Prior to USAF
Grew up in the small textile mill town of Swannanoa, NC. Graduated from Owen High School in 1959 and joined the USAF three weeks later (06-26-59).
Attended electronics tech school at Lowry AFB. Assigned to Malmstrom AFB as an autopilot mechanic. Flew on KC-97 aircraft for a couple of years as an enlisted technician.
Memories of OCS
Yelled a lot, had many short meals sitting on the edge of my chair, was caught with 200 (?) “panic” cigarette butts in my bunk post. (Didn’t smoke.)
Life After OCS
Missile Launch Officer (MACE Missile) at Sembach AFB, Germany. While there, studied German at U. of Maryland. Came back to Maintenance Officer course at Chanute AFB. Assignments included Seymour-Johnson (B-52 and KC-135), serving as OMS Maintenance Officer and later as OMS Sq Commander. Afterwards, Da Nang, RVN (F-4), Phu Cat, RVN (F-4). After Viet Nam, assigned to Hahn AFB, Germany, Maintenance Control Officer (F-4) and Zweibruecken AFB, Germany, in Maintenance Control and OMS. Studied French while at Zweibruecken. Returned to Pope AFB, NC as FTD Commander in 1973. Completed BS Degree while stationed here. Left for Teheran, Iran in 1975 for a two-year assignment as an aircraft maintenance advisor to the Iranian Air Force. In 1977, began last two years in service as Commander of the FTD at Warner-Robins AFB, Georgia. Retired end of June 1979 as an O-4.
My first assignment: Left Lackland AFB, TX for Valdosta, Georgia and pilot training at Moody AFB. After a couple of months, the Air Force, in its infinite wisdom, decided that I would be much safer on the ground. Moved on to Missile Launch Officer schools in Denver, CO and Orlando, FL before getting my first overseas assignment to Sembach AFB in Germany.
Came home to North Carolina in 1979. Built a house and went to work for the local school system as a program coordinator for two years. Saw an ad in the AF Times asking for former officers with maintenance and training experience. Signed on with Lockheed and went to Saudi Arabia for two years. Worked at Saudi Air Force Hq in Riyadh as a training advisor. Helped Saudis negotiate the AWACS Program with the USAF and Boeing. Returned to the US as a Training Mgr for a program sponsored by the Saudi Ministry of Interior. Took 205 mechanics and pilots through a two-year program to qualify them to fly and maintain Kawasaki helicopters serving as emergency airlift for pilgrims making the trip to Mecca.
Following Saudi Arabia and Lockheed, crossed over to General Dynamics in Fort Worth, TX to support overseas programs and train, over time, to take an overseas program. Two months later, after the illness of a program manager, found myself in Cairo working with the Egyptian Air Force and training their maintenance personnel to support F-16 aircraft. Gail and I stayed in Cairo for three years, the last year implementing a new program for base maintenance at five Egyptian air bases. Studied Arabic at the British school in Cairo. Came back to Fort Worth in 1987 and was offered an assignment in Bahrain. Turned it down and returned to North Carolina.
Went to work for Fluor Daniel Construction in Greenville, SC as a training manager. After assignments over the US and overseas projects in Holland and Spain, I transferred to the industrial maintenance division. Next came projects in Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Malaysia, Germany, and Dubai. I left Fluor Daniel to settle down a bit and write technical manuals. I did that for a couple of years. The small company I was working for folded and I came back to Marion, NC.
Where Am I Now
I am now the county veterans service officer for McDowell County, North Carolina, working for the North Carolina Department of Veterans Affairs. It is a three-days per week position and the hardest part of the job is planning for a 4-day weekend each week. We are enjoying our four granddaughters and the time off. My first social security check is due in May and we are quite content where we are in our lives. We celebrate our 43rd anniversary in October. Looking forward to it.
Plans for the Future
Work a couple more years then kick back and do nothing except enjoy my family and friends. A long trip for us these days is a weekend in Gatlinburg, TN. After working and traveling in 40+ countries, I think our travel bug has been completely satisfied.