January 10, 1926 —
393rd Field Artillery Battalion
Theater of Operation: North America
January 1, 1944 — Unknown
Killed in Action: No
Prisoner of War: Unknown
Bob Soelter was inducted into the Army at Fort Leavenworth, KS and then was sent to Ft. Benning, GA. There he entered infantry basic training. After a short time in infantry training, he and several others in his unit were pulled out and sent to Fort Riley, KS. To their surprise, they were told that they would be trained as artillery men on the 105mm howitzers. It was later explained that it was important for personnel shooting the big guns in support of the infantry to be trained in the infantry so they could recognize who it felt to have the shells passing overhead. It also emphasized the importance of care and accuracy for the people who shot the cannons. His particular unit was sent to Camp Hood, Texas. There, they were especially designated to train infantry men to advance under friendly artillery fire. A rolling barrage in advance of a forward infantry movement required absolute accurate fire from the artillery. The trainees would be exposed to live fire, the sound, the impact, the danger and the necessity of following orders to avoid being hit by one of the rounds. They did this training at Camp Shelby, MI, where they coordinated with air support for advancing troops. After the war was over in Europe, they were moved to Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri, to join up with the 8th Division and move to the Pacific. The move to the Pacific was cancelled after the dropping of the Nuclear Weapons. Bob was then sent to North Dakota as an Army Recruiter until he was discharged in 1946. After military service, Bob entered Kansas State University. He graduated with a Business Administration Degree in 1949. He took a position in Danville, IN at Kresge Company (now K-Mart). From there, he took a position at Duckwall Stores in 1950 in Salina, KS. From there he moved to the Duckwall Headquarters in Abilene, Kansas as a Buyer. He moved up that position up the corporate ladder as A Merchandize Manager, VP of Merchandizing, and then reached the top position of President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Duckwall Alco, Inc. He was also selected the "Executive of the year in Kansas" by Kansas Magazine. He retired in 1988 in Abilene, KS. He is married to the former Ruth "Sherry" Morris of Topeka. They have three children --- 2 boys and 1 girl.