PIERCETON — Clifford D. Linn, 90, Pierceton, was honored as veteran of the month today at the Kosciusko County commissioners Dec. 12 meeting.
Linn was born and raised in Pierceton. His mother, Trilby, was a stay-at-home mom, and his father, Alfred, worked as a section hand for the Pennsylvania Railroad. Linn grew up with two older sisters, Georgia and Doris.
In 1944 Linn met Norma Jean Rager, who had moved to town from a farm near Larwill. The two began a relationship that has lasted to this day.
At the age of 17, Linn and his friend, Jack Guy, joined the U.S. Navy on the buddy system. They completed basic training at Sampson Naval Training Center in Seneca Lake, near Geneva, NY. After finishing his training, Linn was stationed aboard the USS Queens where he served most of his time.
When called to battle stations, his duty was as sight setter on a cannon. This consisted of sitting alongside the cannon and keeping the gun sight set at the proper elevation for the range so that the gun pointer could keep his eye continuously at the gun-sight.
At sea he was a JV talker. Through his headset he was to relay messages from lookouts to the officer of the deck. The JV talker must be familiar with all other stations on the circuit and relay all orders from the OOD to these stations. While anchored in port, Linn served as the captain’s orderly which, of course, consisted of doing the captain’s bidding.
While aboard the USS Queens, Linn served in California, the Philippines, Guam, Saipan and the Panama Canal. Linn said a favorite memory is when he had the pleasure of picking up troops and bringing them back to California, stating he had never seen anyone so happy.
In Virginia, Linn boarded the USS Guadalcanal where he finished his service as a gunner’s mate.
With the war over, there were hundreds of thousands of active servicemen who were no longer needed, so all were encouraged to leave the service.
Linn did just that and was honorably discharged July 19, 1946. During his short career in the Navy, Linn achieved the rank of seaman first class.
After his discharge, Linn returned to Pierceton. That fall he resumed high school for his senior year – and, of course, he rekindled his relationship with Norma Jean.
After graduating high school in 1947, Linn took a job driving a dump truck. In June 1949, Linn and Norma were married.
The marriage produced three daughters, Tami (and son-in-law Steve Brown), Tanya (and son-in-law Mike Adams), and Tasha (and son-in-law Steve Kinney). The Linns have six granddaughters, one grandson, 11 great grandsons and two great granddaughters.
In 1954, Linn became employed as a heavy equipment operating engineer, a career he retained until retirement in 1992. During the early years of his chosen profession, Linn traveled from job site to job site, pulling his mobile home behind his vehicle and relocating his family as the job progressed. Before his middle daughter entered school, Linn and his family had lived in four states and upwards of 30 towns. Linn maintained his ties to Pierceton by traveling home nearly every weekend.
In 1960, Linn designed and drew up blueprints for a new home due to his family outgrowing their small mobile home. He moved his family into their new home on the southern edge of Pierceton in 1964, and he and Norma still reside there today.
Linn is a lifetime member of the American Legion Post 258 in Pierceton and a proud retiree of the Indiana Union of Operating Engineers Local 103 of Fort Wayne.
He stays busy maintaining and farming his 20 plus acres of land, chopping wood and various other outdoor activities.
Linn, who still remembers his serial number (2944196), reports that he loved his time in the Navy. He was able to enjoy a trip to Washington D.C. in April on the Honor Flight.
Linn is a devoted husband of 68 years, a loving father and a proud grandfather. He is described as someone who is always there when needed to share his wisdom and input for any task and for anyone.