In 1954 I enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. After basic training, I was selected to remain at Lackland AFB as a drill instructor, which provided a good drill and ceremonies experience for OCS. Subsequently, I completed Air Police School and was sent to SAC. After the third try, I received an appointment to OCS Class 63-A, just three months short of my 27th birthday.
Like many others have stated, this was a life-defining experience. Elaine and I were married in 1957 and we had two little girls, Pam, 4, and Sharon, 2 years old at that time. Like many other wives, Elaine became “mother” to some of my classmates and provided invaluable support during the second-class period.
After graduation and completion of the Basic Air Police Officer Course, I was assigned to Ramstein AB, Germany, as Weapons Systems Security Officer in charge of 280 men. Barry Daniel came by for a visit and, lo and behold, he was in an Army uniform. Seems that he had obtained an inter-service transfer and was assigned as an ordnance officer in special weapons. Dick Dabney and his family visited with us on their way to Garmisch. He was flying F-100s, as I recall. Also, during this period, the Army was undergoing a modernization of weapons and Ramstein was the staging area. There was a temporary storage area, manned by two companies of security MPs, each commanded by a Captain and the project leader was a Major. On the Air Force side was one lonely 1st Lieutenant: ME. There was something wrong with this picture! Regardless, I enjoyed my responsibilities and got excellent reviews.
Subsequently, I applied for the degree completion program at the University of Maryland and was waiting to be offered a regular commission as a Distinguished Graduate. After several successful ORIs and a special OER by the 17th Air Force CG, I was asked to be on the IG team. We hit Aviano AB in Italy and during the ORI, Iran into Mike Hazard, another classmate. I was awarded the AF Commendation Medal on the completion of my tour in 1965, but no degree completion, as I was “urgently needed” at K.I. Sawyer AFB. There was still no offer of a regular commission.
So then I discussed my career options with a very understanding Base Commander and he said that, although he did not want me to go, he would approve my request for an inter-service transfer. I was sworn in on 21 December 1966, five days after the birth of our son, Gary, and departed in a driving snowstorm for Ft. Gordon, GA, to attend the MP Officer Advanced Course (similar to SOS). While in school, I was promoted to Captain, with DOR adjusted back to April 1965, to be equal with my Army contemporaries.
After that, I was assigned as a company commander and battalion S-3 (operations). I served in Vietnam from Oct. 1967 to Oct. 1968 as MACV advisor to the 10th QC (MP) Battalion and a provisional RF infantry battalion. Survived the TET offensive. Was assigned as a project officer to the Safeguard Systems Command (antiballistic missile defense) in Huntsville, Alabama. Received my promotion to Major on 20 June 1969. Went back to Vietnam from Sept. 1970 to Sept. 1971, again with MACV as military police advisor to the Capital Military District. Survived a mine explosion under my jeep while with the ARVN troops in Tay Ninh province. Returned to the “world” and was assigned to the MP School at Ft. Gordon as Chief, Industrial Defense Branch.
The separations and other stresses resulted in Elaine and I divorcing in 1972. I had no desire to continue in the service, although I was offered a Regular Army commission in 1969. Promotion to O-5 was projected for 1978-79. I retired on 31 October 1974, with 20 years and 8 days of active duty and accepted a position as GS-13 with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. I also met and married my dear wife, Diana, in 1976.
In 1979, I entered the private security industry and worked for several large firms in senior management positions, ending as Senior Vice President, Protection Technology, Inc., in Philadelphia. We were involved with security of nuclear power plants and DOE facilities like Sandia. I have had my own consulting company for more than 20 years and have been involved with several large projects, including the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. The last few years have been taken up with working around our property in the North Georgia Mountains. Things like plowing the garden, pruning the apple trees, and taking the boat out on the lake requires time and doesn’t leave room for “work” work.
We completely rebuilt and renovated the little 1200 square foot brick house on the property and, after almost a year of construction, it is now a 3800 square foot home with all modern conveniences and upgrades. Diana retired from U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in May 2003 and we moved in right after and are now both “officially retired”. Right before that, I obtained my A+/Net+ computer technician certification and now I dabble with helping older people to be more comfortable with their machines in accessing the Internet and related problems. We are healthy and life, so far, is good.