October 1968, my commander at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., called me to his office.
The chief of staff at the Pentagon has just got off the phone with him. He wanted me, as the ranking master sergeant of the printing career field, to go PCS (Permanent Change of Station) to our Air Force headquarters in Europe and straighten out the mess our printing and message center had been in for some time.
During this time, I had 23 years in the military, and had just made my last payment on my house. I talked it over with my family about retiring, and starting working full time at the printing job I had been working part time in Napa, Calif., for years.
My commander said the chief of staff had known me most of his Air Force career, and that I would be the person to help the headquarters get back on its feet.
I’d been a sucker all my military career for helping the Air Force when asked.
So, I sold my house and took the assignment to Europe for three years. What a mess I walked into.
The chief of staff called me after the 90 days I was straightening the place up, to thank me. He told me I did a great job from the reports he got back.
I wondered why my next assignment was to the Pentagon.
(Contributing writer Everett Vanover lives in California.)