Bob Cason has always been an adventurous and ambitious man. As a boy, he was too young to serve in World War II and when the Korean War began, his desire was to serve his country in the United States Navy. He knew that if he waited for the draft, chances would be excellent that he would be in the Army infantry, which did not sound attractive at all to him. So, at age seventeen, he enlisted in the Navy Reserve.
Bob had always had a fascination with aircraft carriers and airplanes, so he joined the Navy Reserve at the Naval Air Station in Dallas, Texas with hopes of being called to active duty in Korea. Now, we know there are not many aircraft carriers in Dallas, Texas, but he was hopeful of being assigned to duty aboard one and see action in Korea. He said, “I wanted to go so bad, as a young kid. But they didn’t call me up.” He even volunteered to join a submarine unit, but the Navy Reserve wouldn’t release him. Bob says, “So that was that!”
Bob served in the Navy Reserve for eight years as an Aviation Ordinance Specialist. His duties included loading the bombs and the 50cal machine gun and 20mm cannon ammunition onto the Corsair fighter planes. Bob says, “I really enjoyed my military career very much, even though it was all spent as a reservist.” But I’m sure we would all agree that part of the uniqueness and strength of America’s military has always been in a strong Reserve and National Guard. And we appreciate men like Bob Cason serving there.
Bob has always been a World War II buff. He has intently studied the war’s history and has an extensive World War II library. He also plays the piano and is an accomplished classical pianist. He thoroughly enjoyed his military time, but any aspirations he might have had were immediately squelched the first time he saw the love of his life, Nancy.
Bob and Nancy both grew up in Dallas. Bob graduated high school from North Dallas High and Nancy from Hillcrest High, where she took secretarial courses. Just before graduation, the Circulation Manager from The Wall Street Journal came to the school and asked Nancy’s teacher if she could recommend anyone to interview as his secretary. Her teacher recommended Nancy. She interviewed and impressed the man and started the job the next week after graduation.
Bob’s background was in the printing business. His dad, uncle, older brother and other family members all worked in the printing industry for newspapers and job shops. Bob was working for the Wall Street Journal at that time, in the printing composing room.
It was necessary for all the young secretarial girls to exit through the composing room at the lunch break. Bob says, “One day the door opened to this nasty, inky composing room and out comes this girl in a white dress with high heels and hair fixed beautifully… I looked up, saw her and said, ‘Goodness Gracious! Wow! I’m gonna have to pursue this!’ That was my first look at her. Later we met and hit it off.” As they say, the rest is history, and sixty-five years later they are still in love and an example to young couples everywhere.
Bob later became interested in being a first responder with the Fire Department. He applied and was hired by the Garland, Texas Fire Department. He became a fire engine driver at Station #2 and had a great thirty-three-year career as a fire fighter. He said, “When I became a driver, I knew this was my calling. I fought fire and drove the engine for thirty-three years.”
Bob and Nancy experienced the national sentiment during both the Korean War and World War II. They say that the mood of America changed drastically from pro-war during the earlier conflict to anti-war in the 1950’s.
They remember the entire nation united behind the war effort as the nation struggled against Germany and Japan. There was a willingness by everyone to sacrifice and ration for the war effort. They remember scrap metal drives when folks would donate pots and pans, bicycles, car parts and scrap metal of all kinds. Nancy said that scrap aluminum balls were created by pieces of aluminum foil and even gum wrappers. Bob remembers a huge pile of metal in the school yard, 10-12 feet high and 15-20 feet across as the whole community donated everything they could bring.
Nancy remembers being in 5th grade and that her teacher taught the class, boys as well as girls, to knit. They would knit small squares of material and her teacher would crochet these together to make afghan blankets for wounded soldiers in hospitals.
But in just a few short years the sentiment of the nation would change to anti-war when the Korean conflict began. Even the Congress declared it a “police action,” refusing to use the term “war.” Maybe this was because so many young men had lost their lives or were injured in World War II and the country just didn’t have a stomach for it any longer. Whatever the reason, we have seen that America has not won a war since World War II.
Bob and Nancy Cason are committed Christian workers at Believer’s Chapel church in Dallas. Nancy was raised as a Baptist, but Bob had no real church background as he grew up. His parents divorced and his mother was a member of the Christian Science church. He says that he and his older brother just survived during those formative years.
They both agree with what Bob said, “We got together and the Lord blessed us.” They began having babies and believed that their kids needed to be in church, so they first joined the Methodist church. Later they moved to Orchard Hills Baptist, where they would both accept Christ and begin their lifelong Christian service. Bob began intense study of the Bible and has taught Bible classes for many years. He says, “God changed our lives and blessed us and our children.”
It is an honor and blessing to know these wonderful folks. They are truly shining examples of who the “Greatest Generation” are and the values that have made our country great for so many years. Bob, we are glad that you pursued that lovely lady, and I know you are also!