Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Perfect Plan

Port Townsend, today. I certainly appreciate the comments I have received concerning my "Memorial Day" recollection.

However, my motive for joining the US Air Force was not quite so lofty as “Supporting the Cause of Freedom.” There was little evidence of that in Vietnam, like another misadventure, ill advised and executed.

Nor was my motivation driven to avoid the Draft Lottery. The Draft Lottery began long after I had served my time. The Draft Lottery was first held December 1, 1969. In fact, working as a Disc Jockey, one of my featured daily segments – “the Squirmer” – was devoted to announcing with much fan-fare and rolling drums “today’s winning number in the Ol’ Draft Lottery!”

However, if you were well placed in society, you had nothing to fear from the Lottery!

Not having any desire to flip burgers or wait tables, I fabricated a “winning plan” to finish my degree in Broadcast Journalism – derailed by the dazzling lights, flowing liquor, and charming ladies at a well-respected Washington State University Women’s Dorm Complex – I figured to kill two birds with one stone.

The plan was so simple, so clever, I could hardly contain myself! Voluntarily join the service and get into Armed Forces Radio and TV (AFRTS!) This approach got any danger of military service out of the way on MY terms, and Uncle Sam would give me a degree in Broadcast Journalism!

Is this not brilliant thinking?

Having been brought up around the water, worked on tugs and survey ships, I figured, what the heck, join the Navy. The Marines and Army looked too much like hard work. What future did I envision learning how to dig holes in the ground?

So, I laid out my plans to the Navy recruiter who was salivating in the presence of such an eager enlistee! Then the bozo blew it. Just before he had me “sign on the dotted line” he said, “Gotta hand it to you kid, you know what you want and you went for it! Ya know, radio operators on submarines can deploy a 600-foot long wire, under water, and using long wave transmitters, broadcast half way around the world!” (Big cheesy smile!)

Wait a minute! Hold the phone! Radio Operator? Submarines? Under water?

Obviously, my master plan needed serious refinement. I politely told the bewildered CPO that I would have to talk to my parents about all this, and would be back later!

Where upon I narrowly escaped “running silent, running deep!”

As I pondered my remaining choices, US Coast Guard or US Air Force, my mind flashed back to some terrifying experiences in the Gulf of Alaska whilst working on a tug for Alaska Freight Lines. I developed a “Coefficient of Hunger” theory. Simply stated, the higher the wave, the lower the appetite. And the wretched fear of dying in a terrifying blow out in the Gulf of Alaska, caught in 75 mile per hour winds and 20-foot seas on a 7-day crossing!

Leaving the Navy Recruiters office, I walked across the hall to the Air Force Recruiters office.

And that’s how I ended up at Hamilton Air Force Base.

0 Comments - Click here:

Post a Comment

"Comment" is for sharing information related to this article. "Anonymous" comments are not published.