SEDALIA, Mo. — Hundreds attended the 10th annual Military Appreciation Day on Sunday at the State Fair in west-central Missouri’s Sedalia. Several uniformed soldiers showed up, along with veterans, family members, friends, Lt. Governor Mike Kehoe, National Guard Adjutant General Levon Cumpton and several patriot guard motorcycle riders.
Among those recognized at the event was a 98-year-old World War II veteran from Jefferson City. Charles Foster served in the U.S. Army from 1942 to 1945 to honor his best friend, Charles Thompson.
“Then he was killed at Pearl Harbor,” says Foster. “Immediately I wanted to enlist.”
Foster served in a variety of Army jobs, including as a B25 bomber crew chief and on the front lines. Foster exited his fox hole once. He says that was a big mistake.
“When a piece of shrapnel hit my helmet, I thought it was going to break my neck. It didn’t get me – it just got my helmet. I didn’t have any trouble staying in the fox hole after that,” Foster laughs.
Foster has war wounds, including shrapnel in his skull and he’s worn hearing aids ever since. He was awarded three bronze metal stars for his courage.
Foster stumbled into his final military position after some of his comrades were passed out in the kitchen from drinking too much alcohol. None of the kitchen crew was coherent enough to feed a bunch of hungry soldiers.
Foster rolled up his sleeves and got to work whipping up a meal that ended up being the talk of the base, particularly his peach cobbler. Despite his initial objection, Foster ended up leading the kitchen crew and becoming a mess hall sergeant until he finished his military service in 1945.