Curtis A. Harper


Life Prior to USAF

Born: Holly, Colorado and grew up in North Platte, Nebraska. Played Sax in HS Marching Band, HS Orchestra, HS Dixie Jazz Band and Bass in Country & Western Dance Band.

Enlisted Experiences

Started off in Basic Training in Parks AFB California. Got Married to Margy shortly thereafter. Became Tactical Instructor at Parks then transferred to FE Warren AFB in Wyoming. When AF Decided that all TI’s must be SSGT or above and would not promote current TI’s to that rank I asked for Missile School in Denver but got Photo Interp Intelligence School in Witcha Falls, Texas instead. Got there and School had been closed for 3 months (Training Command at its Best). It was either choose another school or get out because AF would do another PCS transfer within a year. So I choose Aircraft Electrician School. Graduated with distinction. Went to Malmstrom AFB Montana. Received Airman of Quarter award, highest score in 5 level testing, and went to NCO Prep school. Volunteered for Missile Electrician School for Atlas Missile at my old base, FEWarren in Cheyenne. Went to San Diego School of Missile Technology for Atlas ICBM. Wrote 5 level test and then was forced to take it for 5 level. Had to correct the revised questions that a not-technical ENGLISH teacher thought did not read right. Wrote emergency recovery procedures for power failure on launch pads and was used by SAC ORI Teams. Bought a Home then had to sell when received orders for OCS. Launch Commander recommended me for OCS. Earl Peregoy (class 63A) and I took the test together. Had hayfever and had to go to Fitzsimmons in Denver to get clearance to become an officer. Became underclassman to Earl.

Memories of the OCS Experience

The good, bad, or humorous recollections. For the most part a good experience. First day Peregoy asked that I come over to his barracks. Naturally, I entered the First Class door (just the opposite of my barracks) and ended up challenging the entire second class in that barracks to pushups. On the third or fourth one, I lost being wiped out. But made a good impression on my first class in my barracks. Was high point man in basketball and our barracks did not lose a game but they gave award to another barracks because our group was getting all the awards. The mandatory bell curve scoring was the pits because our class was breaking all academic records, yet, 6 had to fail each test. Academics eliminated good men who scored higher than those passing in previous classes. It did force you to prioritize on the subjects you were weak on and skate on those you liked so you would not fail any subject twice or not fail different subjects 3 times (which meant elimination). Ashcraft’s cartoons were great! I was good to write a poem and get 1st Class Privileges.

Life After OCS

Went to Keesler AFB in Biloxi, Miss. Top in 50 week class on Ground Communications Officers Course. Then assigned as Radar Maintenance Officer in Sault Ste Marie, Michigan. Won 31 Aerospace Defense Command Division awards for Maintenance and never was Jammed by SAC Flights against site. Next assigned to USAF Security Service. Assigned to Samsun Turkey. (Remote Unaccompanied Tour) Snafu on Security Clearance delay had me in charge of a group of technicians whom I could not see or visit. It wasn’t until I reminded the security officer that, as an Officer, I was already cleared for up to and including SECRET that I finally got to go to my office. There were only two areas I could not go to until the special clearance arrived. Got rave reviews on Inspector General Inspection.

Went on to Region Headquarters in Germany. By now had 5 children. Family joined me in Germany. Wrote Maintenance manual for Security Service and got commendation award. Set up Not Operational Ready Briefing Display for the Headquarters and set up system that got a 100% compliance on the Command Inspector General Visit. After that went to Staff Officers School at Biloxi and was assigned to Havre Montana at the radar site designated as the Alt NORAD Command Post for the Division. Then went to USAF radar Site on Jacksonville Naval Air Station in Jacksonville Florida to replace the commander. Promoted to Major there. Never became commander because the current commander developed a deadly cancer and remained there because of the medical facilities. Was transferred to Buckley Air National Guard Base near Denver, Colorado to be in charge of the high-tech stuff that tracked everything in space. Got another commendation metal and retired June 30, 1975.

Life Today

After retirement went to work in insurance, teaching electronics and electro-mechanics in a Community College. Recruited by Sylvania Corp to teach high-tech stuff to Iranians, in San Jose California; became manager. Recruited by ROLM Corp to teach Computerized Business Phone Systems, promoted to manage, the Product Support Engineer and after IBM bought ROLM was promoted to Senior Telecommunications Engineer and help design IBM internal data networks. Retired early from IBM in Dec 1991, bought house outright in Vancouver, Washington, went on church mission, hobbies of PC repairing and building and woodworking and visiting family keeps us busy. Have 7 children, 28 grandchildren (29 & 30 on the way) and one great-grandchild.

Plans for the Future

Visiting family, Family Reunions, Church Work, woodworking, home improvement, helping others, getting mad at the protesters and tax wasters, and traveling.