In Elementary School I was a poor student, acted out a lot (too often), & spent too much time in the Principal’s Office, either waitin’ on the Principal or gettin a Paddlin’ (takin’ Licks) from him, with a custom made Paddle. Hell, they all had one! I’ll just say from my very 1st day of school thru my last year of High School I had very close relationships with ALL of my Principals & Boy’s Advisors. I must admit, I learned the true meanin’ of the phrase “Assume The Position”. And I must say “I was damn good at it”. Hell, I once even took a Paddlin’, got 3 Licks, from a Boy’s Advisor at a High School I didn’t even attend! I was just a “Victim of Circumstances” (more lessons there)! But the last Principal, another MAN, I had in Elementary School, for some odd reason, saw somethin’ in me! Yes, I had Failed two different Grades & was about to Fail one of those AGAIN! He arranged for me to attend a Pilot Program, “High School Ahead”, a Special Summer School Program, to get me back on track & back to where I needed to be. Lucky for me I PASSED! So I then, as previously agreed, I skipped the 8th grade & moved on to High School (the 9th grade) instead of being in the 7th grade for a 3rd time. Go figure? Hum-m-m!, “High School Ahead” (more lessons there).
Another special MAN entered my life in High School. I had an Assistant Coach in High School who was the Track Coach. I had great admiration for this Man. Not only, in my opinion, did he save the life (of a future friend & he still is) student there in front of me, but he was a Leader! I went out for several Sports in High School but just wasn’t dedicated enough to stick with’em. Except for TRACK! I had always loved to run, it came natural to me, others even thought I was good at it, & I loved to work hard at it. He made realize I was better than I thought I was. I just wasn’t the academician I needed to be to take it the next level. And he was always on me about that, he never gave up, I did. The other Coaches there, well I’ll just say I, personally, had NO Respect for them (more lessons there).
Ahhh, after High School I left for the Military, The United States Air Force (USAF). The Vietnam War was still goin’ strong. MY Draft Lottery Number was #35! I took measures so that I could have a choice of which Branch, of Military Service, I went into. I, along with three other High School friends (for their own reasons) Enlisted in The USAF, the Delayed Enlistment Program in March of 1971. I wanted to have some say as to which direction my future was goin’ to take. The US Army wasn’t for me. School ended in late May, on June the 23, 1971 I arrived @ Lackland Air Force Base, in Lovely San Antonio, Texas, for Basic Trainin’. Yes there too, there was a MAN/Basic Trainin’ Instructor (T. I.). Yes we were “Welcomed to the USAF”. We got all new cloths, a Duffel Bag to stuff all of my Government Issued (G.I.) needs inside, haircuts (shaved heads), a battery of Shots from Air Guns! Some of the guys in line there passed out, some got stitches, & some did both! That was an experience & entertainin’ in a way! So we learned the usual things, got in better shape than we were when we got there & for the most part survived (more lessons there).
I left lovely San Antonio, TX behind, in late August, headed for an 8 week stop in Gulf Port, MS @ Kessler AFB. I attended my Technical School (Aircraft Control & Warning [ACW] Systems) training there & learned NOT to Salute a Two (2) Star/Major General, another MAN, with my Left Hand (more lessons there)!
When I arrived in Germany there was, another MAN, an Ole Master Sargent, my Crew Chief, that took me under his wing. He & his wife were a very loving couple. I learned a lot from him about the Military/USAF. I made many friends there, mostly my age (+/-) & for the most part they were Military Dependents/Military Brats. My Bride was one of them! Yes, we met & got married there. There were also two MEN, Fathers, of friends/Military Brats, that were very acceptin’ of me. They invited me into their families & family activities. One was Enlisted & knew I was in the USAF. The other was an Officer & I don’t think he knew I was in the USAF for about 2 1/2 years, until they got a Wedding Invitation to our Wedding! (more lessons there)…to be continued…”Hold’em Hook”!…..BG>