Glen Clifton of Hermann put his farm skills to very good use while honorably serving in the U.S. Navy more than a half century ago.
Glen regards his time with the Navy as essential and worthwhile on behalf of the nation. He has no regrets whatsoever, and is satisfied knowing his contributions had a high purpose.
He was born and raised in Gasconade, Missouri, and graduated from Hermann High School. He and his twin brother, Carl, then joined the Navy in 1964. Their younger brother, Roy, joined the Navy a year later. Glen became a member of Hermann's VFW post in 1970.
His parents couldn't afford to send the brothers to college, so military service was pursued. His father, F.G. Clifton, served in the Navy and Merchant Marine during World War II. The family counts cousins and nephews who also served in the military. The influences were important.
"I think it was the best thing that ever happened," he said of joining the Navy. "It was a duty."
The three brothers remained in San Diego after boot camp. Glen was ordered to report to a Navy destroyer, the U.S.S. Porterfield, and later served aboard the U.S.S. Duncan. He served two tours in Vietnam: Jan. 11, 1966, to July 18, 1966; and Dec. 27, 1966, to June 18, 1967.
Part of his time was spent on the "gun line" for patrols up and down the Vietnamese coastline, with the Navy providing fire support for troops. His military travels also took him to such locales as Japan and Taiwan.
"I was a sonar man," Glen said. "I hunted submarines."
On one occasion, he and his crewmates were sent to the Straits of Taiwan for a mission that lasted 63 days.
"We were just kind of keeping the peace," he said. That period allowed him to observe hostilities between Taiwan and mainland Communist China.
As a "first loader", Glen would help with depth charges.
"We'd go on exercises to stay sharp," he said. His skills at hefting hay bales proved valuable in working with the ammunition.
Once in the VFW, he followed a logical path up the chain of responsibilities that led to becoming post commander for 1973-'74. His cap includes a medal awarded for serving in the Gulf of Tonkin. He does still stay in contact with some of his Navy comrades on Facebook.
Based on all that he's experienced, he's a firm believer in the value of military service.
"You learn discipline," said Glen. "You meet people that you'd never meet."