When my three-year tour of Germany was over, I let my wife talk me into taking the assignment to the Pentagon so she would be near some of her kinfolks who were working nearby.
I signed in at the Pentagon thinking I would be working in the printing department. Then I find out I was to be the noncommissioned officer in charge, Message Control Section, Message Distribution Branch, Headquarters Tele-Communications Center Activity, Communications – Electronics Operations Division and Printing Department of the 2044th Communications Group, the Pentagon, Washington, D.C.
What a mouthful.
I had been in charge of the Message and Distribution Center in Germany for three years, but nothing compared to this huge department with 47 workers.
Then I find I would be working with other governmental agencies.
Our commander wanted me to take over the shift from 3 to 11 p.m., because of the heavy workload. That was also during the heavy fighting in Vietnam, when we would be getting messages from all over the world.
Then I find I had other duties. I would be called on when the hundreds of copy machines in the Pentagon had a paper jam.
If classified material was in the copier, I had to get in touch with the proper people and write up a report of everything that happened.
After the Pentagon found they had someone who could repair most printing equipment without paying some outfit downtown to fix it, most of my time was spent away from my office.
I do not know why I stayed for a year. I was a wreck. I put my retirement papers in and was out of there in 90 days.
I was awarded my third Oak Leaf Cluster to the Air Force Commendation Medal for my work there from President Nixon.
Contributing writer Everett Vanover lives in Fairfield, Calif.