Local vet trained Elvis in boot camp ...

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MikeFromHolland
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Local vet trained Elvis in boot camp ...

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Harry Thetford: Local vet trained Elvis Presley in boot camp
By Harry Thetford Community columnist

For two days in 1958, Ted Russ trained Army recruit Elvis Presley at Fort Hood, Texas.
Yes, the King of Rock ’n’ Roll. He was drafted by the Army that year and served active duty until 1960.
Russ, who lives in Greensboro, has photos to prove it — including a favorite one of himself with Presley.


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Ted Russ and Elvis Presley at Fort Hood, Texas, in 1958. Photo courtesy Ted Russ


“When we show that photo to friends, my wife always tells everyone that I am the good-looking one,” he said.
“Elvis was a good trainee and well-liked by his Army peers,” Russ said.
Presley “took his celebrity status in stride,” Russ said.
“He realized that learning how to use a gas mask was serious business and went through exactly the same training as all other recruits. He asked no favors or for any special treatment.”

The son of a Fort Bragg barber, Russ graduated from Wake Forest College in 1955 with degrees in general science and education.
He was drafted into the Army the following year.
After basic and advanced training at Fort Hood, Russ deployed to West Germany.
Perhaps in recognition of his college background, he traveled from base to base as a chemical, biological and radiological inspector and instructor in the Chemical Corps of the 2nd Armored Division.
When his overseas deployment was done, Russ returned to Fort Hood, where he instructed new Army inductees.
“We took groups of recruits out in the field for two days at the time,” he said.
“It seemed that everyone in Texas knew Elvis was in recruit training at Fort Hood,” he said. “We knew he would come through our training cycle at some point.”
Russ said he wondered “how training the King of Rock ’n’ Roll would work out.”


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Private Elvis Presley takes a break. Photo courtesy Ted Russ


The future Gen. Colin Powell also met Presley while on active duty.
“I saw him as Elvis Presley the soldier — not as Elvis Presley the celebrity,” Powell told BBC Radio.
Right.
Russ would not go so far as to say Presley was a typical Fort Hood doughboy.
“His company was the only one that had gasoline-powered lawn mowers,” Russ said. “All other companies had push mowers —I always thought Elvis funded the gasoline mowers, and the government funded the pushers.”
Elvis did not perform for the public during his Army service, but his handlers released enough films and records to keep his fans in a frenzy.
“Any time his fans could get on base, long lines developed at the slightest hint of an Elvis sighting,” Russ said.

About the time Presley deployed to West Germany, Russ deployed to civilian life and returned to North Carolina.
“Since I enjoyed teaching and instructing so much in the Army, I got a job teaching high school chemistry, biology and physics in Camden County, making $331 per month,” he said.
Russ found that high school teaching wasn’t his forte.
“I quit teaching and went to work for Breon Laboratories in pharmaceutical sales for 10 years,” he said.
After a stint with Key Homes in Greensboro, Russ formed Russ Realty Co. in the early 1970s.
He retired in 2005.


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Retired Greensboro Realtor Ted Russ trained the King of Rock and Roll. Photo by Harry Thetford


He and Carolyn Alston, whom he says was an avid Presley fan, were married in the Greensboro College Chapel on June 10, 1961.
They are longtime members of West Market Street United Methodist Church and have four children, five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Russ has carefully preserved his 56-year-old photos of Presley, but I was surprised to learn he had never attended an Elvis Presley concert — or visited Graceland.
“I always wanted to do both, but just never got around to it,” he said.

Personal disclosure: I married an Elvis fan who owned every one of his records. We have been to Graceland and also enjoyed Elvis’ Greensboro Coliseum concert on April 21, 1977.
Presley died on Aug. 17, 1977.



Contact Harry Thetford at htthetford@aol.com.
Source: http://www.greensboro.com/life/harry-thetford-local-vet-trained-elvis-presley-in-boot-camp/article_ded5ead2-23c5-11e4-b7fe-0017a43b2370.html


Mike

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lay back,
take it easy
And try a smile...

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epf

Re: Local vet trained Elvis in boot camp ...

Post by epf »

Mike from the same place as i am, you've done it again. Cool stuff.



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Re: Local vet trained Elvis in boot camp ...

Post by MikeFromHolland »

epf wrote:Mike from the same place as i am, you've done it again. Cool stuff.

Thanks epf!

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Mike

------
lay back,
take it easy
And try a smile...

.