Trahan relives military career at Rotary
By: Jeannine LeJeune
CROWLEY – Trahan was a “farmboy who wanted to see the world,” as he explained to the Crowley Rotary Club Tuesday.
The Rayne native is part of the Rayne Lions Club and met Crowley Rotary member Joe Freeland when he came and speak to the Lions Club. After talking for a while, the idea to have Trahan speak to Crowley’s club was born.
It was, however, not the first time he had visited the club. As a member of the 1944 Rayne High state champion six-man football team.
Trahan spoke to the club about his upbringing and his military career. He was born in 1928 on a 60-acre farm in the rural Rayne area.
Trahan father raised him and retired from the farming business at age 73 and the two moved to town, which allowed Trahan to compete in extracurricular activities, such as football.
Trahan’s high school career was also a time of war, World War II to be exact and following a morning prayer service and singing of “God Bless America” around the flagpole on VE Day, the students were dismissed and Trahan and six of his classmates decided to hitchhike to Lafayette to join the navy.
“You know how every class has one of those wise guys? So did we, ours said ‘let’s enlist’ and we did,” said Trahan.
Trahan, being under the age of 18, had to gain parental consent to enlistt and he did.
After serving in the military as a member of the U.S. Navy for several years, he was discharged and enrolled at SLI and joined the school’s boxing program.
“But the program was dropped after a year so being a jock, I walked off campus,” joked Trahan.
He then rejoined Uncle Sam, this time as a U.S. Army paratrooper. He stayed with the U.S. Army for the remainder of his military career, which equalled 23 years.
His time in the military allowed him to realize two of his loves, traveling the world and coaching.
During his time in the army, Trahan spent some time at West Point where he helped coach the school’s cross country indoor and outdoor teams, where he also helped lead the teams to three victories over rival Navy.
But it was his dream of traveling that was helped the most during his military career. Trahan was given the opportunity to travel around the world, literally, going from Washington, D.C. to Germany to Greece to Turkey to Iraq to China to Vietnam to Hawaii and back to Washington, D.C.
“It was a young traveler’s dream come true,” he said.
Trahan retired from the military in 1968 and built a home on the farm he grew up on. However, a divorce and the need to get his mind off of things led him back to school. He enrolled at USL (now known as ULL and the former SLI) on probation. Despite the early issues, Trahan made the Dean’s List each semester he was in college other than his first.
The next Rotary luncheon is scheduled for Tuesday, January 4, 2011.