Jay Horan: Joe, let’s start at the beginning of your military career when you were at West Point and then subsequently at MIT. Could you give us a brief overview of your experiences there?

Joe Potter: Putting it all in a capsule, let’s say this. I was born in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, probably the only person you ever saw that was born in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. My family left there, and we went to Toledo, Ohio, where I went to high school. After finishing high school I went one year to the University of Toledo, from which I was appointed to the Military Academy. I went there, did my normal stint, and graduated in 1928. From 1928 I went to a company officer’s position at Fort DuPont, Delaware. Just a normal company officer’s job. From there I went to Nicaragua for three years and came back from there and went to MIT for one year. This is a normal procedure in the Corps of Engineers. Most of the officers in the Corps in those days went to a civilian university for one year to get a degree and broaden their education in a particular area. At that time that army had MIT, Rensselaer, Cornell, University of Iowa, and Berkley. You more or less had your choice of which one you went to. I elected MIT because it was the most prestigious university in the United States, perhaps the world. I graduated from there in 1933. I went at that time to the Pittsburg District where, again, I was a lowly Second Lieutenant. And I did all those jobs that laborers did to find out how you did civil works, how you controlled rivers. It was the basic education in the civil works activity of the Corps of Engineers. That was succeeded by other similar assignments. In the army, you know, it’s a continual education process.


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