Clyde L. Conrad, the former soldier arrested in West Germany on suspicion of espionage, grew up as a shy but well-liked youth in Sebring, Ohio, according to former high school classmates.
"He was shy, but when you would compliment him he would give you this sly smile that would catch your attention," said Joe Igro, who was on the track team with Conrad at McKinley High School, the northeast Ohio school where Conrad graduated in 1965.Igro said Conrad flew home from Germany for their 1985 class reunion but "there was just small talk, about old days in school, not about what he was doing now."
Clinton Robert Waugaman, 41, who went through school with Conrad and was the track team's manager during their senior year, said Conrad kept to himself.
"As far as I know, he pretty much stayed home," Waugaman said. "I don't even recall him ever dating much. He didn't associate with that many people."
Conrad enlisted in the Army on Aug. 9, 1965, and during his 20 years of active-duty service, worked as an infantryman and then as an "administration specialist" before retiring with an honorable discharge in September 1985 while serving with the 8th Infantry Division in West Germany, service records show. He served in the Vietnam War from March 1966 to March 1967, but spent most of his career in West Germany.
Army officials said Thursday they still were trying to determine what security clearances Conrad held when he retired. The Army said his last job was listed as "liaison non-commissioned officer," but said it would take at least until Friday to determine his specific responsibilities in that position.
The Army released the bare service record for Conrad, born in August 1947, at the request of reporters but would not confirm he was the man arrested in West Germany for allegedly leading an international spy ring that funneled U.S. and NATO secrets to the East bloc for 10 years.
However, West German authorities have identified the man arrested as a former U.S. soldier named Clyde Lee Conrad.
The Army said that under the Privacy Act, it could not discuss the ongoing espionage investigation.
According to the service records, Conrad served with an unspecified unit in West Germany from May 1967 to May 1970 and again from June 1971 to June 1974.
In November 1974, he was assigned to the 8th Infantry Division's headquarters company, which is located in Bad Kreuznach. This appears to be the first assignment that Conrad drew with a headquarters detachment where sensitive documents would assuredly be stored.
Conrad served in that post until August 1979. The next month, he was transferred to the 3rd Battalion of the 17th Infantry at Fort Ord, Calif., where he remained until March 1980.
The Army then sent him to the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, Calif., where he successfully completed a course in basic German.
After finishing school in November 1980, he immediately hooked back up with the 8th Infantry Division's headquarters company in Bad Kreuznach, where he remained until his retirement.
According to the service record, Conrad was a recipient of the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, five Army Commendation Medals, the Army Achievement Medal, three Meritorious Service Medals and seven Good Conduct Medals.
He also qualified as an expert with the M-16 rifle and qualified for the Combat Infantryman Badge and the Parachute Badge. He won promotion to the rank of sergeant first class in November 1979.