An old Army snapshot shows Private Cyrus Arnold smiling for the camera, holding a little black puppy in his arms. It was taken 57 years ago.

An old Army snapshot shows Private Cyrus Arnold smiling for the camera, holding a little black puppy in his arms. It was taken 57 years ago.

The pictures bring back memories for the now 76-year-old, Beach Lake Veteran. He was all of 19 when he entered the service and the Korean War. A California native, Cyrus signed up in Fresno, January, 1951.  Fourteen weeks of basic training followed at Fort Ord, California.
“I was with the I&R Platoon, that was Information and Reconnaissance,” he said, with Headquarters Company, Fifth Regimental Combat Team. They were out of Hawaii. Cyrus met up with them in Korea.

“We shipped out the middle of May. At that time, of course, you all went over by ship. There was no flying you there,” he said. He was one of about 3000 soldiers aboard the troop carrier: USS Breckinridge, named after General J.C. Breckinridge. “Normally, it’s about a 7 or 8 day trip across, but it took us 16, because we had to make a stop in Guam. We had a soldier die onboard the ship. They said he died from bleeding ulcers.”

His first experience being aboard a ship for 16 days, Cyrus says he never got sick. “But boy, there was a lot of boys was sick ...And of course, it was part of the hottest part of the summer ...A lot of us slept up on deck ...We made our way up with a blanket. We used to sleep under the bulkhead up there,” he said.  “It was quite a ride going over. We were all happy to land in Yokohama, Japan. From there, we went to Camp Drake (Japan) ... for processing. And then they sent us by train to Sasebo. And from Sasebo, we took a Japanese ferry across, and I joined the Fifth Regimental Combat Team in Pusan.”

His job with the I &R Platoon required going out at night, collecting enemy information, learning their strengths and strongholds and leaving without being detected. “Our patrol was all mechanized ...We had a modified jeep with a 30-caliber machine gun on it. I was a bazooka man, a BAR man. I was the one, if we got pinned down, I would shoot off a round to give us time to get out of there. A 3.5 rocket launcher, that’s what it was,” he said.

“We filled in where they needed us,” he said. Asked about close calls, Cyrus said, “We had a few. But the only one that really made me mad was, we were back in reserve. We’d come off the line ...It was Thanksgiving, in ‘51. And you know, we had an all-hot meal coming up there ...They were cooking turkeys...I got my turkey and my dressing and I got everything.” They never got a chance to eat it. Mortar rounds alerted them to the enemy. “They zeroed in on us and we took off for the hills.” He can laugh about it now — not so funny then.

Of his time in Korea, Cyrus said,  “I hadn’t had a scratch. I never got a scratch in Korea. Never got injured.”

It was June 1952 that Cyrus came back to the States. It was good to be back. “I was home for a couple months. I was stationed at Camp Cook, California,” he said. That’s when he re-enlisted. “I was looking for a career in the Army. I got to where I liked it. I’d gotten rank,” he said. He’d gone from being a Private to Sergeant.

Sgt. Arnold signed on for another three years, with a third of that time spent in Berlin, Germany, teaching the troops first aid, rifle training and other refresher courses. He served with the Army until April, 1955.

How Sgt. Arnold met his wife

Sergeant Cyrus Arnold met his wife while stationed in New York, just after the Korean War.
Marjorie Strader lived in New York City. “When we weren’t out on the road, traveling ...there was a place called Soldiers, Sailors and Airman’s Club. I think they were on 37th Street and Lexington Avenue, NY.” Much like a canteen, the club held tea dances on Sundays, he said.
“They would call over to Brooklyn Army Base, to my outfit ...And they would get the Company Commanders and say, ‘Ask anybody if they’d like to come over to the dance.’”

Sergeant Arnold says it was one of the best decisions he ever made. “That’s where I met my wife. That was 1953 ...She was with a group of girls that they would come down ...and dance with the soldiers, serve you cake, or whatever.”

He remembers having four tickets to the Ed Sullivan Show, given to him by the USO. Would Marjorie like to attend?

Marjorie remembers why she said yes. “He was a gentleman. He was pleasant, and the conversation flowed.” Marjorie says they had a lot in common. Having visited California, where Cyrus was from, they had a lot to talk about.

 “That’s how we got started,” Cyrus says.

When the Brooklyn Army Base closed down, Cyrus was given a choice, to go to Camp Drum, NY or Fort Dix, NJ. “Well, I met my wife, so I went to Fort Dix, NJ. Then I trained new troops down there, new trips that just came in, basic training,” he said. As Field First Sergeant, Cyrus quietly admits he had to be tough on the recruits. “Discipline, to teach them,” he says. Cyrus was Field First Sergeant of George Company, 364 Infantry Regiment. He remained in the service until April, 1955. A year later, he proposed to the woman he loved. They were married on May 25, 1957.

The Arnolds are married 51 years, have a son named Robert and a grandson named Michael.