“We had to grub out a living there during the depression and into the war,” Knight recalled. “And that experience, I think, helped develop a lot of character for especially those older boys who served in World War II. I was too young for that one.
“Our childhood playground, for a number of years, was the state park down here,” he said, pointing in the direction of Lake Mineral Wells State Park. “And we roamed all over those rocks, crannies and … banks of Lake Mineral Wells.”
“We drew our sustenance from that used-up land around Garner and Bethesda … and during that time, we learned how to work, thinking about better times, and we learned how to love one another.”
Knight and Campbell were the youngest of the children, but several of their older brothers took up the call to action.
“In 1940, Jack, Curtis and Roy – the three oldest [Knight brothers] – took these lessons they learned over time with them when they joined the 124th cavalry, Troop F, stationed here. That was a National Guard unit at old Camp Wolters, where the high school is,” Bill Knight said.
“They were strong enough, tough enough and smart enough to become leaders. In the end, on that hill in the Burma Road, in early 1945, Jack with Curtis and a number of warriors from around Mineral Wells did their job in an exceptionally successful way,” he added.
He shared how learning how to love became important to his eldest brothers.
The locally trained cavalrymen left their horses in Kansas and combined with infantry forces to make the 5332nd Brigade, called the Mars Task Force, Knight said. He added that they trained as commandos in India, whose mission was to march 400 miles in the mountains and jungle in northern Burma to open the Burma Road from Japanese control.