I was born in a small farming community in Indiana. I went to a country school until the middle of the 8th grade. The school burned down and I was transferred to Martinsville Jr/Sr High School. I graduated from Martinsville High School, then attended Rose Polytechnic Institute in Terre Haute, Indiana. After one year I was placed on probation, so I enlisted in the USAF.
I entered the Air Force in August 1958. After Basic, I was selected for Aircraft Maintenance. After Tech School I was assigned to McChord AFB, Washington, to the C-118 Flight Squadron. The Squadron was equipped with 12 VIP configured aircraft. The first day I was assigned to assist in an aircraft departure, that aircraft crashed. What happened is another story to be told!
I married Charlotte in February 1960 while at McChord and we have been happily married since then. I took both the tests for Aviation Cadet/OCS on a bet. I did not expect to pass, but passed both tests. I could not pass the physical for AvCad because of my eyes so I applied for and was accepted to OCS.
Charlotte and I arrived at OCS looking at this as a career step, as I had decided to make the military a career. I remember my first contact with our upper class. Someone told me in an “extremely” loud voice to “Please” proceed to my room and get dressed in the Uniform-of-the-Day. In my ignorance, I asked what the uniform was. Most of OCS was like an ongoing theatrical tragedy interspersed with moments of reality. I roomed with Randy Wolfe and one night while studying in our lockers, the Tactical Officer did a surprise inspection. When he opened the door, Randy looked up and said “up or down, Sir?” The door was closed and footsteps were heard leaving the room. Now that was reality! After approximately 2 months, I owe my sanity and my chance to become 1st Class to a real gentleman, Mr. Francis Sullivan. One evening I was close to committing an act of violence, but Mr. Sullivan took the time to calm me and listen to my problem. I did achieve a record in OCS. I was constantly hungry. When we received our first pass, I started eating as soon as I got to our apartment and continued to eat until I had to return to base. As you remember they weighed us when we left and when we returned. As I remember I gained about 30#. When the 1st Class heard, I really, really regretted having established that record.
After OCS I attended Maintenance Officer School at Chanute AFB, Illinois and after graduation was assigned to SAC, 305th Bomb Wing, B-58 Hustler Bombers at Bunker Hill AFB, Indiana in December 1963. I was assigned as a Branch OIC of Field Maintenance. I progressed to Assistant Squadron Maintenance Officer in 2 years. We adopted our oldest daughter, Mary, while stationed there.
We arrived at Incirlik AB, Turkey in May 1966 for a 24-month assignment. I was supposed to be assigned to SAC, but the organization was phased out within the first month of our arrival. I was transferred to USAFE Detachment 10. I was initially assigned as Squadron Maintenance Officer, but promoted to Chief of Maintenance after 6 months. It was supposed to be temporary until a new CM arrived. I stayed in this position until I returned to the States. While in Turkey, I was sent TDY with the USAFE Accident Investigation Team several times. I was also deployed on classified missions several times. Our second daughter, Jonel, was born in Turkey.
I was assigned to Andrews AFB, Maryland to the 1st Composite Wing in May 1968. I served as Squadron Maintenance Officer for the 1st year, then was assigned as Wing Maintenance Control Officer. After 6 months I was assigned as Wing Quality Control Officer. I was the first non-rated officer assigned to this position. I attended SOS while stationed at Andrews. Our third daughter, Jennifer, was born in Maryland.
In December 1970, I received orders to Ubon AB, Thailand. I was assigned to the 55th SOS, C-130A Gunships, and upon arrival was selected to be the Maintenance Control Officer. After 3 months I was assigned as a Project Logistics Officer for the TVG/EGV Bomb Project (Smart Bombs). After 2 months I was assigned to work with the TI Tech Reps on the Fire Control Systems on C-130A Gunships.
In February 1972, we arrived at McClellan AFB, in Sacramento, California. I was assigned to the 55th Air Weather Wing. I was assigned as Chief of Maintenance temporarily until the new CM arrived. I stayed in that position until December, then was assigned as Wing Maintenance Control Officer. In February 1974, the 55th Air Weather Squadron was reassigned to McClellen and I was assigned as Squadron Maintenance Officer. In May 1974, I was notified that I was being RIFed effective July 31, 1974. As you can imagine, this was quite a surprise.
I re-enlisted in August 1974 at McChord AFB, Washington as an Aircraft Mechanic with the grade of S/Sgt. I was assigned as a Special Projects NCO for the Wing Director of Maintenance. In September 1975, I was assigned to work in Job Control as a dispatcher. In July 1976, I became an Aircrew Debriefer and remained in that position until I retired in August 1978 with the rank of T/Sgt. After retiring I was under medical supervision for a period of five years for surgery I received while on active duty.
After I retired, I went to work for Square D Company as a Quality Control Inspector. I progressed to Engineering Supervisor. In 1987, the plant was sold and being closed. Charlotte and I decided to accept a position with a Consumer Product Testing Laboratory in Miami, Florida. I moved to Florida in March 1987. Charlotte stayed in Tacoma waiting for our youngest daughter to graduate from High School. During that time, our oldest daughter decided to get married and Charlotte’s father was diagnosed with Leukemia. We had a Bi-coastal marriage for 18 months before we were reunited in Miami. We stayed in Miami until we moved to Glendale, Arizona in December 1995, with plans for me to actually retire. We chose Glendale because our oldest daughter lived there with, at that time, our only grandchildren. After six months I could not stand the boredom, so I went to work selling cars. After almost two years, I went to work for the County. After seven months and a promise of a “LARGE” pay raise, I quit. The pay raise was 25 cents per hour, but would not be effective until after one year of employment. My son-in-law worked for a company called DHL and I went to work there. I left in August 2001 after injuring my knee.
In 2002 our daughter and her family moved to Washington State. We then relocated to our present location—Gisela, Arizona. You can not go home again, but we live in the middle of the Tonto National Forest in a small community of about 500 people. We are truly retired! We now have grandchildren to keep us busy on our retirement trips to Washington and Florida.