When I was assigned to Lackland Field, San Antonio, Texas in Oct. 1948, my other three roommates were Jerry Bourne, “The Chief” and Sergeant Titues.
Jerry was from Indiana and played on the base’s softball team. I soon learned he was one of the top-10 pitchers in the U.S.
He knew I was a player and asked me to try out for the team. I watched the team play and they had a couple of pro players. I knew they were better players than I was, and did not try out.
Jerry also played for a team in town and asked me to join them, which I did. I played left field for them the two years I was at Lackland.
They were sponsored by a large clothing store that bought our uniforms and fed us after the games. Military people could not accept money, but we could get clothes from them at a large discount.
“The Chief ” I learned about later from reading about him in our printing department. Some classified papers were printed of him as an Indian “code talker” assigned to Wake Island in World War II.
It was years later before folks knew who the “code talkers” were.
Sergeant Titues and I were on the same orders that sent us to Sampson Air Base in New York in December 1949 after war broke out in Korea in June 1947.
I was in charge of the printing and he would run the personnel department as he was a hero in England as a nose gunner and shot down more German fighters than anyone else.
He was called to the White House so many times. They promoted him to officer rank. I had coffee with him almost every morning the four years we were at Sampson Air Base.
My good friend Jerry, I never heard from again. We played many softball games together. I don’t recall him ever not winning his game.
He also, like me, could hit the long balls. I hit more homeruns than any other player during the two years I played.
Contributing writer Everett Vanover lives in Fairfield, Calif.