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Family recalls century of military service

Brothers give nearly 126 years to Army

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POSTED: January 12, 2009 10:58 a.m.
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The Troha family's collection of service memorabilia includes photos, articles, flags and other mementos.

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The year was 1940. Germany had invaded Poland; sparking what would become the world’s second bloodiest war within 25 years.
“I remember we heard the news on the radio and my mom started crying,” 77 –year-old Joan Troha said. “I was just a kid and I could not figure out what was wrong.”
A year later, Joan said she discovered the cause of her mother’s tears.
“Naturally my brothers received the call,” she said.
And so, on Dec. 7, 1941 Joan said her older brothers, Frank, George, John and Joseph, were called to serve in World War II.
According to Joan, neither she nor the rest of her family questioned her brothers’ calls to duty.
“I thought that was what guys did,” she said. “Mom and dad raised us with a strong belief in family, country and God.”
Frank served three years in the army as a communications specialist, George retired as a sergeant major after serving 30 years in the Army and both John and Joseph served three-year-terms, leaving the Army as privates.

A family affair


Being drafted and trotting off to war would soon become the norm for the Troha family.
Ten years after the war that involved every major world power in a fight for global domination, the Soviet’s were plotting to create a communist Korea.
 Once again, the Troha family would receive the call.
Daniel Troha was 11 years old when his older brother Alfred received word that he would have to fight in the Korean War. 
“He got his notice through the mail and he read it and told my mom and dad he would be going to war,” he said. “And really, we just accepted it, because we knew that he was next in line to be called. It was the duty of the family.”
“We always hoped somebody would be bypassed, but we knew it was his turn.”
So Alfred went off to war, spending nearly 3 years in the Army after receiving his initial draft letter.
Daniel said his older brother Phillip, who would have been next in line to serve, was already serving in the Army. He retired as a sergeant major after 40 years of active duty service.
Little did Daniel know it would soon be his turn to serve.
“My youngest brother Butch had just graduated from high school and he was having a hard time getting a job,” Daniel said.
Daniel said he and Lawrence (Butch) decided to go in the Army together using the buddy system.
“Butch and I both served in Vietnam from 1964 to 1966,” Daniel, who is now 68 years old, said. “Being together made it easier because we could talk about family and we made a lot of good friends.”
Daniel and Butch both served three years in the U.S. Army. 
Younger brothers Herman and Robert would follow in their older brothers’ military footsteps. Both enlisted in the Army National Guard. Robert served 26 years and Herman served seven.
Daniel and Joan credit their mother Flora “Hansie” Sharp Troha with keeping the family close while the boys were away.
“Every morning my mom would get up and the first thing she did, after she got my dad ready for work, was sit down at the table and write them each a letter every day,” Joan said.
“My mom ... would sit up every night reading the Bible and praying for her sons,” Daniel said.
Daniel said Flora’s prayers were answered.
“We consider ourselves fortunate and blessed that 10 brothers could be in the service and all come back safe from harm,” he said.
“To us, we don’t brag about the fact we served 126 years,” he added. “We were called and we did it ... It was in our bloodline.”
 

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