In January 1950, Johnny Cash was assigned one of the first flights at Sampson Air Field, New York. North Korea had forced its way into South Korea a couple of months earlier, and we were in another war.
I was one of the first military men to arrive and open the base. I set up the base’s printing department in our base headquarters the second day on base.
When Johnny Cash arrived and was assigned his flight of 100 men, he found he could not just walk out of his barracks when he wanted to. When his flight went somewhere, they all went. His training instructor must have given him some time to be by himself. I saw Johnny a few time all over the base.
When I first met Johnny, not many airmen had arrived on base yet. Because of the job I had, most everyone on base knew me and my job. I don’t know why Johnny wanted to talk with me. Like everyone else, I felt very lucky that he wanted to talk to me.
What I did not know was that Johnny had told one of the newspapers that I was his buddy.
My boss, General Frances, told me to help Johnny in any way I could, so when he asked me for help I did what I could for him.
(Contributing writer Everett Vanover lives in Fairfield, Calif.)