He moved around, was transferred to France and Alaska, and then became a part of the 8th Medical Brigade stationed in Vietnam.
Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Orville Stoeber knew he had to do something. So in February 1942, he enlisted in the Army. For the next 26 years he would serve through three wars — World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam. He was awarded a number of medals, including the Bronze Star for his time in Vietnam and earned the title of Sergeant Major, the highest enlisted rank one can achieve.
When asked why he spent so much time in the service his one-word answer came quick — perseverance. That characteristic developed at a young age. In his hometown of Belleville, Ill., Stoeber remembers stopping at a neighborhood butcher shop every day while on his paper route to ask for a job. Finally he was hired for $5 a week. That’s where he learned the businesses and became a butcher by trade. That’s where he would remain until enlisting in the Army.
After completing basic training, Stoeber traveled the Midwest inspecting food. He moved around, was transferred to France and Alaska, and then became a part of the 8th Medical Brigade stationed in Vietnam. Following the war he worked for the Army Veterinary Corps in Chicago where he retired in 1969.
The U.S. Army Medical Department Veterinary School issued a letter wishing him well and thanking him for his many years of service stating: “As you retire to home cooking three times a day, the cafeteria will certainly miss your everyday comments on sanitation such as dirty silverware and hair in your cottage cheese and of course the students will most assuredly miss your kindly remarks about their need for haircuts.”
Orville turned 101 in October. Besides being legally blind, he remains active and is involved in the Elks Lodge 2517 in Osage Beach. He has been a Mason and member of the Shrine Club for more than 80 years.