MARIANNA, Fla.— It’s not uncommon for those who serve in the military to consider their fellow servicemen family.
Sometimes, it’s because they are family.
Maj. Lucius Pooser served in the military, along with his four brothers.
Pooser’s father, Wankard Pooser, was a member of the Florida House of Representatives from 1945 to 1951. He had eleven children, with Lucius Pooser being the tenth child.
Lucius Pooser, 80, enlisted in the Navy at the age of 17.
“I quit high school in 11th grade and joined the Navy to see the world,” he said.
It would appear that Pooser was following in the footsteps of his three older brothers, who were already enlisted at the time.
His eldest brother, Wankard Lucius Pooser served in World War II as an artillery officer. After his service, he attended law school and practiced in New York. He served on the Florida Bar for twenty years before passing away at the age of 91.
His second oldest brother, John Pooser, served in the Navy on the USS Vicksburg. Lucius Pooser recalled a story his brother had told.
“He was on the fantail of the ship watching a movie,” he said. “They saw a Japanese Kamikaze plane headed for them. But the pilot saw another target behind them and went for it instead, so it ran into another ship. Otherwise, it would’ve killed John.”
John Pooser passed away at the age of 56.
Charles Pooser, the third eldest of the Pooser boys, enlisted in the Navy at 17, much like his younger brother. Charles served on various ships and attended the Naval Cadet Program in Pensacola.
“He was on his way to being commissioned,” Lucius Pooser said. “But he didn’t make it through the Pilot Training Program there.”
Charles Pooser went on to serve as a highway patrolman and served on the Jackson County School Board.
Lucius’ youngest brother, James, attended Rice University for one year before being appointed to the Naval Academy. He was then commissioned and began Adm. Rickover’s atomic submarine program. He then went to the Nuclear Power School for the Navy. Because of health problems, he was appointed a desk job, rather than being placed on a submarine.
According to Lucius, James got out of the Navy as soon as he could. He then attended Wharton School of Finance in Pennsylvania and began working with the Chevron Nuclear Group. He went to work in their offices in London and Japan.
James’ wife, Doris Pooser, is a famed author and entrepreneur, known for the company Color Me Beautiful.
James passed away at the young age of 46.
After his three older brothers had enlisted, Lucius took his turn.
“I read about the benefits the military had to offer and for an old country boy, that sounded pretty good,” he said. “You get free healthcare, food to eat, and clothes to wear. So I joined the military the week after I turned 17 years old and I retired at 37.”
Lucius Pooser served with the Navy for four years, from 1954 to 1958. He toured in Guam in 1958.
Following his tour with the Navy, he joined the Air Force as a staff sergeant. While in the Air Force, he went to school under Operation Bootstrap. He earned his bachelor’s in business management.
While in the military, Pooser, accompanied by his wife and three children, moved frequently.
“We moved 25 times in 20 years,” he said. “And we’ve moved 25 times since then. Our children grew up all over.”
Pooser had joined the Navy so he could see the world. He proudly states that he has done that.
“Sometimes we just wouldn’t unpack,” he said.
Among the places Pooser was stationed was Amchitka Island in Alaska. There, he served as a Defense Communication Agency Representative on the last underground nuclear test.
“It was a challenging job,” he said. “I was what they called a Range Safety Officer. And we would pull these missiles out of the holes out there and disarm them. Then we’d put a command destruct package on them and then put them in the hole in Vandenberg and then try to launch them out of Vandenberg. We could see that they’d get out of the hole if we needed them to. So that was a challenging job out there.”
Pooser’s travels undoubtedly had an impact on him and his family.
“Now, I can’t let my wife watch those Alaska specials because she wants to pack up and move back there,” he says.
Lucius Pooser says that he and his brothers strived to serve however they could.
“We’ve been in this area for years and years,” he said. “We’ve done what we can to make a difference in the civil government in our various professions that we’ve been in. And that’s about the story of the Pooser boys.”
Lucius Pooser is the last of the five brothers that is still living.
He and his family are grateful for the opportunity they’ve had through the military.
“It was the best time of our lives,” he said. “We were talking the other day how the Lord has blessed us over the years. We wouldn’t change it at all.”