I was born 21 May 1936 in a farmhouse near Dear Creek, Washington County, Iowa. A sister awaited my birth and a brother came along in ’38 to complete the family. Started school in the Fall of 42. My sister and I walked over a mile to our one room country school, morning and afternoon, come rain, shine or cold and snow. I remember the good life on the farm in those early years, especially the summers. In 1947 my family moved to another farm that my parents had bought. I entered Parnell Consolidated School (K – 12) and graduated in 55, third in a class of only nine. Mom & Dad sold the farm, lock, stock and barrel in 52. Having lost the inherited farm employment, I went job hunting and found a union job with Allis Chalmers in Cedar Rapids, IW. Stayed long enough to gain employment rights following military service and in November of 55 I enlisted in the AF.
Following Basic Tng at Parks AFB, CA, I wound up at Barksdale AFB, LA. The infamous Bossier City was winding down, but there were still many bars and honky tonks stretching about 4 miles along Hwy 80 and down Barksdale Blvd to the base. In 57 I thought I was smart enough to become an officer, so I applied for OCS. While waiting for selection, I turned down an assignment to Germany and wound up at Sondrestrom AB, Greenland for a year when my application was denied. I returned to Barksdale AFB in 59 to the same job I had had. I met and married Mary there, and despite the best efforts of the retention NCO, I left the AF at the end of my enlistment in 59. When we got back to Iowa, I exercised my reemployment rights at Allis Chalmers. That lasted 13 days, when I got laid off along with 100 other contemporaries. I then went to work for Borroughs Corp (Business machines), and after about a year, Mary and I decided going back into the military was a better option.
Once back in as a two striper, making the same money as Burroughs, a notice in the base paper about the coming demise of OCS rekindled my interest and I re-applied in early 62. I was selected for 63 B and reported in June.
I choose to forget as much as I could about the six month school because those memories are not the most pleasant.
Life After OCS
I took my new “brown bar” and my family to Greenville AFB, MI, where I attended Personnel Officer school. My first assignment was to the CBPO at Blytheville AFB, AR. In 65 I spent 90 days at Ubon AB Thailand as the first personnel officer during the base build-up. I was later assigned to Southern Command at Albrook AFB, Canal Zone. We lived in downtown Panama City the first year, during the time the Panamanian military overthrew the government. One of the Coup members lived in our apartment building, and security was very tight for a while. I was then assigned to Airmen Assignment Section of MPC at Randolph AFB in May 71. In 73 I was reassigned to Lackland AFB in charge of all student assignments. I then returned to Barksdale AFB in 74 to the base CBPO, and stayed there until my retirement on 1 February 1977.
I enjoyed unemployment/retirement for a couple of years before working as a lathe operator for an oil tool rebuilding business, followed by a job as an inspector at a wire & cable company. I next worked for Gym Dandy ( A “swing”ing company) in charge of metal fabrication until they closed in 67. In 68, I established a steel fabrication divison with P & H Tube Co., whose primary product was fence posts and top rails for security fences.
I stayed at P & H until 1994, when Mary and I sold out and migrated to Northwest Arkansas. There we built a log house in the Boston Mountains of the Ozarks. We planned the house for about 10 years before we began the actual building. Since we were our own contractor, it took several years to finish the house, but now we are really dug in there and are thoroughly enjoying our retirement.