• Veteran Salute: Rolland 'Buck' Emmert

  • Rolland "Buck" Emmert

    WWII- Navy, 1945-1946

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  • Rolland "Buck" Emmert
    WWII- Navy, 1945-1946
    Rolland, better known as ‘Buck’, grew up in Independence, Mo., and remembers many hard times and many good times. Buck remembers that one of his tasks as a child during the Depression was to assist with assembling Christmas baskets made for those in the neighborhood who had no means to give gifts to their children. He was 8 years old at the time. He also spent time delivering milk to those needy families.
    One of Buck’s great loves was playing baseball. One of his neighbors bought a piece of property behind Mt. Washington Cemetery and turned it into a baseball field for the local kids. Buck played baseball for four semi-pro teams and was the bat boy for the Ace of Clubs ball team.
    Buck took welding at Manual High School, and those skills carried him through his whole life. Buck worked as a welder nights during high school.
    In 1945 Buck enlisted in the Navy. His family was very proud that he joined the service. Buck felt that it was his duty to serve his country. Buck went through boot camp in San Diego and went through vocational technical school to learn firefighting and repair skills. He was first assigned to the South Dakota Battleship and was assigned to damage control. The South Dakota had more armament than any ship in the Navy at that time. Buck was a Ship Fitter 3rd Class.
    Buck was in charge of the pump room and damage control on the ship. Those duties entailed being on call constantly. His duties were to be in control of the quick flooding voids on the ship to stabilize the it in case it was ever hit. He also stood fire watch while helping to load and unload ammunition.
    Buck knew he would get back into welding after he got out of the service. He spent time with various companies where he continued to hone his skills. A few of the companies that he worked for were Copeland Refrigeration, Bendix, Ford Motor Co., and Westinghouse. One of the projects Buck remembers working on was the cafeteria at Crown Center.
    Buck worked on schools and prisons and showed others how to do precision welding that saved the companies he worked for millions of dollars.
    At one company, Buck worked as the welding engineer. He built missile cases for Hughes Aircraft and parts for the B-52, and worked on other several other similar contracts. The aircraft section of the company was being phased out. Buck had a family and decided not to make a job transfer. Instead, he decided to open his own shop. Buck was able to acquire contracts with various companies that built aerospace parts. He had a lot of competition from other companies who also wanted those contracts. To stay competitive, he put a lab in his shop to do testing, radiography and magnetic particle tension to name some of the specialized work he performed.  
    Page 2 of 2 - Buck retired in 1993 and his son now owns the company, Emmert Welding and Manufacturing. Buck used to spend a lot of his new found time doing competitive shooting with the Pioneer Gun Club. He enjoyed shooting in national matches and even hosted some matches. Buck now enjoys playing guitar and singing. He is a self taught guitar player and enjoys playing at music jams at various senior centers throughout the community. He also plays at the Eagles Club and the coffee shop on the square.
    Buck learned a lot from his time in the military and believes it is good for everyone to be in the service.
    Peggy Sowders, a city of Independence staff member, compiles  stories from veterans from around the area at the Truman Memorial Building. Contact her at psowders@indep.mo or 816-325-7979 if you are interested in helping a veteran tell his or her story.