My service to the United States of America

I entered the U.S. Air Force under the opposition of my mother - Oh, she was angry! However, I stood at the Greyhound station in downtown Youngstown, Ohio, in the early hours of Aug. 20, 1971. My best friend, Al, also joined me as we rode the bus to Cleveland and took the oath.

I never looked back after that day. The next several years were good years, not a bad day - except the day I prayed to God that if He got me through this I would be in His service forever! I think we were in the mire of mud, crawling on our bellies with an M-16 replica and what sounded like LIVE rounds going off over our heads.

I spent my first few months at Lackland, Chanute and then Iceland - the Black Knights and the 57th FIS - we were the last operational active unit flying the Duce, the F-102. What a workhorse and it was great! The parka, muckluck boots (I still have them) and the flight line. I was the only one striper (Airman) in the unit and I was teased as well. I got a real high when we launched sorties in the early hours of the morning - the exhaust trail seemed to be a mile long (I love afterburner!).

The next eight years were full of excitement, learning and new experiences. Maine, Mississippi, South Carolina are all great places to be stationed. The fellow airmen, the training and work were full of memories I'll never forget.