The Flight Years
Following graduation, I was “lucky” enough to get a B-52 assignment to Loring AFB, Maine. Really enjoyed my time there, especially the time that summer fell on a Sunday during 1995 (inside joke about the bad weather). After 17 months or so, the two-squadron wing split and one squadron was sent to Plattsburgh AFB, New York where we stayed for one delightful year in the Banana Belt of upper New York state.
Upon leaving New York, we journeyed to Las Vegas, Nevada for an AT-33 lead-in course to the F-105 training course at McConnell AFB, Kansas. From there it was onward and upward to Southeast Asia and Takhli RTAFB, Thailand. This was probably one of the highlights of my career. Lots of things going on and just living the good life overall. While there I had a chance to meet one of my two brothers, who were both in the Army in South Vietnam. We both absorbed culture and taught the Thais a thing or two about horse racing, but that’s another story.
Return to the Z. I. and on to F-106 training at Tyndall AFB, Florida. This was followed by years in the Air Defense Command at Duluth IAP, Minnesota and Wurtsmith AFB, Michigan. Again, these were some very good years – the mission and the people I worked with were just outstanding. Also, we were required to be dual qualified in the F-106 and the venerable old T-33. This made for some fun flying.
My final assignment was brought about by an inadvertent “booming” of a well-known Senator’s office in downtown Chicago. Thinking that discretion was the better part of valor, I promptly volunteered for and was, after thorough testing, accepted into the U-2 program at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona. This again turned out to be one exceptionally fine job which involved very close relations with the Lockheed factory test pilots in various and sundry development projects. The only slight dissatisfaction was when we flew the same missions at regular Air Force pay for which the Lockheed pilots were getting paid several thousand dollars a flight. Oh well, my viewpoint was that they were being paid not to grow up, and come to think of it, so were we!
Life After Flight
The years following the Air Force have also been very good. I got out of service, went to school and became a school teacher. This has been my vocation for the last twenty years or so. First taught at the public school level, but went on later to teach at the private college level. That is where I am and what I’m doing now.
On a personal note, the two boys we had at Willie were later joined by a blonde, blue-eyed girl. Following my first wife’s death, we later combined two families and accumulated another daughter in the process. Lately, we have spent a lot of time doing family research in the southeast of the U. S., while vacations are spent visiting kids and eight grandkids in Iowa.
Having contact after all these years really does make you reflect on the intervening time. As the saying goes, it does make those days seem . . . Long Ago and Far Away in a Different Galaxy!