At age fifteen, Val attempted to enlist in the Marine Corps and the Navy, but was told to come back when he was eighteen.. Finally, he and a friend decided to try the army and on that day, they were processed along with the other men. They passed all the written tests and the physical exam. The next day Val and his friend was “processed” and their birth certificates and returned the next morning. Two hours later, Val and his friend were in line to receive their uniforms at Fort Sheridan, IL.
After basic training at Wichita Falls, Texas, Val attended technical training at Geiger Field, Spokane, WA and subsequently at Chanute Field, IL. He was fortunate to be assigned to the 332nd Fighter Group, aka the (Tuskegee Airmen) at Lockbourne Air Base in Columbus, OH. From January 1946 – September 1949, he was assigned as an airplane mechanic and later as an Aircraft Instrument Specialist to try the army and on that day, they were processed along with the other men. They passed all the written tests and the physical exam.