induction physical where the docs told me I had a Heart Murmur. Never had problems before or since but they disqualified me for service. Well about two weeks later the phone rang and it was a Army recruiter calling from the local high school list. Told him about the problems with the Navy and he said to come see him. He asked a few questions, set me to a specialist and before I knew it, I was back at MEPS going through the physical again. Saw the same docs and no problems. Not sure what ever happened behind the scenes, maybe the Navy was just full the day I went up.

Where were you assigned during you tour?

I spent almost ten years on active duty, I been to most places in the Middle East, Europe and a good part of Asia.

What was your first assignment?

My very first assignment was at good ole Ft Sill America, a place that is near and dear to every Artilleryman.

Where did you go next?

From there it was off to Babenhausen, Germany.

Have any interesting highlights to share?

I lead a pretty ?normal? life for a member of the Artillery. Not too much to share other than day to day activities.

What were your most memorable experiences in the military?

I think my very best and worst memories come from the Desert. There are a few parts of that time that I would love to forget but would not trade the experience for anything.

How did you feel about going into combat?

I was very scared. Sure I had the normal fears of anyone going to a place like that, but my worst fears were about me as a leader. I was 21 years old, a Staff Sergeant and had 11 men working for me, one of who was a two tour Vietnam Veteran with the Marines as an Infantrymen. I had a lot of eyes watching my every move.

What was your homecoming like?

Homecoming for me was very strange. We went from having all the space and area we needed to marching into a hanger with over 5000 people waiting for us. I have heard all the stories about how our Vietnam Brothers were treated when they came home and really wish I could change that. Me personally, I would have sooner came home in the middle of the night with no reception, just my family waiting to see me.

What do you consider your greatest achievements?

I guess I am lucky to have had a many great achievements in my life, if I have to pick just a few, I would say?my children, serving my country and serving my community on the fire service.

What are some of the highlights of your life since the war?

Again I would have to list my son and daughter and my service with the fire department.

Are you active in veterans' organizations?

Yes, I am a member of the VFW, American Legion and DAV.

Do you keep in contact with your military comrades?

Yes, in fact I am going tomorrow to say goodbye to a very dear friend who has been there for me all through my adult life.

What can be done to improve public awareness of foreign policy and military and veterans' affairs?

As a whole, I am not sure. I personally go to our local schools every chance I get. Pack all the stuff from my bunker and spend a day talking to kids and letting them know about all things military?the good as well as the bad. Have later had some of their parents come up and thank me for taking the time to teach their children about the sacrifices our veterans make.

Are there any messages you would like to communicate to your fellow veterans?

Yes, I would like to think each and everyone of you for serving this great country of ours. My hat is off to you. I would also like to thank each of you for the kind words and guidance you have shared with me and I would like to wish each of you happiness.

Travis Catura
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