November is the month of Veterans Day and the birth month of the American Legion. So it seems appropriate that Thanksgiving follows because we have so much to thank our veterans for — so we CAN observe Thanksgiving.

Periodically, I like to focus on an individual from my hometown whose life has been one of service to our country. This community, Cardington, has had three young men nominated to military academies. I want to focus on Kent Curl, a 1948 Cardington High School graduate, who was nominated to the U.S. Naval Academy in 1949, the year following his graduation from Cardington High School.

It was during his first year at Otterbein University that he was nominated by Congressman Frederick C Smith, of Marion.

I was an underclass student at Cardington, but I remember Kent as being the all-around American boy, active in baseball, basketball and when Cardington resumed a football program in 1947, he was part of that team.

He was musically talented and shared that talent as a drummer with the high school band and with his class’ swing band. As his class Salutatorian, instead of speaking he displayed his virtuosity as a pianist, playing an excerpt from Beethoven’s Sonata Pathetique.

His academic achievements were numerous and always at the top.

Kent graduated with distinction from the Naval Academy in 1953, standing at 20 out of 925. During the next 21 years he attended U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, the University of Michigan where he earned an MA in Pure Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics, and U.S. Naval War College in Newport, RI. His Naval sea duties included two Heavy Cruisers; two Destroyers, and two nuclear ballistic missile submarines.

He qualified for the command of destroyers and submarines. His Naval shore duties included instructor of Mathematics, US Naval Academy, U.S. Navy Submarine School, Nuclear Power School and Submarine Nuclear Reactor Prototype. He was a Nuclear Weapons Release Codeword Action Officer on the staff of Commander in Chief, Allied Forces Southern Europe and Mediterranean Headquartered in Naples, Italy.

Kent retired as Commander USN on May 31, 1974, with 21 years of Naval Service and authorized to wear the Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, the China Service Medal and Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon.

Then he worked 14 years in civilian life as Principal Engineer with GE Nuclear Energy building, repairing and operating commercial power generating facilities in seven states including Ohio. He retired from GE in 1994. He and his wife were employed for the next ten years with Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, California.

Today, Kent lives in southern California not far from his three sons and their families. His wife, Shirley, is deceased.

Kent remains active in the music world, singing in his church choir and is a member of the Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America.

Cardington and Morrow County can be proud of Kent and his devotion and contributions to the betterment of this country.

70 years ago: The 14-acre wood lot on the Don A Cotner farm, two miles northeast of Cardington, was dedicated as “Tree Farm No. 83” in Ohio by the Ohio Forestry Association. Forty acres owned by Lloyd Ruehrmund were placed under state forestry protection in 1909.

By Evelyn Long

Contributing Columnist

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