My first overseas tour was to my assignment in Hawaii by way of Fort Mason, San Francisco, California. I was stationed at Parks Air Base as noncommissioned officer (NCOIC) in charge of the base printing department. My family and I took 30 days leave to go to Jenkins to visit my parents.
After my leave, and on my back to California, my car broke down in the Nevada desert. I called Fort Mason and told them I would be late, as I would have to get my car repaired. I was told the ship would be leaving in two days, and that my orders would be sent to Travis Air Base and that we would be flying to Hawaii.
I had my car repaired and drove to Travis, where they had quarters for my family and me. The next morning I drove to Oakland and turned my car in for shipment to Hawaii, and caught the bus back to Travis.
At 5 a.m. the next morning, we left Travis on a C-54 transport plane for Hawaii. It was the first airplane trip for my family. One of the motors went out before we reached the point of no return, and we had to return to Travis after an all-day trip.
The next morning at 5 a.m. we were on another aircraft headed for Hawaii. Everyone on the flight was very nervous. We made it to Hickam Field, Hawaii, which turned out to be one of my best assignments. I was the NCOIC of printing for the Far East, and my family loved Hawaii. This was before Hawaii became a state, and I was getting overseas pay.
Two years later, I was back at Travis where I was assigned for the next 11 years. My boss, Col. Evensizer, loved to go deep sea fishing. He talked my family and me into going on one of his fishing trips. After all my overseas tours, I had yet to be on a boat.
We left San Francisco on a large fishing boat, went under the Golden Gate Bridge and into the Pacific Ocean. Everyone was having a ball. The adults were catching a lot of fish. The kids were everyone on the boat. Everyone was having fun, except this old boy. I never was so sick in my life. I spent the whole day with my head hanging over the rail, throwing up.
Needless to say, I never went near another boat.
(Contributing writer Everett Vanover lives in California.)