Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Veteran profile: Portales woman recalls Army service

Cannon Connections photo Vivian Cato, a Portales resident served in the United States Army from 1975-1978.

Vivian Cato, a Portales resident served in the United States Army from 1975-1978.

Why did you enlist in the Army?

I grew up in the military, it was all I knew. It was just a given, that (the military) was what I was going to do.

What’s one of your favorite memories while serving in the Army?

I would say probably when they... I guess they call it retreat, at the final post of the day at 5:00, they would play it. Everybody in uniform had to stop where they were, come to attention and salute the flag. I thought that was kind of neat, traffic stopped and people had to get out of their car and had to salute at 5:00.

Why is that your favorite memory?

Because it was the end of the day, and everything was going to be okay.

What’s your least favorite memory?

When my drill sergeant cut the button off of my uniform.

Why did she do that?

Well, our (shirts) were so starched in basic training and it slipped out of the button hole. She said, “private, you want that button?” and I said “yes, drill sergeant.” And so she took a pair of scissors and cut it off, and said “there’s your button.” That’s certainly my least favorite because I had to go get a new shirt and do it all over again.

What was your job in the military?

My MOS was called originally fixed siphoning repair, but that’s not the job I actually did. I was a stationary tech controller, which was basically a switchboard operator. We kept the lines up between our station in Panama and the United States.

Where are some of the places you lived while enlisted?

Fort McClelland was my basic training, Alabama then Ft. Jackson, S.C., Ft. Gordon, Ga., and the Panama Canal ... that’s Ft. Clayton I guess you’d call it.

Why were you only enlisted for three years?

That’s a good question. I kick myself in the butt every time for getting out. I wish I would have stayed. I had intentions of going back in but then you get married and a kid comes along, so that kind of took care of that. Yeah, I always wish I would have stayed in.

Did you get any awards, or have any notable achievements while you were in?

Just good conduct. That’s about it. I was on the drill team. I wasn’t in long enough to do much.