My Military Career, Part #2…”Why me? GERMANY, Really? Damn”!

AB JOHN W. Gray, USAF, Basic Training, Lackland AFB, San Antonio, Tx, July 25, 1971
  We Graduated Basic Trainin’ & that night in Mid August we were scheduled to Depart just before 2400hrs. I was never so glad to be leavin’ some place as I was Lackland AFB, San Antonio, TX. The only thing I left there was a lot of SWEAT! Two of my Buddies I never really knew where they were headed, but
One of my Buddies I went in with & I were both headed to Keesler AFB in  Boloxi, MS. Him to Communications (Dot-Dot-Dash-Dash) Tech School & me to ATC School or so I thought. We left lovely San Antonino, TX in the dark of night. Lookin’ thru the BUS windows and holdin’ our cheers until we cleared the Base Gates, headed to Boloix, MS, 15 hours away.  We made one stop on Baton Rouge, LA. We received a “Box Lunch” & were not allowed to leave the bus. Here we were in the USAF & ridin’ a DAWG (Greyhound). If it wasn’t over 500 miles it was BUS Transportation! Or so we were told! What a miserable trip, but closer to home! We arrived, after normal business hours, they processed us in & told us to – NO  Ordered us (kiddin’) to dig out our “Civies”, Civilian Cloths, what we were wearin’ when we arrived in lovely San Antonio, TX, no matter how dirty or smelly (they had been packed away for 2 months) they were & go to the NCO CLUB and enjoy some COLD BEER! The next mornin’ everyone met for formation & we headed/marched across the Flight Line to the Educational Area were dismissed & everyone found their own respective Tech Schools/Classes. I got to mine & was there ever a crowd there! Long Story short, 1/2 of us went to ATC & the other 1/2 into Aircraft Control & Warning Systems (AC&W) Tech School. The difference between the two schools was ATC got’em off of the ground & back down. AC&W had authority over anything in the air, if actions ever dictated the need we would “Scramble Interceptors” to bring’em down. We were broken into 3-sub groups for Classes 0600hrs to 1200hrs, 1230 hrs to 1830hrs, & 1900 hrs to 0100hrs. Bein’ in Boloxi, MS was great. I had the Mornin’ School Schedule, 0600hrs. to 1200hrs. Breakfast was on us if we wanted to get up for it & go to “The Chow Hall”. And let me tell ya USAF “Chow Halls” were GREAT! We had REAL FOOD & Lots of it! We would form up @ 0515hrs for Mornin’ Formation, Roll Call, in front of our Dorms! If all were accounted for we were dismiss & reform again @ 0530hrs & march across the Base Flight Line, to the Educational Area, be dismissed, attend classes, reform after class @ 1205 hrs March back to our Dorms, get dismissed, reform in 1230hrs for announcements & assignments to detail if needed. The 1st day, if memory serves me right, there were three of us, that were in TX together, and one of’em was my (dot-dot-dash-dash) Buddy I went in with, that Volunteered for Detail! We were assigned to cutin’ grass around the Dorm we were assigned to, light duty cause we had Volunteered! All the others got worked till they were ready to drop! After that, I got assigned detail one other time. I was pullin’ Kitchen Patrol “KP Duty” for the Vietnamese Officers & Support Gp who were there for “Pilot Trainnin’ “. That was because all Dorm Groups were assigned that duty for a day. Other than that we had our days free. Cold Beer, the Beaches, go to New Orleans for the day, what ever we felt like. The 1st weekend there we got weekend passes to go home as long as it wasn’t outside a certain radius. Well, Birmingham (B’ham), AL qualified. My (dot-dot-dash-dash) Buddy & I tried to get out of Gulfport to B’ham, couldn’t make the connection. Lucky for us there was a Travlin’ Salesman there, he had Rented a car, said he give us a lift to Jackson, Ms if it’d help? We accepted his offer, so we booked our flights, got our ticktes, & loaded-up with him & head Northwest to Jackson. Finally got to B’ham that evenin’ & went our own ways, to meet back up Sunday to head back. My Stepfather had bought an ole Used “Chevy Corvair”, 4-door , 4-speed, & gave it to me to use while I was stationed in Boloix, MS. I went back & forth every weekend while I was there, 7 weeks & several times carried others back & we split expenses. It was about 6 1/2 to 7 hours in those days. The only interstate was from Mobile to Montgomery & Montgomery to Alabaster. But we made it. While in Tech School we completed a “Dream Sheet”, where you would like to get stationed if you were SO LUCKY. If you did or didn’t Volunteer for “Overseas Duty”. I did volunteer for “Overseas Duty”. I listed Vietnam (I didn’t mind it with the USAF), Thailand, & 1 other (?). Midway thru Tech School we got our assignments. I was assigned to Det #2 of The 601st Air Squadron of the 17ht AF in Ramstein, Gremany. GERMANY! HELL!, there had been TWO WORLD WARS (WWI & WWII) fought there! I was not lookin’ forward to that & tried to get it changed, but I was unsuccessful. Why me? GERMANY, Really? Damn!…”Hold’em Hook”!…..BG>

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