Prior to USAF

Born and raised in Indiana until age 10. Family moved to Southern California for my ‘formative years’ and after one year of Junior College we moved to Corpus Christi, Texas (17 years old at that time). I didn’t like Texas “all that much” and we arrived 2 weeks after the school year began (would have been my Sophomore year), and was told I “had missed too much to enroll for this semester”. Yeah, right. As soon as I turned 18 I went to San Antonio and enlisted in the USAF. As I was raised in So. Cal. during the formative teen years, I still call myself a “So. Cal” boy.

Enlisted Experience

Of course, after Basic in Lackland I was “shipped out” to Kelly for a (6 month) course as a 202XX.. Don’t try to get away from Texas, once it grabs one, one is “lost”. From Lackland I went to a great assignment at 3rd Radio Sq at Elmendorf, Alaska. Met my first wife (a 5’10” Swede) while stationed there, and we married after my assignment back to Kelly. We made a trip to Goodfellow AFB to visit Hank, my Supervisor in Alaska and his wife (Elsie’s neighbors in Alaska), and the Swede found out she liked San Angelo even less than San Antonio, in spite of the 97 pound catfish they had pulled out of Lake Concho. We then spent 3 years making short trips around Europe from “base camp” at Zweibruecken, Germany. Applied for OCS and was told to try again, later. Reassignment from Germany was to: (where else) Hqs, Kelly. Enrolled in a couple of night courses at San Antonio Jr. College (another story), and reapplied for OCS. Assigned to OC Class 63C.

Memories of OC Experience

Elsie worked at Randolph (the opposite direction from where we lived and Lackland). Ackerman’s wife, as a result, was my “mother” during the fun six months on Lackland. I always said: ” Make me an O-6 and I’ll go through this course again, any time.” Other than Ron Black there were a lot of pretty good times at Lackland this time around. Met a lot of fine people, learned about as much as anyone else, I guess. Black’s Assistant (Burns) was a “mother” like I turned out as First Class. Think he inspired me more than Black, and he was at Monkey Mountain when I got to VN. Like the man said in “Look Homeward Angel”: “There were a lot of good days, and a lot of bad days; that’s all there was, a lot of days.” Space limitations preclude long stories of OCS, even Thomas A. Becker’s being found with a bed leg STUFFED with butts (I think count was “lost” at 67, or so.)

Life after OCS

First assignment was as Spec Asst to Capt. L’Italien until my clearance came through – that took a couple weeks to a month; then on to Goodfellow AFB to “attend” the 8035 School “so I could get back out into the field and take my place as a “certified Flt Cmdr”. Oh, yeah! Upon graduation I was “captured” to instruct F Block, and finally escaped by buying a new Ford Fairlane after 2 years. Spent a “little” time at the O Club during this time – like I said, the Swede did not “care much” for San Angelo; so after I had been there about 2 months, she and one of her 3rd Grade Teacher friends decided San Francisco would be a great life style for a couple of fine-looking, sharp, ready ladies. They stopped off to tell me they were heading for San Francisco “for the summer” on their way West. I saw her about two years later on my way through Travis heading for “the war” zone. I had received assignment as AFSSO Korea, which was promptly commandeered by one of my former students who had gone to Washington, D.C. (one can pull the rug out from under anyone if one is in the correct place at the correct time, right?) – because he didn’t want to go to Viet Nam as a Flt Cmdr. DaNang wasn’t bad when the monsoon season wasn’t in, but a “night cap” helped for sleeping during the day. Received my railroad tracks during my 2nd year at DaNang. That part I liked.

After that my career was pretty much a coast to the finish. I was assigned AFSSO Norton after DaNang, and went back to Riverside and married my High School sweetheart (after 17 years we were both married and divorced, and she had 1 boy 1 girl), after I had “rewarded” myself with a ’68 Porsche. That was one sweet machine, except for the inch of rain that gathered on the floor in the back each time it rained. The command structure at Norton was reorganized, and after a little over a year the AFSSO was closed down, and the AFSSO himself was shipped to Eglin AFB, Florida. The first AFSSO was: 1) the SPO //An E.E.-type//; 2) the AFSSO, 3) a Comm-type sent in TDY every 3 mos. to keep the “mail” moving. The Eglin ass’t was much better (?) – the AFSSO didn’t have to submit the reports!!! Instead of a SPO (who thought he was God), there was An Admin Clerk to handle that stuff. He was a Tech, and a real hoot. I found out he signed most of the reports and sent them out without bothering the AFSSO with the “trivial paper work” – what a gas. We all ended up with 60 days leave at the end of this assignment. And there was a permanently assigned Comm Type.

Life After the Air Force

Cam decided that Southern California (the Los Angeles – Riverside area) was too infested with humans and smog, and the Gulf Coast reminded her so much of Southern Cal (w/o the large number of people and smog) that we would stay in the Ft. Walton area. While working as a bookkeeper she decided it best to go back to college and get her degree, and went for Sociology as she could no longer think of being an Elem Educator, then went on to the Masters in Psych. I figured I would have little use for a formal degree, and had no idea what it would be in, anyway. I went to Vo’Tech Course: Brick and Block – Welding – Auto Body Repair and Refinishing, and have degrees in all three. Welding is really rough on the eyes as we get older; so, I worked for a while laying brick and block, then went to part time specialty projects on bricks. I worked at a couple of auto body shops, but couldn’t always get along with the drunken owners. Seems like body shop owners (the ones around here) drink as much as house painters (SIGH). I have worked at several part-time jobs and done a lot of volunteer time for HRS (enough hours to burn up two engines in one pickup), and managed to become a certified ceramicist and novice drummer along the way. Currently just trying to keep the lawn half way decent (hate yard work), the wooden fence repaired, and trying to find time to get my Harley on the road (not doin’ tooo well at that).

 

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