Nagy reflects on value of service


Times Leader Staff Writer

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Robert Nagy is the Veteran of the Month for December at the St. Clairsville American Legion.

Nagy served as an SPC 4 with the U.S. Army, three years active then three years inactive reserve, where he specialized in the field of transportation.

“I went in in 1979,” he said. “I got discharged in ’82, but I got my final discharge in ’85.”

This was during the Lebanon/Grenada era, but Nagy’s service was stateside. He worked as a transportation operator during the conflict. He added that the service personnel took the news in stride and stood ready to do their duty.

“We pretty much went about our day. We did what we were told to do,” he said, adding that his duties were mainly providing support for the troops.

“Mostly supply runs,” he said. “We’d support all the bigger divisions. I liked that better because it beats the motor pool … hauling ammunition and fuel and whatever else.”

He saw considerable work during 1979.

“There were a lot of convoys. We had, like, 80 vehicles,” he said, recalling his work in hauling fuel in 5-ton semi trucks in Texas during major trucker strikes in 1979. “We came back and did it all over again.”

Nagy added that the convoy hauled jet fuel during that time. On other occasions, he would haul diesel fuel. He also helped supply exercise reforger operations, or the annual return of forces to Germany.

“I was a reforger too. We did that,” he said. “That’s when we do maneuvers overseas with our allies. Stuff like that. … We’d go down to the Gulf Coast in a place called Beaumont (Texas), we put equipment on ships to go overseas.”

Nagy said his decision to serve was motivated in large part by his family history.

“I always wanted to join the Army since I was a kid, I don’t know how else to say it,” he said. “My dad was in the service. My uncles were in the service, so I decided to ante up. That’s pretty much what it was.”

He added that his father served in the National Guard, while his uncles fought in World War II. He added that one uncle served during the Battle of the Bulge.

“He came in (Normandy) right after they took over the beach. He said, the dead bodies, you wouldn’t believe it. He said you couldn’t step anywhere without stepping over a body part,” Nagy said.

He added that one of his brothers served during Operation Desert Storm in Iraq.

Nagy commented on the sense of comradere he experienced, adding that he enjoyed his time in the military. Nagy said he particularly enjoyed his work supporting other soldiers, such as hauling ammunition for mortar crews while they were conducting exercises at the range.

“Usually truck drivers and mechanics work together. maintenance on vehicles down at the motor pool. I like the field better,” he said. “I like being on the field.”

He also spoke about his duties and responsibilities, as well as the discipline required for military service.

“It was a whole new ball game. You grew up and grew up quick,” he said.

After his discharge, he remained involved with the American Legion. He as served as a sergeant at arms at the St. Clairsville post for seven years. He has also been a member of the Sons of the American Legion and involved in parades and ceremonies, and showing a presence at events.

“We support a lot of people here in town, with all the projects. We work with Boy Scouts,” he said.

Originally from Lansing, he moved to St. Clairsville in 1983. In civilian life, he worked in construction until he retired six years ago.


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