War Brought Us Together

The Texas Story Project.

Barbara and Jerome met when they were teens in church and as time went on their love for each other blossomed and grew. When Barbara was 16 and Jerome 18, they decided they would give dating a try. They experienced several breakups but they would pick up again shortly after. The Vietnam War broke out and the United States started drafting males fit for combat.

Upon his graduation, Jerome was selected to serve in the 63rd Engineering Battalion Charlie Company in 1968. At this time Jerome had been apprenticing to be an electrician and thus he was selected for a support unit rather than a combat unit. When Jerome got his notice for from selective service, he and Barbara decided to break up. After several months of not contacting each other, they reunited. The kicker though was during the time neither had contacted the other, Barbara was sending letters to James Corliss, Jerome`s elder brother who was stationed in Germany. James would then forward the letters to Jerome so he could see she still cared and several months after this cycle began Jerome wrote a letter to Barbara.  In it, he stated, “if you give me another chance, I will never make you cry again.” Barbara told me she did not think that he knew what he was promising. 

A short while after this letter was received by Barbara and she graduated high school, they decided to get married. The day of their marriage, in 1968, was a very happy one for the both of them, that is until a fellow soldier in Jerome`s unit told him the Sergeant wanted to speak to him upon his return to the base. Both Barbara and Jerome feared he would be crossing the Atlantic to join the fight across the seas. When he returned, he was informed of a promotion in rank and that he would not be crossing the Atlantic, at least not while he was serving with the United States Army.

During his service Jerome partook in a funeral detail, several different service projects for the community around Fort Hood Texas, and riot training on Fort Hoods grounds. During his service he wished he had not been drafted and he always said, “The Hemisfair [built in honor of San Antonio`s 200th anniversary] would have provided me a lot of overtime. When I came back from Fort Hood, everyone had new trucks, boats and wives.” Jerome and Barbara were married for about 3 years before they had their first kid, a boy they named Jerry and a few years later their second child, Bryan, was born. Jerome and Barbara raised their children in San Antonio and Jerome went to work in the private sector and they raised their children in Texas, mainly San Antonio and Corpus Christi. 

Blake Corliss is a history major studying pre-law and working 2 part time jobs. He would like to thank Lt. Colonel Spracale, Barbara Corliss, and his parents Elisha and Bryan Corliss. Blake wishes to pursue a JD so he can effect change in the Department of Veterans Affairs to better enhance military medical capabilities and improve the quality of treatment our veterans receive.

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