Sacramento homeowner and GRID system recipient Delbert Farmer kindly shared his story with GRID Alternatives North Valley about being on the frontlines of the Korean War. Delbert and his wife Arlene have a large family filled with 3 children, 4 grandchildren, and 8 great-grandchildren. They are always willing to help friends and family by offering a cozy place to stay. When they discovered GRID Alternatives’ through the Sac Bee, they were ecstatic to save money and receive a no-cost solar electric system. During the install, Delbert enjoyed sharing the story of his military days and his eventual reintegration into civilian life with the construction staff and volunteers.
Delbert Farmer: “I lived on this farm in Missouri. This was 1949. I was 17, almost 18. I hitchhiked to Springfield, Missouri and bummed around ‘til I turned 18 and joined the Army. I [was sent] to Fort Bliss, Texas. On June 25, 1949 [recruiters] came to Fort Bliss and said that volunteers need to get ready to go to Korea. Within 2 weeks, we were loaded onto trains and sent to Seattle, Washington. We spent time there, regrouped, and got put onto a troop ship. We were then stationed in Japan. We were all starving. We had to survive on WWII rations.
When we were in North Korea, we would have 3 small cans of food. We were wearing summer clothes. We were never issued winter clothes even though it was in the negatives. During the war, there was a prisoner…sometimes you don’t want to say too much. He was wearing pajamas and I thought, “Man, that’s got to be warmer than what I’ve got on.” And someone said to me, “Don’t put them on or someone might shoot you for them.” But you get so cold, there is a point when your mind goes crazy. You don’t want no one to talk to you.
I was in Korea from September 15th until the following September 15th. After my year of service, they asked if I wanted to go to Japan or Germany. I chose Japan. I loved it. This was years after the A-bomb happened—the bomb was in 1945. When we went through that town (on a train) and we first got to Japan, they pulled the curtains down and the guard on each end wouldn’t let us look out; they didn’t want us to see what was out there.
I liked Japan, but my enlistment was up. I had to come home or enlist for another three years. I wasn’t going to do that. I didn’t like it THAT much. When I got home there was no work for no one. The car factories had slowed down. So that’s why I went to California after I got out, because there was work down there.
I came to California in ’53. [My wife and I] met then got married. One night I asked her, “What would you like to do tonight?” and she said, “Go get married!”
Arlene Farmer: “We knew each other only for a month. And everybody said we wouldn’t last 6 months.”
Delbert: “And here we are 60 some years later… It was one of the biggest church weddings in the town.
Arlene: “We got the dresses, suits, and flowers all in less than a week. My brother went through town and said, “My sister is getting married this weekend and you’re all invited to the wedding!” So we had people there that we didn’t even know.”
Delbert: “We had a big town blowout, didn’t we? Not too many people done what we did. I can guarantee that.”
We in the North Valley office are pleased to show our appreciation for those who have served our country through military service by having provided a renewable energy system to a veteran family like the Farmers.