Leonard Gershon


As Interviewed by Ted Gershon, March 15, 2018
"At eight o'clock at night on a Sunday... They called me over and said, 'You're going to the Russian border.'"
Leonard Gershon

Introductory Profile: About Leonard Gershon

After coming to the United States as a 20 year-old Canadian immigrant, Leonard Gershon was asked by the government if he still pursued citizenship. This was a time when citizens of the U.S. were often drafted for the Vietnam War and the only way to escape the draft was to flee the country. But Leonard Gershon had other thoughts in mind… Feeling loyal and dutiful toward his new country, he volunteered for the army and was sent to Erzurum, Turkey as an E2 specialist, meaning he wouldn’t take part in any of the fighting but he would be in charge of managing the troops there and sending back detailed reports to the military. The journey to Erzurum was a long one and Leonard Gershon spent three days riding on the Orient Express from Germany to Istanbul before boarding another train to head for Erzurum. But such circumstances didn’t bother him. In fact, he used the time spent on the train to befriend the native Turkish people and to learn how to speak Turkish. So when he arrived in Erzurum after several days of traveling, he was prepared.
After spending almost two years in Erzurum as part of the military operation TUSLOG detachment 98, in which Leonard Gershon moved up the ranks to become an E6 specialist, he was ready to go home to his wife who was caring for their first child in the U.S. But his memories of serving in the cold mountains of Erzurum would leave a lasting impression on him.