Future Taps Article for William A. Axup
Bill was born into Army life on 3 October 1932 at Ft. Hayes, Columbus, Ohio to Roy W. ( WP Class of '27) and Violet Axup who already had two daughters. Memory began in the mid '30's on board ship headed for Hawaii. The family returned to CONUS in '39 to Ft Warren, WY., but found themselves in Springfield, Missouri with Dad stationed at Ft Leonard Wood at the beginning of WW II. Life then consisted of following Dad back and forth across the country while he took various assignments preparing for eventual over seas duty.
His child hood interests involved archery (could hit a tennis ball swinging on a 20 inch string at 10 yards), building model airplanes, copy art, drumming, Boy Scouts, wrestling, camping, Civil Air Patrol, and small play acting, not to mention a few girls.
He received appointment to West Point as a 3rd alternate from Indiana and reported to WP in July 1950. Plebe year was relatively uneventful except for qualifying on prunes (eating 100 at one sitting) and a disaster with the English department's final WGR. He flunked and was discharged but eligible to return upon passing a reentrance examination. Mission accomplished; he joined the class of '55 as a recognized Plebe.
Apart from meeting his future wife, academy life was relatively unexceptional. He received a minor A in Corps Squad Gymnastics, scored very high on the annual PT obstical course tests. He scored second place in the Camp Buckner final skills test, never walked the area, and was a solid B student. He gained a stronger appreciation for physical fitness that apparently helped him weather the following years in relative physical comfort. He graduated in the top third of the class as the company's First Sergeant.
Being an idealist, he believed that every officer needed to have a good acquaintance with the "Queen of Battle" so he opted for Infantry. Having a fascination for the Arctic, he requested an initial assignment to Alaska.
At Ft. Richardson, near Anchorage, after the required two years in combat arms service, he switched to Ordnance and was introduced to the Logistics side of the Army with incidental assignments in the command's Logistics Depot's Labor and Equipment pool , then Captain of the Command's Pistol Marksmanship Team. The tour was completed as OIC of the Command Maintenance Inspection Team in which he instituted more practical functional inspection standards. The next assignment was at Redstone Arsenal, AL for graduate schooling in U of Alabama for an MS degree in Engineering Mechanics. Then came the Company Grade Ordnance Course at Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD followed by a MAG Vietnam assignment, which was changed to MAG Korea Combat Arms Center due to detection of skin cancer which resulted in an inappropriate physical profile. Subsequent assignments included: Installation Commander Lima Army Modification Center, Lima, OH, a layaway facility with the challenges of overseeing an all civilian custodial staff. As a layaway activity there were a number of facilities underutilized which he rented to private businesses gaining otherwise unrealized revenue for the Government
At Ft Wainwright Alaska, in the 171st Inf Brigade as the Brigade's Quartermaster, he was responsible for overseeing the recovery of all arctic equipment issued to an out going infantry battalion. As CO Hq company of the Brigade Support Battalion, he instituted realistic scenarios for the Medical platoon to execute during maneuvers.
In the Command's G-4 office he developed a Commander's Equipment Inspection Guide. His final active duty assignment was as Logistics Officer for the Infantry Board at Ft. Benning, GA. with an additional duty to jump test equipment.
He was honorably discharged In 1969 and signed on as a Civil Service General Engineer at the Army Weapons Command, Rock Island Arsenal, IL. While at the Arsenal he was commissioned into the Reserves, completed Command and General Staff College, the National Defense University, and did active duty for training at TACOM, Detroit, MI. before retiring in 1992.
Arsenal enployment involved working in small arms R&D, Technical Data Configuration Management, engineering support to the Bradley Fighting Vehicle Manager, small arms and ammunition malfunction reviews, and Statistical Process Control implementation at product manufacturer's plants. He qualified for membership in the Society of Logistics Engineers on the first try and retired in 1993.
Family life involved:
Having three children: Peter Roy, a retired Air Force Colonel; Andrew William, PhD Chemistry Professor at St Ambrose University, Davenport, IA w/ 2 children, and Anne Joél Caldwell, homemaker w/3 home schooled thru high schol children and an MS in Counseling.
Visiting family and friends around the country, Three trips to Europe, Cub Scout WEBLOS "Den Dad" and Boy Scout merit badge counselor, white water canoeing, canoe camping on the Boundary Waters, thirty-seven years of small sailboat racing on the Mississippi river, twenty rears of handball, Quad City Right to Life for 31 years, Church choir member, Parish Council President, Lecturer & Extraordinary Minister (giving communion to hospital patients); Anna and he hosted married couples Valentine Day celebrations and evening meals to local indigents for about 7 yrs.
At the end, he had marched in good spirit & health into the "Golden Years". While activity was gradually curtailed, he continued on leisurely in route step.