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Bill Troutman’s Story and Veteran Pinning Ceremony

Four Seasons was honored to provide our 1000th Veteran pinning ceremony to Bill Troutman in February 2024. Bill’s wife, Elaine, told Bill’s story at the ceremony, and we invite you to read her words below. You can also view the video of this special ceremony below. We are grateful to care for Veterans in our community.

The mirror twins were inseparable. Bill and Ben Troutman (pictured right with their sister), in their small town of Bradford, PA, lived together, shared a car, a record player, outdoor activities, and jobs with the US Forestry. However, in February 1964, they received draft notices. Just twenty years old, and oblivious of the perils unfolding in Vietnam, Bill looked forward to sharing Army experiences with his brother. But two weeks later, Bill traveled to Buffalo, NY alone to sign the official papers.  After much coaxing on Bill’s part, Ben stayed behind, deciding to get married instead.

Bill underwent his basic training at Fort Dix, NJ, traveling home for a brief two weeks to renew a budding romance with his girlfriend, Elaine. Then, he was off to Fort Sill, Oklahoma for artillery training in the 3rd and 79th Army.  When he joined the Army, Bill was assured he would likely return home before he received a permanent assignment. But instead, because the war was heating up, Bill found his orders—”Pack immediately:” half of his division would ship to Germany, half to Vietnam.

Arriving in Giessen, Germany, Bill’s job was to support the Vietnam effort by pairing both dynamite and nuclear warheads to fueled missiles.  Because he possessed a license to drive a 10-ton truck, Bill was tasked with transporting these rockets, called “Honest Johns,” cradled on launchers, to Grafenwöhr, Germany for firing. Once on maneuvers, when his truck was delayed behind another vehicle that couldn’t make the steep grade, Bill and his missile-laden truck got left behind. The rest of the division and the security jeeps had gone ahead. Unaccustomed to being the boss, Bill nevertheless took charge of the remaining detail and formed a perimeter to protect his dangerous cargo.

As a result of his initiative, Bill was ordered to attend warhead school in Oberammergau to train in arming these nuclear warheads, thus earning him the title of “Senior Assembly Rocket Specialist.” Based on his performance there, he received his E5 stripes, an unusual accomplishment after only 18 months of service. Although the brass encouraged Bill to re-enlist and Bill considered being a “life-fer,” the attraction to the Pennsylvania girl (Elaine pictured right with Bill) was too strong. He returned to the states.

His brother Ben welcomed him home, but Bill’s world had expanded. He realized he had earned something special—he had found other “brothers.” Bill considers himself lucky to have enjoyed the camaraderie of his fellow soldiers. He is grateful for the opportunity to serve his country, thankful for the chance to travel throughout Europe, and especially appreciative of the government’s GI Bill which supported his subsequent education. Without that funding, Bill realizes he would not be living here now.

Bill is very proud of his military service and the fact that he is being recognized is a truly wonderful thing even after all these years. It means a lot to me and I know it means a lot to him.

Learn more about Veteran care at Four Seasons and request care today.