Not all veterans who volunteered to fight during World War II were in direct conflict, but they were ready to serve in action if needed. By the end of World War II in 1945, 50 million men had registered for the draft, while 10 million 18- to 45-year-olds had been inducted in the military from September 1940 to March 1947.
Kingsville resident Perry Mixon, 91, recalled when he volunteered to serve in September 1946 as World War II was coming to a close. He was part of the 39 percent of new recruits who volunteered to serve; the remainder were called through conscription, commonly referred to as the draft.
Mixon is one of the World War II veterans in Kleberg County and Bishop who will be honored at 10:45 a.m. Nov. 10, 2019, at the First Baptist Church in Kingsville. The church is searching for additional living World War II veterans in the area. To submit names and addresses of living World War II veterans, please contact the church office at (361) 592-3344 or email email@example.com.
Mixon decided to volunteer for service when he turned 18 during his junior year at Riviera Kaufer High School. He told his parents he enlisted after he returned home from school that day. His father was not happy when he learned that Mixon enlisted because the family farm was a tough job led by the entire family. Mixon was the youngest sibling of four sisters. He was the backbone of the family but knew he needed to serve his country.
Mixon joined the army after a local recruiter encouraged him to join because of a high demand for soldiers for the South Korea conflict. Mixon dreamed of becoming an engineer and wanted to learn to repair airplane engines, so he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps (now the U.S. Air Force).
Mixon attended basic training in San Antonio at Fort Sam Houston and Lackland Army Air Corps (now Lackland Air Force Base, part of the Air Education and Training Command). Mixon can still remember his dog tag number.
“They had us saying our number all of the time in the military. You were not a name there, you were a number,” Mixon said.
He was assigned to the kitchen police or kitchen patrol (KP) as a junior enlist during his first weeks in basic training. He entered the army weighing 95 pounds, and gained 34 pounds in the first few months of his tough training session. After basic training, Mixon was on furlough where he spent time with his family on their farm near Baffin Bay.
When he returned, he was sent to mechanics school in Biloxi, Miss., where he was expected to train for six months. However, after only a month, his commander requested volunteers to go to Saudi Arabia for a job. He spent 14 months in Saudi Arabia where he camped with U.S. and Saudi Arabian soldiers. Mixon helped to build the city of Jeddah’s first airport and learned to work on specialty airplanes including the B-17, C-47 cargo plane, and an experimental plane called the XC-99.
Mixon returned home and was honorably discharged on Sept. 6, 1949, while serving on the Travis Fairfield base (now Travis Air Force Base) in Fairfield, Calif.