MOUNT VERNON — It was a chance meeting of old soldiers at the funeral of another military veteran.
George Ellis of Mount Vernon was wearing his uniform with a 37th Infantry Division shoulder patch. Ellis saw another man with the same patch. In the course of their conversation, they discovered they served together at Fort Hayes in Columbus in 1962.
Ellis was in Officers Candidate School and Capt. Herbert Cagnon was an instructor at the school. With OCS completed, Ellis served eight years in the Ohio National Guard before going on to law school and a law career. Cagnon continued to serve in a variety of administrative posts in the Ohio National Guard, rising to the rank of brigadier general. Now retired, he lives in Worthington.
The Ohio Motorpool Inc. is an organization that collects and restores old military vehicles of which Ellis, his brother, John Ellis, and Henry Underwood are members. They meet each month at a different location.
With Saturday’s meeting being in Mount Vernon, Ellis invited his former instructor to a reunion to talk over old times. A fitting end to the day was a tour with their Jeeps and trucks in an off-road excursion around southwest Mount Vernon. It included fording the Kokosing River and climbing steep banks to demonstrate the capabilities of 60-plus-year-old military vehicles.