Veteran of the Month: Bill Mayer

Bill Mayer: September Veteran of the Month

Bill Mayer: September Veteran of the Month

By Saline Eagle Staff

Bill Mayer was born and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Upon graduating from Ann Arbor High School, Bill knew there was a draft and that he would likely be called. He decided to enlist so that he would be able to select his method of fulfilling his military obligation. With becoming a paratrooper as his goal, he joined the army in September of 1960.
Upon his enlistment in the army, he was sent to Fort Knox, Kentucky for eight weeks of basic training. Once he had completed basic he was sent for Advanced Infantry training at Fort Benning, Georgia. After completing Advanced Infantry Training he was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division in Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, where he spent the next two and a half years. During his time at Ft. Bragg, he was part of a STRAC outfit. This is the Strategic Army Corps with high readiness as its mission. At least one unit was restricted to base at all times in case of an alert being called.
While at Ft. Bragg he attended three weeks at Jump School, three weeks at Small Arms Preventive Maintenance School, three weeks at Aerial Delivery School which trained soldiers in cargo drops such as jeeps, ammunition, food, etc. In addition he attended three weeks at Air Transportability School which provides training in how to load and secure items on a plane. Every year the 82nd participated in massive war maneuvers involving multiple divisions as well as the air force and which involved 100,000 men. They also trained as conventional forces with Special Forces and trained ROTC Cadets.
During 1962, Bill was on leave when the Cuban Missile crisis occurred. His leave was on standby, all leaves were cancelled and he had to return to base. On another occasion in October of 1962, Bill’s company was sent to Mississippi when Federal troops were sent by the president to integrate local schools as well as colleges.
In May of 1962, Bill was promoted to Sargent E5. He feels his time in the army was “the right thing for him at that time of his life. It was an eye opener and I did a bunch of neat things and met many interesting people.” He is very proud of his service with the 82nd Airborne.
After having served his obligation and being discharged from the army, he worked at various odd jobs until he was hired as a Computer Operator at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital. He worked there for two years and incidentally met Jane, the woman he would later marry. After a persistent courtship, he and Jane were married in June of 1967. In 1968, Bill was hired by the University of Michigan Data Systems Center as a computer operator performing all administrative computing for the entire university with the exception of the hospital, including payroll and accounting grade processing. In those days, punch cards were being used and he worked on the transition to computers. Bill worked for the University of Michigan for 35 years, first as a computer operator, then an Operations Shift Supervisor and finally as an electronic forms programmer.
Bill and his wife, Jane, have been happily married for 48 years and relocated from Scio Township to Saline two years ago. They love Saline and “only wish they had moved here sooner”. They have two children, Kristen and Jeffery, both of whom live nearby.
When asked his advice to young people thinking of joining the military now, he stated, “Do your homework. Make sure you know what you are getting into. It is a different world now, and circumstances change rapidly. Having said that, I would recommend it for young people, especially if they don’t plan to go to college but don’t know what they want to do.”
We thank Bill for his service to our country and the preservation of those freedoms and rights we hope never to take for granted.

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