In order to pursue a future baseball career, J. C. Shubert enlisted in the U. S. Army in 1948 to get his service obligation out of the way.
“I was ready to go into professional baseball, but none of the teams wanted to talk to me because of my potential military obligation,” said Shubert.
The draft was still in effect in 1948 and most physically qualified young men were called for two years of service.
Shubert was trained for the medical corps and was sent to Korea as a corpsman when the Korean War broke out.
“I was stationed in Japan,” said Shubert. “When the decision was made to sent U. S. troops to help the South Korean army, I went in as a corpsman with the 1st Cavalry.”
Transferred back to the U.S. after a one year tour in Korea, Shubert was discharged shortly thereafter. However, his hope for a baseball career was cut short within 90 days when he was recalled to active duty in the Army.
“There was a severe shortage of corpsman as the war continued and I was recalled about 90 days after being discharged,” he said. “The total military obligation at that time was 10 years and you were subject to being recalled to active duty, if needed.”
He spent another one year tour in Korea before being transferred back to the U. S. to be trained as a crew chief for Medevac helicopters.
“I spent a total of another four years on active duty,” said Shubert. “By that time, I was 27, too old to start a career in professional baseball so I decided to stay in the Army for a career.”
The decision worked out well for Shubert in another fashion. While stationed in Germany, he met and married his wife of 53 years, Sylvia
“She’s a Swiss girl,” he said. “I first met her while on leave in Switzerland to see the soccer championships and we later got married in Germany.”
Shubert was nearing the end of his career when the Vietnam War was in full swing.
Although he was never assigned in country, he made Medevac trips to the country to bring out wounded soldiers.
He retired in 1968 as a first sergeant, returned to his native Greenville, S.C. to start a new career.
“I used the GI Bill to go to school to learn cabinet making,” Shubert said.
For the next 24 years, Shubert built custom cabinets for kitchens, clocks and other uses.
“I really enjoyed the work,” he said. “Everything I did was custom ordered.”
In 1992, Shubert retired for good and moved to Calabash, NC to be close to the beach.
“My wife loves the water and being near the beach,” he said.
Eight years ago, Shubert started having trouble with his esophagus. He has taken all his food through a tube for the past eight years.
“My esophagus is gone and I can’t swallow,” he said. “It’s not pleasant having to take all your food through a tube, but I’ve been lucky. I had two minor wounds in Korea, but I saw a lot of guys who were not so lucky.”