Schilling Manor

One of the great things about the military is that where ever you are assigned, there is a good chance that you will run into friends you have served with before and, also, you are guaranteed to meet new friends.  In the late Sixties, I was wrapping up three years in Germany and knew I would be going to school for a year. and then on to Vietnam.  The school was in Chicago and we decided we would live in Evanston, but Carole had to decide where she and the kids would live while I was in Vietnam.  She selected Schilling Manor.

Schilling Air Force Base in Salina, Kansas ceased operations in 1965.  There were over 700 family housing units and I believe it was about the same time that the 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley, Kansas was getting ready to deploy to Vietnam.  If my facts are straight, many of the wives from Fort Riley moved 50 miles west and opened up Schilling Manor.  It became a waiting wives home.

Schilling Manor turned out to be an excellent choice.  Three years in Germany reading the Stars and Stripes Newspaper hadn’t prepared us for what we found in Chicago in 1969.  The Chicago Seven trial was in progress and there was a lot of ill feelings toward the military.  They (student & faculty) shut down Northwestern when the Army went into Cambodia.  Carole found a great group of like-minded wives at Schilling (Also, Salina is a little different from Chicago).

Schilling Manor was attached to Fort Riley for support and before you knew it, there was a commisary, PX and medical and dental support.  By the time Carole and the kids arrived in 1970, it had been running smoothly for a number of years.  They had figured out security for this large housing area void of husbands.  Each house had four or five outside lights and they were required to be turned on every night.  It looked like 10 o’clock in the morning.  Couple that with a civilian security force driving around and there weren’t many problems.  If a car showed up in the housing area with a Fort Riley decal, it was quickly checked out.  It the GIs were up to no good, their commander knew about it the next morning.

After completing my tour, I had about a month before I had to report to my next assignment.  This gave me a chance to meet some of Carole’s close friends.  One we will never forget was an Air Force wife named Ruth.  Ruth was going to join us on a shopping trip to Fort Riley.  We also planned on picking up some booze at the Class VI store.

At that time many of the Class VI stores were run by either the Officers Club or the NCO Club.  The Fort Riley Class VI store was operated by the O-Club.  Ruth kept insisting that she believed you had to be a member of the O-Club to buy liquor at the Class VI.  Each time Ruth mentioned that, I would tell her that they were not going to keep an officer, in transit (between assignment), returning from Vietnam from purchasing liquor.  She felt very uncomfortable about going to the Class VI.  This was a big Class VI where everyone used a shopping cart.  I told her that when it was time to check out, she could get right behind me and just do what I did.

When we were done shopping, we headed for the check out line.  It was a long counter with three cash registers spaced along the counter.  Only the last register was in operation, so we stood in line waiting our turn (Ruth close behind me).  Ruth was extremely nervous.  I was the next customer.  Just then a man came out of the office and went to the second cash register right in front of Ruth.  He looked at her and said, “Will it be cash or charge?”  Ruth immediately responded, “I’m not a member.”  I was so startled that it took me a minute to respond.  I said, “Cash” to an obviously confused clerk, who then, checked her out.

As soon as we got outside, I looked a Ruth and said, “I’m not a member?”  Ruth smiled and said, “Well, I’m not.”  You can see why we will never forget Ruth, nor the many other experiences at Schilling Manor.


27 thoughts on “Schilling Manor”

  1. Nice article. I lived at Schilling 12/70-12/71 when my dad was in Vietnam. It impacted me so much I wrote a book about it 30 years later. Check it out – Waiting Wives: The Story of Schilling Manor, Homefront to the Vietnam War. Donna Moreau

  2. I love this story of Ruth. She was scrupulously honest, wasn’t she . . . She’s the sort of person you would want as your club treasurer (or company treasurer, for that matter).
    I also liked the description of Schilling Manor. Life in the military was not mainstream in the late 60s, but there sure were a lot of us grinding it out there.
    Nice essay!

  3. Go to They lay it all out for you and they have 24/7 technical assistance. That’s what I did and it worked. They are also very inexpensive!

  4. I lived there twice (on Austin and on Colorado) beginning in 1967…living in one of the old Air Force Barracks now… “Airport Apartments”. I bought and read Donna’s book(I highly recommend it!) which brought back a lot of memories even though I was only 7…I remember the Theater (which burned down years ago) the pool, commissary, and going to the dispensary (now used by the Vo-tech for health trades)….
    Of course, I was a “army brat” for most of my life, but I spent my military daze at OSUT in Ft.Knox, KY and then my tour in Bindlach, FRG (Germany) 1st Squadron/2d ACR…Hup, Hup Cavalry Ho! If you ain’t Cav…you ain’t Shi-hit…

  5. We lived in the fourth to the last house on Alabama Avenue from September 1969 through November 1970. Anyone else from that time?

    1. We lived on North Alabama from Oct 68- Oct 69. Unique and huge culture shock coming from Munich Germany in 68′,
      Great experience to live in this community while EVERY ones father was in Vietnam. Some what insulated from the social upheaval that was taking place in the country at the time. Seemed only the ones with fathers in Vietnam cared much about the outcome and trying to win an unpopular war.

  6. I lived a Schilling Manor from March 1966 to Oct 1966. My Dad was in Viet Nam and was killed there. I remember that place quite well. Does anyone have a copy of an article that appeared in a magazine called the Empire that was put out on the post during that time. My mother and us kids were in that article. The name of the article is “The Waiting Wives of Kansas” by Arthur Whitman. I have part of the article and I am looking for the rest of it. I am not having much luck finding out anything about this on the internet. Can someone please help me with this?

    Thanks a million.
    Mary Lynch-Clay

  7. I lived in Shilling Manor while my dad was in Vietnam with my Mom, brother and sister. My mom’s name was Ruth Iliff. I was wondering if she might be the Ruth in the article? She has passed away but it sounds like her. She was a strong woman who I admired and was my role model.

  8. Cindy,
    Sorry, but it was not your mother. Ruth was the wife of an Air Force Lt. Col and I believe a nurse. This was in May of 1971. PJ

  9. Thanks for replying. I remember our year and how much fun I had as a kid with scouts, sports, playing outside, etc. I also remember that my Mom and her friends would load us all up and we would take sandwiches and lounge chairs and go sit outside the fence at the little airport and watch the soldiers come home to their families. It was a happy day the night we got to welcome my Dad as he got off the plane. I was so oblivious to the worries and bravery of both of my parents during that year. They were my heroes!

  10. I was a Medic and x-ray at the Schilling clinic from nov 1966 to august 1967, before being shipped out to Vietnam. I remember coaching 3 baseball teams at one time in the Salina optimist club league. Don Slavens,Desi Medina are some of the great kids dealing with their dads being gone. Still have the league Trophy softball signed and given to me after the season.Didn’t sleep much as their were just too few support people at that time. Anyone that was there in that time frame would be fun to hear from you. Salina was a great city for kids in those days.

  11. Bill, I was a dental spec. Assigned directly from Riley about May 1966 to support the one dentist there. In time we added another dentist and dental spec. We both pulled CQ about every 7 days as we had 3 medics, a pharmacist and the 2 of us 91E’s. We had 2 NCO’s that we reported to and a Dr. Captain that was in charge at the dispensary. Additionally, there was a colonel that was the commander. I was ETS mid December 1967 and I don’t remember anyone going to Nam from there. Who were you??
    Sorry for poor memory. Rick

    1. My husband was assigned from Riley to Schilling Manor as a Dental spec from 1966 until Dec 1967. He also coached children’s baseball. I enjoyed our time there. His name was Joe Johnson and has since passed away.

  12. I lived at Schilling Manor three different times when my dad was stationed in Viet Nam and did two tours of duty in Korea in the 70s. I lived on Arkansas and Hartford Streets on the school side and on Georgia Ave on the opposite of Schilling Road all the way at the end facing a court and then wheat fields. I loved that place and it still affects my life after all these years. The post closed and we had to move off into Salina when my parents decided to divorce. My mom is French and we had no family to move to so we stayed in Salina. My two sisters still live there. I’d love to hear from anyone with similar stories from Schilling Manor.

  13. I lived at Schilling Manor with my 2 preschool daughters from Oct 1973 – Aug 1974 at 165 Arkansas. I worked for the Saline County Sheriff’s Office as the school crossing guard and for Hertz renting cars down at the little airport. We were an Air Force family then but my closest friends were Army wives. Can anyone help me find Myrna Koch or Nancy Woods? My name was Sharon Mumper then. Ironically, my name is Sharon Schilling now.

    1. My husband Joe Johnson was assigned from Riley to Schilling Manor from 1966 until Dec 1967 as a Dental Spec. He also coached children’s baseball. I enjoyed our time there. Especially the pool.

  14. Hi Patricia, so sorry to hear of Joes passing. He and I worked with our 2 doctors there as you know. We kept each other going as we were draftees but we’re grateful that we weren’t up at Riley with the 9th division! Best wishes to you, Rick Hoopes

  15. I appreciate, lead to I discovered just what I was having a look for. You’ve ended my 4 day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a nice day. Bye

  16. Does anyone remember the Persky or Galt families from about the 1965-66 yrs. at Schilling A.F.B. ? Bruce Persky and Dennis Galt were in my grade school. class at Sacred Heart Grade Schoollocated at 9th and Iron Street. Our teachers were Sr. John Bosco, Sr. Rosaline, Sr. Paula, and Sr. Marian, CSJ. from Concordia,KS. We took music lessons from Sr. Rosalita and Ms. Boyce.

  17. I lived on Schilling Manor from July ’74 to August ’75. My husband was on the DMZ of Korea during that time. Our address was 129 _________ – I cannot remember the street, just the number. I loved living there. I got to know so many terrific Waiting Wives who were thrifty, independent and wise. I also got to know some ministers who lived in Salina and “Betty” who managed a lovely dress shop.

Comments are closed.