I was a divorced mother of two small children who connected with the Army Reserve through my son's reading clinic teacher at the University of Southern Maine. Joan told me that I needed to be around grown-ups, not just the schoolchildren I taught. She said her husband Chris was recruited to be a reservist in the 76th Training Command in Lewiston, Maine. She said she too was recruited under a unique training program, CASP, for working women like us public school teachers. There was a dire need for clerk typists in the reserves. The program was an accelerated two weeks of basic training, no AIT, just OJT. She convinced me to join.
I joined in May 1975 the 76th Training Command. I had to be able to type 45 wpm and have my principal acknowledge that 20 percent of my job required written work. That was no problem as I continued to take college courses past my master's degree in education that required typed assignments. I had to get leave from my job as a classroom teacher in the Portland, Maine, public schools. I had to sign that if I were called up, my ex-husband would take the children. I was sent to Basic Training at Fort McClellan, Ala., the WAC basic training site, in November 1975.
I had never flown before. I thought the plane was on fire; it was just condensation from the air flow. I became Alice In Wonderland in a new world. I was 28 and marching with 18-year-olds. I was fitted with uniforms, went to race relation classes, PT, weapons qualifications and Pvt. Benjamin latrine duty. The most memorable person was Breckinridge in the barracks. She went to job corps in Poland Springs, Maine. She thought they told her Palm Springs. She went AWOL there and during basic training too.
20 years later, I retired from the 1033rd USAR school as a master sergeant.
Charlene Loughlin Vaughan, USAR (ret.)