Since I had only one regular U.S. Air Force assignment for one year and since it was a very busy, and interesting assignment, I will devote more of this to that assignment than to my subsequent civil service work.
In September of 1962 I completed OCS with Class 63A and proceeded directly to Malmstrom AFB in Great Falls, Montana. Malmstrom was a SAC Base and home of the 341st Strategic Missile Wing, the first wing of the Minuteman I missile, not yet operational. I was assigned to the 341st Combat Defense Squadron as Administrative Officer. The squadron was responsible for the security of the missile wing, spread over an area the size of the State of Maryland, a wing of KC-97 tankers on base, a tenant unit of F-101’s of North American Air Defense Command and the usual base police functions.
I arrived on base more or less simultaneously with the Cuban Missile Crisis and immediately went into 12-hours on/12-hours off status for about a month. Because of the Cuban Missile Crisis, President Kennedy ordered the Wing to go operational immediately with the first squadron of missiles, several weeks ahead of schedule and this resulted in a king-sized mess. There are a lot of problems in the initial stages of activating any new weapons system and this one was no exception.
From the security standpoint, we had an electronic security system where, according to The Saturday Evening Post, “no human stands guard.” It did not work out quite that way. The system was way too sensitive and a bird flying through, a rabbit hopping across or even severe wind would trigger the system to the extent that mobile strike forces could not even begin to respond to all the false alarms.
So rather quickly, we had to provide shelters and get humans onto the missile sites until the system could be reconfigured. Since we did not have nearly the manpower to cover so many sites we, at one point, had over 800 troops TDY from 13 other Air Force Bases to help provide the needed security. This was an administrative nightmare at times.
For example, if an airman had to go on emergency leave, we had to get him back from the missile site and then send him back to his home base after which he could begin his emergency leave. AF regulations at the time specified that emergency leave must originate at the PCS home base, so in one case we had to send a young man back to Florida so that he could go on emergency leave to Wyoming, next door to where he started on this journey.
The security problem was only one of several that affected the operational status of this weapons system but eventually it all got squared away. It was a very busy but interesting year — something new each day. Fortunately we had a really top class first sergeant to work with.
WAR STORY: During my 37+ years of U.S. Government service, I saw a number of cases of what appeared to be mis-assignments of personnel. The most interesting was at Malmstrom AFB. We had a 2nd Lt., source of commission ROTC, with a Ph.D in nuclear physics. He was put in charge of the Base Gymnasium and in charge of administering the 5BX program.
In September of 1963 I was reassigned to the Washington, D.C. area on detached duty to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for training. Then in September 1964 I was released from active duty but remained in the active reserve. Next, I was employed by the CIA and began two years of full-time Japanese language training, six months of it in the Washington, D.C. area.
I was assigned to Japan in April of 1965 for an additional one and one-half years of Japanese language training and remained on assignment there until the summer of 1972. Then I received a promotion to Captain in the active reserves in September 1969. However in January, 1970 my active reserve agreement was terminated.
My next assignment was in Summer 1972 to CIA Headquarters supporting our worldwide program targeted against North Vietnam. In Summer 1974 I was assigned to Danang, Vietnam. I brought the last diplomatic pouch out of Danang in Spring 1975 on the last airplane that was not rushed by “friendly” locals attempting to escape.
Again, I went back to Tokyo in August 1975 and this was the only place to use the language that I had worked so hard to learn. Then I was assigned to CIA Headquarters in September 1980 to support European operations. In 1978 I met Michiko “Michi” Yoshida at a diplomatic reception in Tokyo. At that time she was working as the office manager for the Jordanian Embassy in Tokyo. Michi and I were married on April 30, 1982.
Then I received Italian language training at CIA Headquarters from August 1983-January 1984 and was assigned to Rome, Italy in February of 1984. Next, I was reassigned to the U.S. as a training instructor in August 1986. Again, reassigned to CIA Headquarters in August of 1989 supporting various humint operational activities in assorted locations. Then we were sent back to Tokyo for a final overseas assignment and in August/September of 1994 I returned to CIA Headquarters and retired from U.S. Government service.
I was then employed in December of 1994 by the administrative department of the Citizens Savings Bank in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Michi and I moved to Denton, Texas in August 1996 and was employed by Boeing-Corinth, where wire harnesses for commercial aircraft are manufactured. Then, in October 2002, I retired from Boeing.
NOTE: My wife, Michi, is completing her Ph.D. in Political Economics at the University of Texas at Dallas and we will now follow her career path. This will be her fifth degree: B.A. from Niigata National University in Japan, M.A. from University of London, B.A. from The College of William and Mary and a M.S. from The Johns Hopkins University.