In 1973 I decided to join the USAF. I am not really sure why but I liked the idea of free schooling and the veterans benefit packages. I suspect it also had something to do with my grandfather and several uncles having served.
I took the aptitude test and having scored high enough signed up for a guaranteed job in electronics. I had to travel to Seattle, living in Puyallup, to go to the recruitment center to complete my paperwork and get a “physical” and my father decided to come with me. On the freeway, I had a flat and ended up on the left side near a barrier. It was very dangerous and my father had been medically retired so he could not help. I tried to get him to stay in the car but he came out in the dark traffic and stood by my side. (I was later told by mom that he was determined to be hit first if something happened) The tire was replaced and off we went. I failed the physical due to an ingrown toenail, rated 4F. (went to the doctor and had it fixed and passed the next time)
I was on a deferred enlistment, not having been 18 when I signed up nor having completed high school yet. I completed those two items and went back to the center in July and off to basic I went with about 6 other recruits. We arrived in San Antonio and the next months were filled with excitements, fear, regret and excitement, in that order……
Our flight (that was what our class was called) lost 2 people along the way and we ended up graduating and off to classes, I to Denver for the next 48 weeks. Our flight had a sister flight, up one floor from us. It is common to have a sister flight you refer to as “that” flight, the loud one filled with trouble makers. Unfortunately I belonged to that one. We had a couple of blanket parties, failed inspections, a Flu rate of about 20%, and flight instructors that ignored us most of the time. It was common to be asked who our instructor was and when we informed them of it, was told “it figured” while they shook their head and walked away.
Denver was very interesting. My first class was a basic electronics class which we skated through getting top grades. Our specialized class consisted of 8 students and two instructors, I graduated seconded in that class and off to Korea I went. (after a series of shots, appointments, etc…)