I was born on a small farm near Mammoth Spring, AR on Nov. 18, 1935. I’m the oldest of my parents’ brood of three, two boys and a girl. My dad was from Childress, TX and a veteran of W.W.I (PH) and my mother was a native of Hardy AR. In 1941 they sold the farm and we moved to Hardy into a house built by my grandfather about 1908. It made an interesting and secure place to grow up, and is still “home”. I attended the same school my mother had graduated from some 20 years before, graduating in 1953.
After high school I went to St. Louis, MO to work but didn’t like the city on the river all that much. Decided to try Fort Worth where some of dad’s family lived and liked it well enough that I’m still here. I enrolled at Texas Christian University and attended until the military obligation thing made me do something. Rather than risk becoming a forward artillery spotter somewhere in West Germany, I joined the Texas ANG (136th FIS) and launched off to Lackland in December 1957. All I remember about basic is that survival training was rained out and my old MI carbine was dangerous—to its operator.
After basic came tech school at Chanute AFB IL. In about 6 months I was a level 3 aircraft and missile electrical repairman. Became a level 5 in 1961. Working on the planes was challenging and fun. F-86D’s of that age needed lots of help. In 1961 I applied for OCS and pilot training and was accepted. Got by the first hurdle but not pilot training. Back at my unit there was little need for a new 2nd. Lt. without the skills to fill any slot in the hierarchy so my military adventure was over in 1964.
My memories of OCS would make a long movie. Here are some frames from it:
The first class dayroom formation to see JFK speech on Cuba, USSR, nukes, etc. (remember?)
Being hungry around the clock for 90 days
Drill 19 (with a shoelace threatening to come untied)
Becker doing 30 (others, too but TCB was the champ)
“Stand by second class”—loud, panic-inducing, badly timed
Sundays (good because THEY took a day off)
In 1954 I went to work for an oil company that later became Champlin Petroleum Co. and after that Union Pacific Recourses Co. They left my employee number active from 1954 and after several adventures, military and other, I settled down and worked there full time. I took an early-out package and retired in 1988 after 34 years. My last position and the job I had the longest was Facilities Engineer.
I am enjoying being retired and doing exactly what I want on my own schedule. Ask me about 3200-acre deer lease, building a house at the Texas gulf coast, my home-built airplane adventure, and fishing in Mexico.
Fairly soon I would like to go to France to see Normandy, and the W.W.I battlefields. Lots of other places I would like to visit are now too risky for me.