Former POW proved he had stomach for Army
TULSA Cletys Nordin turned 18 in the midst of World War II and registered for the draft. He wanted to join the war like every other guy he knew, but they wouldn't take him then.
"They said I had a bad stomach, and I couldn't survive on Army food," Nordin said. "I was kind of a real skinny kid."
In 1948, a year into the Cold War with Soviet operations escalating in the Korean Peninsula, they changed their mind.
Nordin's military career took him to Texas, Arkansas, California and then, finally, the Korean War. There, he remembers facing near-constant firefights, the last of which landed him in a Chinese POW camp. He spent 966 days in the camp, living in a small shack, subsisting on boiled millet and surviving sub-zero temperatures. All the while, he was running secret counterintelligence missions against Chinese attempts to indoctrinate prisoners with communist philosophies.
It seems he had the stomach for the Army after all.
Muskogee farm boy turns G.I.
Nordin grew up on a farm in Muskogee. His dad was an alcoholic, riddled with crippling arthritis. Nordin had to leave school early to help on the farm. He left for good in ninth grade.