From the Veteran of the Month Application
FAIRBURY, NE - At age 20 while living in Jefferson County, Roger Schoenrock voluntarily joined the Navy at the Recruiting Office in Beatrice, Nebraska. He spent 12 weeks of Basic Training at San Diego, California.
His Advanced Individual Training at Memphis, Tennessee consisted of six months of Aviation Schooling. His first assignment was at Naval Missile Center at Point Mugu, California. This was Roger’s only assignment for approximately 3 ½ years which included a four month, involuntary extension due in part to the Vietnam buildup.
Though he had only one duty assignment it was one he thoroughly enjoyed. His primary duty was aircraft maintenance; however, he was involved in several other interesting assignments. He frequently loaded supplies of concertina wire bound for Vietnam. During range aerial clearance activities over the Pacific Ocean Roger was often allowed to sit in the copilot seat and actually fly the planes, but was not allowed to do landings. Flight missions were considered “hazardous duty” and he drew flight pay which was a boost to his salary. At the time nearby Vandenberg, California Airforce Base was launching missiles and other projectiles. The Airforce Base utilized the Navy to fly planes with loud speakers mounted to the aircraft to broadcast to vessels in an eight mile radius so they were aware that projectile firings were not of a dangerous nature. Plane Captain Schoenrock was heavily involved in these flights.
Perhaps the most interesting of his assignments involved the recovery of military drones. The Navy used Q2C Drones as enemy targets for Navy pilots to locate during training missions. Once the drones were located they were deactivated and dropped into the ocean with parachutes. It was the Navy’s assignment to use helicopters to retrieve these drones out of the Pacific Ocean in swells of several feet in height.
When E-4 Schoenrock returned to Jefferson County he worked a while for the Fairbury Planning Mill and later joined the Iron Workers out of Omaha, Nebraska. This work involved heavy commercial building construction. Some of the projects Roger was involved in over a 30 year career included The Arch across Interstate 80, Memorial Stadium, NPPD Brownville Nuclear Power Plant, OPPD Nebraska City Nuclear Power Plant and the Omaha Veterans Administration. He and his wife were also involved in farming at the time. If construction projects were within 100 miles from home Roger drove back and forth. If construction projects were over 100 miles from home Roger lived in motels and his wife did most of the farming.
Roger and his wife Judy currently are retired and live in Fairbury. Roger stays busy in his shop doing volunteer projects, working on motorcycles and trucks. He also does some farm day work for friends and is a member of American Legion Post 24.