Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Veteran James Michael McAteer, who served as a clerk and a finance specialist during the Vietnam War.
James Michael McAteer was born on Sep. 22, 1948, in Brooklyn, New York. After graduating high school, he was accepted into college and attended his first year before being drafted into the United States Army. McAteer was sworn in on July 6, 1970. He attended basic training at Fort Knox, Kentucky. After completing basic training, he was shipped to Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana, where he attended training to become a clerk.
In September 1971, McAteer received orders for Vietnam. He entered the country through Cam Ranh Bay, and then had an overnight stop at Bien Hoa in transit to Long Binh. But the enlisted club at Bien Hoa had recently lost its finance specialist for medical reasons. The Army changed McAteer’s orders, and he was assigned as the finance specialist for Bien Hoa. He remained in this position until the base was closed. McAteer was responsible for delivering cash payments to soldiers in the field, maintaining club finances, and other financial duties assigned by the commander. He performed his duties as best as he could since he had little training in finance. When Bien Hoa was closed, McAteer then received orders for Saigon, where he was attached to the leading finance company, which was responsible for all financial activities in the Saigon area. With just six months remaining in his tour of duty, McAteer received orders for Okinawa, where he completed his obligation. His final set of orders took him to San Francisco, where he was discharged on Jan. 15, 1972.
McAteer used the G.I. Bill to earn a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s in public administration at Shippensburg University. He returned to Shippensburg University to acquire a master’s in counseling and eventually retired in Pennsylvania. He is a member of the American Legion, past national president of the Sons of the Veterans of the Spanish American War, and a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
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Veterans History Project
This #VeteranOfTheDay profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from Veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at http://www.loc.gov/vets/.
Writer: George Hargrove
Editors: Alexandra Kaiser, Brooke Wolfenbarger
Researchers: George Hargrove
Graphic artist: Yasmine Pierce