Whitesburg KY
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Joining the U.S. Air Force


In the 1940s, what is now the U.S. Air Force was called the Army Air Corps.

I took my GED test along with a few other Jenkins high school teammates. I was the only one to pass.

After basic training in the Army Air Corps, I was sent to Langley Field, Va., and assigned to the 9th Air Force Air and Sea Rescue. I was trained as a crew chief on an L-5 aircraft.

I was one of the young boys who learned to fly the plane I was in charge of.

My pilot was not looking well on one of our flights and I took over and landed our plane. We told no one else. The General found out and gave me a promotion. A lot of the crew chiefs were now working for me. I also got a three-day pass home to Jenkins.

I had never been home in my uniform, and being very shy I was not sure I could face the girls in my class at school. The first two ladies I met in the hallway kissed me. I almost fainted.

In those three days I had my first date. I was in hog heaven. A lot of the ladies had a photo with me during that time. They all grew up with me, knowing I was very shy and very poor.

Some of my classmates wrote me for years, and still write.

When I got back to base, I had my first overseas orders waiting for me.

I worked had and made many promotions. I’ve had some great jobs all over the world.

(Contributing writer Everett Vanover lives in California.)

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