Roy Fulps, U.S. Army, Canton, Texas
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Roy Fulps was born November 22nd, 1952, in Dallas, Texas. He had two brothers and two sisters. “My dad’s name was Frank, and my mom’s name was Jessie,” said Roy as I visited him at the Canton Retirement home where he lives with his wife. “My dad was in the monument business, he was the 2nd and I was the 3rd generation to own the business.”
The first Fulps monument company was located by the Linda Kay Drive-In on 175 in Dallas. His uncle joined the Marines when he was 16 years old and he went to Korea and when he got back he and his dad went into the monument business. “When I grew up I worked there too, it was a family affair,” recalled Roy. “When I was a young boy I went with them when they set up monuments with my dad, my uncle and my grandpa. Out of the three boys I was the only one who took any interest in the business. My daddy died when he was 53 years old. When he passed away he left the business to my uncle. I did a little bit of wheat farming up in Oklahoma, and some concrete work for about two years. My uncle asked me to come down and help him in the monument business and I did,” said Roy.
Roy went to Eastvilie Junior College for about two years. He wanted to be a football or baseball coach. He took history as a major because you had to be a history teacher to be a coach.
“I joined the Army Reserves in November 1972 and got out in 1989. It was easy work for me so I kept re-enlisting every six years. About five months after I joined the Army I got my draft notice which is unusual because most people get their draft notice then join the military. I got married in June of 1973 and had to go to basic training in August. I went to basic at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri,” recalled Roy.
Fort Leonard Wood is a U.S. Army training installation located in the Missouri Ozarks. The main gate is located on the southern boundary of St. Robert. The post was created in December 1940 and named in honor of General Leonard Wood (former Chief of Staff) in January 1941. Originally intended to train infantry troops, in 1941 it became an engineer training post with the creation of the Engineer Replacement Training Center. During World War II Italian and German POWs were interned at the fort. In 1984, as part of the Base Realignment and Closure process, most of the U.S. Army Engineer School’s operations were consolidated at Fort Leonard Wood.
“My MOS in the Army was 91 ECHO, which was Dental Assistant,” said Roy.
Everyone needs proper dental care. Army Soldiers aren’t any different. Fortunately, dental care is one of the health services provided to Army personnel all over the world. Dental Specialists are essential members of the Army dental care team. They assist Army dentists in the examination and treatment of patients, as well as help manage dental offices.
The Dental Specialist is primarily responsible for assisting Army dentists in the examination and treatment of patients, while also helping to manage dental offices. (Source:armystudyguide.com)
“I also have 63 BRAVO for motor pool generator mechanic and I was also a Drill Sergeant during my long career in the Army,” said Roy.
The success of Army missions depends on keeping automotive and heavy equipment in top working condition. As an integral member of the Mechanical Maintenance team, the Light-Wheel Vehicle Mechanic handles the maintenance and repair of vehicles such as jeeps, cars and trucks.
The Light-Wheel Vehicle Mechanic is primarily responsible for supervising and performing maintenance and recovery operations on light-wheeled vehicles and associated items, as well as heavy-wheeled vehicles. (Source: armystudyguide.com)
“I even had a cooking MOS and a 35 G2 which was working on medical and x-ray equipment,” said Roy.
“I came home after the military and tried to get a job at the VA but they told me they couldn’t hire me because I didn’t have the experience. I am serious, I don’t understand it,” laughed Roy.
“We were a dental until set up like a MASH Hospital. At North Fort Hood out in the field we would set up the tents and all the medical equipment. They would medivac people from the main post down to where we were. I was a dental assistant so I did all the required dental work. I was in charge of the unit so I didn’t do a lot, but I could if I were asked. My job was to run the MASH Hospital. I even had a top-secret clearance, which not even my Colonel had. We were only at Fort Hood for a few weeks but we did this same setup all over the United States. I was under a 94 General Hospital and I did this the entire time I was in the Army Reserve. AO7th Medical Brigade was above us and we worked under their command. We had medical and dental just like you would have seen on the TV show MASH. We served the major hospitals in the area where the Vietnam wounded were sent. The larger hospitals would Medivac the wounded to where we were set up in the field if they were overloaded with patients. Since I was 35G I not only supervised the MASH unit but if a piece of equipment went down in the unit I worked on it. I spent 23 weeks at Aurora, Colorado to learn to work on the medical equipment.”
Fitzsimons Army Medical Center(FAMC) from 1974 — was a U.S. Army facility located on 577 acres in Aurora, Colorado, USA. The facility opened in 1918 and closed in 1999; the grounds are currently being redeveloped for civilian use as the Anschutz Medical Campus and the Fitzsimons Innovation Community.
The facility was founded by the United States Army during World War I arising from the need to treat the large number of casualties from chemical weapons in Europe. Denver’s reputation as a prime location for the treatment of tuberculosis led local citizens to lobby the Army on behalf of Denver as the site for the new hospital. Army Hospital 21, as it was first called, was formally dedicated in the autumn of 1918 in Aurora, which at the time had a population of less than 1,000. In July 1920, the facility was formally renamed the Fitzsimons Army Hospital after Lt. William T. Fitzsimons, the first American medical officer killed in World War I. A new main building, known as Building 500, was built in 1941. At the time, it was the largest structure in Colorado.
The facility was used heavily during World War II to treat returning casualties and became one of the Army’s premier medical training centers.
“I guess when I told them I was in the monument business and I worked with my hands all the time, they just decided I could work on medical equipment. I did very well in all the technical schools I attended. I went to San Antonio for Dental Assistant School. I really liked what I was doing and is why I kept re-enlisting each time. I was doing what I wanted to do,” said Roy.
“With my 63 BRAVO MOS I could work on all the motor pool vehicles,” recalled Roy remembering all his numerous designations in the Army.
“If they had a generator break down I would fix it. I was a mechanic when I was a kid, and it helped a lot when I got in the Army. If a motor pool vehicle broke down and we didn’t have a part in stock I would go out to a scavenger auto parts place and I would pull a starter or an alternator, bring it back and fix it.”
CARS AND DRAG RACING GROWING UP
“Growing up I had a 1967 Ford pickup that had a 352 bored out 60 over, a 3-speed on the column. I would make anywhere from $500. to a thousand dollars a week at the dragstrip. I also had a 57 Chevrolet, a 54 Chevrolet Belaire, and a 57 Ford. I bought them all. My daddy didn’t buy them. If they broke down I had to fix em. My daddy ran the cemetery business but he was also a mechanic and that is where I learned how to work on cars. All my friends in the neighborhood near 175 in south Dallas would race up and down the highway and keep all our vehicles running,” Roy said.
“My truck, the 67 Ford pickup was my favorite vehicle growing up. I put a lot of money into it, but I made a lot of money with it too,” recalled a smiling Roy.
“I paid $50. for the 54 Chevy and that was my most dependable car. It had a flathead-6 under the hood.
I stopped all this when I became a daddy myself and the kids started coming along.”
“I spent 17 years in the military and people ask me why I didn’t go ahead and get my 20 in. I wanted to stay in but my MOS was only for a certain rank. I was an E-7 and the military was bringing some younger kids in, they could get two for the price of one. They could bring in two spec-4s in and do what I was doing. They kind of weeded me out. I loved the military and I would have stayed longer, but I wasn’t happy anymore. I wasn’t excited about the way they were running their unit either. The 807th Medical Brigade is so big, they have units all over the world.
There was an E-8 named Ted Holton who I worked with in the military. He was like a daddy figure for me. He was about the same age as my daddy. He is 89 today and I still visit with him. He lived near me growing up. He was the best friend I ever had. Me and him and three others could set up a medium MASH unit tent as an advanced party in less than a week with all the equipment. Our 2nd week we would sit around and drink beer and really enjoy each other’s company, waiting for the rest to arrive. But we did our job.
I learned respect for people over me and under my command. I learned to speak up and take care of other people,” he said.
“In 1999 I bought the Fulps Cemetery Business and owned it until 2004 when I had to file for bankruptcy and sold the company. After that I had a 30-foot gooseneck I pulled behind my dooly truck and worked for a company called Finch Deliveries. I hauled plumbing supplies and just about anything that would fill my 30-foot gooseneck. I went all over the state of Texas. I hauled the big fiber optic reels, pvc pipe and other full loads. I hauled under 26,000 pounds and was not required to have a CDL license. I did that for 10 years,” according to Roy.
“In 2014 me and my wife both had strokes. I was in the VA Hospital with a stroke and she was visiting me and she had a stroke. I didn’t like the facility she was in so I decided to have her live in the retirement home and decided to spend the rest of my life with her in the same room. We have been married since June of 1973, that is 46 years. She took care of us and me when I was younger so now I am going to take care of her,” Roy’s eyes started welling up and the tears slowly fell down his cheeks.
“I would love to get back into the monument business. That would be top of my bucket list. I drive by my old cemetery business every day. It is in my blood. Thirty days after my Aunt got the business she lost it. I had no control over the situation. I sold my home, the business and wanted to just take care of my wife. I have five kids and they help us when they can,” as Roy paused.
“We had sixty kids come thru our home as a foster family. I have a lot to live for. I remember making monuments for veterans who died at Pearl Harbor. I felt like I was there on the U.S.S. Arizona talking with others who lost family members.”
Roy Fulps, thank you for your 17 years of military service to our country.
GOD BLESS OUR MILITARY AND GOD BLESS AMERICA
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