Those were different times. Reuben Eubanks was born in Clinton in 1920, one of four children, the son of Dewey Herbert and Edna Ann Jennings, and went on to graduate from Clinton State Vocational School in 1939. He joined the Civilian Conservation Corps.
Few understood how much America was about to change. Eubanks happened to be there for the change. Enlisting in what was then the Army Air Corps (mechanized flight capturing so many imaginations in those days) he was on a ship heading for Australia when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, the start, for America, of World War II.
Eubanks, the young man from Arkansas, was a radio mechanic for the Air Corp in those days.
Few realize in today’s terms what “radio mechanic” meant. Mass produced transistors were still a long way off in those days, and radios were big, heavy, things, using vacuum tubes to operate. They were installed in airplanes of the era, large thumping piston engines burning gasoline and swinging propellers. The vibration of the airplane and the delicate internals meant radio work was constant.
Adding that air conditioning, a fact of life in these modern times, was also a long way off. And in the middle of all this, the humidity, delicate equipment in a hostile environment: Eubanks, doing his part for the war.
And he, as they say in the service, “Stayed in,” making 20 years (and four days, the military’s good at record-keeping) of service for the country. The Army Air Corp became the United States Air Force and Eubanks served, retiring as a Master Sergeant in 1961, with service in Korea and Vietnam before retirement.
The Clinton State Vocational School graduate went on to work for Boeing at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, on its Minuteman missile program.
Years have passed, and Eubanks is now in assisted living in Arizona. His health, his daughter tells us, is not great but he remains in the care of family.
It’s a story, not just of a boy from Clinton who went off and found adventure and service, but a story of what comes out of the shale-laden foothills, of young men, struggling through the end of the Great Depression, getting the education, taking an interest in (pardon the term) lofty things, serving the country, serving in war, raising a family, and embracing the life given him, in turn making America, if not the world, a better place.
Reuben did good by Clinton; Reuben did good by America.