Hank Alford

Hank Alford

Birthdate: 1927

Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York

College: Cornell University

Drafted or Enlisted: Drafted

Area of Service: Army

During the War: Hank Alford was drafted into the army during his second semester of college at Cornell University in 1945. He began basic training under the assumption that he was going to participate in the invasion of Japan, since his training included learning the language and how to fire Japanese weapons. During this time, Hank was offered the position of an officer, which he accepted. Two months into Officer Candidates School, “Harry dropped the two bombs” and Hank’s assumed direction radically changed. Instead of deploying to the Pacific Theatre like he originally thought, he was sent to Europe, where he experienced a ravaged Germany post war. After his service, Hank Alford continued his education at Cornell. Colleges after the war Hank remembers, were “jammed with GIs”, because everyone wanted an education under the GI Bill. Hank’s use of the Bill is interesting because he saw the rapid effects of the Bill as a college student in both pre-war and post-war America. While he had the ability to attend college regardless of the Bill, he is a witness to the immense change in college attendance after the war. Hank Alford both used the Bill and was audience to its effects in changing how people thought about and participated in higher education.