By Christine Baldwin, AFRH-W Librarian
Lionel Verrette was born in the French Canadian province of New Brunswick. Since his father was a US citizen, Lionel was subject to both U.S. and Canadian laws until the age of 21. He was working in Maine, when he got drafted by the United States Army in July 1945. (Both his brothers served in the Canadian Army). He did his 16 weeks of Basic Training at Camp Croft, SC in Infantry. Shortly afterwards, because of his proficiency in speaking French, Lionel was sent on a special assignment to Europe. It was during one of his many different assignments to Germany (a total of seven years) that he met and married his French War Bride in 1947. They later had six children. Also during his career, Lionel worked in the fields of anti-aircraft artillery and in the Quartermaster Corps.
After returning to the states, he went to Fort Hood, TX and Camp Chaffee, AK and later spent ten years assigned to the 526th Military Police Company, Fort Meade, MD. Getting his orders directly from The Pentagon, Lionel was sent to French West Africa in 1961, where he worked security and delivered equipment for humanitarian aid. He was stationed in Upper Volta, only 40 km from Timbuktu, but due to the extreme heat, everything stopped between 1200 – 1500 everyday, making the job long and difficult. He also used his skills in Vietnam in 1963 as a French linguist before the Vietnam War began. Lionel retired in 1965 from Fort Meade and spent the next 22 years with Armco Steel Company in Baltimore, MD. There he worked his way up from janitor to Senior Inspector in the wire lab. He always knew about the Armed Forces Retirement Home, so he was happy to come here three years ago.