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After graduating from high school in 1948, my choices were stay home and work on the farm or go to college. I had three uncles who were Purdue engineers. I knew what working on the farm was like and knew what my uncles were doing. Seemed like a no brainer so I headed for Purdue.

At that time there were about 11,000 students on campus. My dad had an airplane and I really enjoyed flying so I opted for a career in aviation. I selected Air Transportation Engineering for my degree and AFROTC. I stayed with the four year ROTC program for two reasons. I wanted to become an Air Force pilot and I wanted the ROTC extra pay as I was working my way through college. I worked in the fraternity kitchen for my room and board and went home on the weekends as needed to work on the farm. The degree and ROTC training continue to be very helpful as I walk down the road of life. It was a good choice.

When I graduated in 1952 as a DMG, I went into pilot training. I selected multiengine training because I intended to put in my time and go with the airlines. When I completed training in Oct 1953 as first in my section, I had my choice of assignments and selected a ferrying squadron in Amarillo, TX. This was the world’s best assignment for a young unmarried pilot. It was the only unit in the AF that ferried multiengine aircraft all over the world. In my case most of my trips were picking up new C119’s at the factory and delivering them to the Far East or picking up older aircraft and returning them to the states for modification. We wrote our own airline tickets and decided when and how we went.

I managed to pick up some B26 time and a requirement for a B26 driver in Japan came up so naturally all the old guys said sent the young kid. They had been overseas before. I was sent to a B26 TAC Recon unit at Itami AB Japan near Osaka with a forward operating unit at Kimpo AB Korea near Seoul. That was also a fantastic assignment. Japan was a great assignment. We were mostly dumb Lt’s and did not know much about regulations. We just did what need to be done. I ended up being the detachment commander in Kimpo.  Interesting missions. We photographed the DMZ, did ECM and flew weather recon. The weather missions took off every morning at daylight flew west at 1500’ over the Yellow Sea until we saw the Shantung peninsula of China, turned south until we saw the islands off Shanghai then back to Kimpo making weather observations and taking pictures of ships we encountered. We also had a C47 we used for logistics that I enjoyed flying.

When we photographed the DMZ one valley looks like the next and sometimes we wondered into North Korea. The command people would say “you ought not do that” but they always raced the pictures back to the states. We took the ship pictures because they wanted to know who was shipping goods to China.

My next assignment was to an Airborne Early Warning and Control unit at McClellan AFB, CA flying RC121’s. I flew the Connie on the line and while working in the command post for five years. Those missions were usually between 12 and 16 hours long with a crew of about 23 personnel.

Next I was transferred to the ADC SAGE Center at Norton AFB, CA where I was the BOMARC Missile and intelligence officer on the battle staff. Here I flew the T33. We staged out of Canada and were the “enemy” on large exercises. Then in 1962 an assignment to SAC came in, nobody wanted to go so again they said “send the young guy”.

I transitioned into the KC97 and went to Forbes AFB, KS. The day I arrived they were having a going away party as the airplane was being phased out. Forbes was the home of the SAC B47 Recon aircraft. The Cuban flap came up during this time so we were busy.

When they closed out the 97’s in 1963 I transitioned into the KC135 and was assigned to Travis AFB, CA. Great aircraft and great area. I was the chief of tanker standardization and ended up as director of ops training. During this assignment I was TDY to South East Asia in 1965, 67, 69 & 70 refueling bomber and fighter aircraft.

In 1971 I was assigned PCS to Utapo AB, Thailand where I worked in a command post as a “tanker Charlie” launching aircraft and helping tanker crews who needed assistance. With my previous TDY tours I ended up flying 132 combat refueling missions.

In 1972 I was transferred to Fairchild AFB, WA. Here I was promoted to colonel and assigned the Asst. DCM position. Shortly afterward the DCM was sent TDY to Guam so I was the acting DCM.

In 1973 I was reassigned to Anderson AFB, Guam as the FMS commander. I had over 5,000 personnel in the squadron as there were over 100 B52’s to maintain. We would normally launch about 33 bombers a day around the clock so it was like having an ORI every day. Wild place. Then the Vietnam War stopped and it became wilder. I was in charge of the logistics end of recovering personnel and aircraft they were desperately flying out of SEA. As things wound down and people were sent back to the states I became the Asst. DCM. The family and I spent three years on Guam and enjoyed the island very much and when things slowed down we were able to get off island and tour the Far East.

In Jan 1976 I was stationed at Barksdale AFB, LA. During this tour I worked as Eighth Air Force Asst. Director of Aircraft Maintenance, Director of Aircraft Maintenance, Asst. Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics and finally Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics.

I retired in Oct 1980 after 28 years of service.

I feel very fortunate to have the career I did. I served in MAC, TAC, SAC and ADC and enjoyed it all. I retired as the Eighth Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, which was the second highest colonel position in the Eighth Air Force. At that time we were responsible for all SAC bases in the eastern half of the United States and Thule AB, Greenland. That included some 54,000 personnel, 600 aircraft, and 150 ballistic missiles. Logistics was responsible for aircraft maintenance, munitions, transportation, supply and logistics planning.

I flew the T6, T28, T29, T33, B25, B26, C45, C47, C119, RC121, KC97, & KC135. Enjoyed them all.

After I retired I was able to get a flying job with local corporations.

Happy to say I turned 86 and am still flying a little with over 17,750 flying hours.

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