Samuel Arredondo Sr., 97, of Elizabethtown, KY, passed away May 18, 2018 at his residence.
He was born on January 5, 1921 in Alice, TX. Orphaned at the age of four, his brother and he were raised by relatives in Rio Grande City, TX. Life was not easy during that time for him. He would often talk about La Virgin De Guadalupe who appeared to him as a child and gave him comfort. He always believed she was his protector.
He began his military career at the age of 15 with the Civilian Conservation Corp. where he spent about 18 months. He was sent to Santa Fe, NM and later to Winslow, McNary, & Fedonia AZ where his assignment included caring for diseased pine trees, fencing ranches, and laying rocks along the banks to stop water erosion. In 1939, he returned to Rio Grande, and tried to join the Army, the age requirement was 21. In 1941, he took his first Army physical at Fort Ringgold, TX and was sent to Fort Sam Houston for another physical, then to Fort Bliss, TX to receive infantry training. He later went to Fort Knox, KY to be trained as a tank driver, but because of a language barrier was trained as a machine gunner. Much later he became a tank driver. He participated in the “Day to Remember” which was the famous 90 day maneuver from Fort Knox, KY to Camp Polk, LA. In late 1941 his regiment returned to Fort Knox, a day before the attack on Pearl Harbor which led the U.S. into WWII. In March of 1942, the First Armor Division left Fort Knox for Fort Dix, NJ. On May 10, 1942 his division arrived at Belfast, Northern Ireland and stayed for 3-4 months to train how to drive in a “black out”. From there they went to Liverpool, England and loaded on a troop transport to North Africa where he stayed for about a year, where he served under his hero General George S. Patton. In June of 1945, he returned to Fort Sam Houston and from 1946-47 volunteered for the Task Force Frigid in Fairbanks, AK. This task force was organized to test U.S. Army equipment and different types of clothing that could be worn in sub-degree temperature. From 1947-50, he was stationed at Fort Hood, TX where he trained recruits. During the Korean Conflict, he was a tank commander with the 67th Tank Battalion C Company in South Korea from 1950-51. in 1954-56, he returned on assignment to Korea with A Company 73rd Tank Battalion, and was later reassigned to C Company. In 1957 he was stationed in Fort Benning, GA for infantry training. In 1958-61 and 64-67, he was stationed in Germany with the 35th Transportation Company and later requested assignment to the 7th Squadron. Between both duty tours, he was sent to Fort Knox where he volunteered for Vietnam, but was sent to Germany. His last duty station was Fort Knox where he retired in 1969 with 28 years and 8 months of service.
In June 1947 he married Kate, the love of this life. They were married for 71 years. When they were stationed at Fort Knox, she fell in love with Kentucky and they both decided it would be a great place for their family. After retirement he went to work for GM in Ann Arbor, MI for four years. After settling, he and his wife opened the first Mexican restaurant in Hardin County in 1970.
Mr. Arredondo was a member of Camp Knox Masonic Lodge, 32nd Degree, a Scottish Rite, & a Shriner. He and his wife attended the Worship Center when his health and weather permitted.
He was preceded in death by two daughters, Glenda Arredondo and Elisa Ermilia McVoy.
Survivors include: His loving wife of 71 years, Kate; one son, Samuel (Christina); four daughters Sonja (Joe), Cynthia (Gary), Norma (Jose), Linda (Bill); 11 grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren; and a dear friend, Andres Matos.
Visitation will be from 10:00 AM until 12:00 PM Wednesday at the Chism Family Funeral Home, Vine Grove, KY.
Funeral services for Mr. Arredondo will be held at 12:00 PM, Wednesday, May 23, 2018 at the chapel of Chism Family Funeral Home, Vine Grove, KY. Burial with military honors will follow in the Kentucky Veterans Cemetery Central, Radcliff, KY.
P.O. Box 2149, Elizabethtown KY 42702