Basic training, Sampson Air Force Base, Seneca, N.Y. - I was born in Hamilton, N.Y., in 1932. After I graduated from high school, I worked for the town in the summer. A bunch of us were sitting around one evening, talking, and three of my friends said, “Let’s go to Syracuse and enlist in the Navy!” So we did. When we tried, the Navy was full, so we enlisted in the Air Force. Next was 12 weeks of Basic Training.
The thing I remember most was a November snow. We were going through a bad day in the physical part of our training, and we were on our stomachs, crawling in full packs with barbed wire six inches from our butts. We had our weapons in our hands in the mud. My buddy next to me said, “You all think they’re firing real bullets?” and I said “Stick your head up and see!” Neither one of us even tried!