From biplanes to jets

Indian Harbour Beach, FL

My father, CM Sgt. Paul H. Niemeyer (retired), enjoyed many firsts in his long military career. He enlisted in 1943 and was stationed in Okinawa during World War II. He was the LAST enlisted pilot in the Army Air Corps, and flew as a crew chief for many years and was allowed to taxi jet fighters. He was last licensed to taxi the F-86D at Ethan Allen Air Force Base in Winooski, Vt. Dad was the first E-8 (SM Sgt.) made in the Air Force and the second E-9 (CM Sgt.) in the Air Force. Both Dad and a good friend of his had the same time in service and date of rank as M Sgts. The E-8 list was alphebetical, so Dad got the first, then they reversed the order and CM Sgt. Nelson Taylor obtained the honor of the first E-9. Both my father and Taylor retired on the same day and chose Melbourne, Fla., for their permanent homes. I followed in his footsteps with 11 years, 11 months and 29 days in the U.S. Army, before a medical retirement made me a civilian.

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