My headquarters in Germany was in command of all Air Force bases in Europe. I had been in Germany six months when I received a call from Burtonwood Air Force Base, Lancashire in northern England. I was asked to fly there and repair the only printing press on base. I talked to the young printer; he knew very little about the press.
I had over 20 years in my printing career at this time and knew most of the older printers all over the world. The printer I was talking to, I’d never heard of before.
The press had been down two days. He did not know what was wrong with it. The base plans department had some classified work to be printed.
The young printer told me the model of the press. I packed a small bag of parts, called Rhein Main Air Base for a flight to that base. There was nothing flying to that base. I asked to speak to the officer in charge and told him why I had to get to that base. He said he’d call me back. The officer called back and a transport plane was flying to a nearby base, would fly me to Burton- wood, and pick me up in 24 hours for my return flight to my headquarters.
I drove to Rhein Main Air Base and the plane took off as soon as I boarded. It was a five-hour flight, and the young printer picked me up. I knew in a very short time what was wrong with the press. The officer in charge was watching me. I could have fixed the press in minutes, but I did not want him to know I could. I replaced a couple parts, did some adjusting on the press, and started the press. Everyone was happy.
A nearby Army base knew I was there and wanted me to come and check out their press. It was about 20 miles to their base and the motor pool would give me a car to drive. I had not driven in England yet and I was not up to driving those 20 miles on the wrong side of the road. I told them on the phone what was wrong with their press.
The plane picked me up the next day. I was very glad to get back to Germany.
Contributing writer Everett Vanover lives in Fairfield, Calif.