TOPEKA (KSNT) – Enlisting in the Marines, E5 SGT. Fred Diver would serve in Vietnam for nearly two years. Overseas, he worked to ensure service members stayed connected during a pivotal time in the war.
Growing up in the small town of Burlingame, Diver was introduced to the military at a high school career fair.
“A friend of mine, he wanted to go,” Diver said. “Of course they had all the military recruiters there, and he wanted to visit the Marine Recruiter, but he didn’t want to go by himself.”
After hearing the sales pitch, Diver was sworn in for duty right after graduation.
He would soon find himself heading overseas with the Marines for the fight in Vietnam.
“I was a telephone lineman basically,” he said. “When we started out, whenever a battalion or something would move, we didn’t have cellphones like we have now, so we would have to lay lines on the ground to them basically. We had what we called donuts and held a quarter mile of comm wire, you’d grab four or five of them and you’d take off walking across the rice patties or wherever you needed to go.”
With a shortage of communications men, Diver extended his stay and served proudly for 22 months in Vietnam.
“My dad was not in the military, cause he was a farmer,” Diver said. “I had several uncles that were in the military, one of em was a POW in World War II for a while. I always felt that people have some sort of obligation to their country, whether it was military or something else.”
His obligation to country didn’t end after his time in the military came to a close. He continued giving back to the community serving as a county commissioner, and a member on local school and township boards.