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Preserving stories thru Veterans History Project

Posted at 4:57 PM, Jan 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-18 17:04:23-05

INDIANAPOLIS -- The mission of the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress is to preserve first-hand accounts of members of the U.S. military.

Colonel James Leonard's story is the next to be included.  The Indianapolis man spent 20 years with the U.S. Army.

Leonard grew up in a family of eleven.  He entered ROTC at the University of North Florida in 1976 as a way to help pay for college.

"Even with my initial assignment, it was, am I going to do this for three years, kind of satisfy my obligation, and see where we go from there," said Leonard.

Leonard received his first promotion during his senior year of college.

He spent the bulk of his time in the Army as a finance officer, handling payroll, supplies and equipment in Germany and at the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea.

Then, he was given top secret clearance supporting NSA operations.

"My job was to disguise where the money was. My job was to make sure nobody knew what we were doing or where we were, before we did it. We didn't care if you knew when we came back. We didn't want you to know before," said Leonard.

Leonard was also appointed as a resource manager to help close out Fort Harrison.

And he helped to implement Eagle Cash in 2002 -- stored value cards for use during deployments.

Leonard received numerous awards and recognition before retiring from the Army.

"I wouldn't exchange it for nothing. It's not about the money. It's about everything you can look back on and say I contributed to," said Leonard.

Click here to find out how you or a loved on can be included in the Veterans History Project of the Library of Congress.

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