The hands of Louis Buentello of San Antonio, Tex., are big and knotty. For many months during the war they held a rifle until he was riddled by a German burp gun near St. Lo, France. He nearly died from his wounds.
When he was discharged, he decided to enter the Cranford School of Watchmaking in San Antonio to learn watch repairing under Public Law 16, which provides training for disabled veterans. "At first my hands were awfully big compared to those little watch parts," he said.
Before long, he felt at home with watch parts. He is scheduled to graduate within a month and plans to open his own watch repair shop.
Thomas S. Pennington was a Texas state patrolman before he joined the Navy. He saw 20 months of action in the Pacific before he was given a medical discharge' in April, 1945.
His disability prevented him from rejoining the police force, so he came to S,an Antonio and joined the Cranford School. He, too, hopes to enter the watch repair business when he graduates, One veteran who finished the course in January went to Albuquerque, N. M., where he took a position in a jewelry store. "I have averaged $250 to $350 a week since I started to work," he wrote.
Albert DeShaw was a B-17 pilot. He was shot down by German fighters over Leipzig and interned in a prison camp for ten months before he was freed by the Russians. He was discharged from the AAF for disability.
He says, "After I finish this course, I'm going to study jewelry repair. I hope to make the most of this opportunity." Nearly 200 World War II veterans, half of them disabled, are learning watchmaking and repairing at the Cranford College of Watchmaking, The school has been approved by Veterans Administration to offer training to able bodied veterans under the G. 1. Bill, and to disabled veterans under Public Law 16.
Students usually require a year to complete the course, Jewelry repair instruction takes eight months and engraving stretches over four months.