Basic training

I was in the delayed enlistment program and enlisted in June 1966, but only departed for training in late September 1966. Air Force training was mostly taking place at Lackland AFB in Texas, however there was a spinal meningitis epidemic going on at Lackland, so our class was diverted to Amarillo AFB in the Texas panhandle. It was a bonus because our training program was reduced from 16 weeks to 12 weeks. It wasn't much of a bonus with the weather because it got plenty cold, to the point that we were allowed to wear our "horse blanket" overcoats and wrap a bathroom towel around our necks when we were marching to and from the chow hall. I remember we got in very late the first night and the TIs said not to worry, that they would let us sleep in. Of course that didn't happen; at 5 o'clock that morning they were tearing through the barracks yelling and screaming to get up. I was designated as a squad leader because, believe it or not, I followed the instructions best in making my bed and stocking my locker. A favorite memory was on mail call days; if someone got cookies or a cake we would sit around the barracks and share treats and talk, all because our TI had a sweet tooth and he would sit with the recruits and eat cookies too. On the downside, one of the recruits in a nearby barracks went to the roof and jumped to his death. All in all my Air Force career was very rewarding, I ended up in Europe and got to see many countries that otherwise I would not have seen.

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