At the end of the Korean War, I was assigned to Hickam Field, Hawaii, in October 1954, before Hawaii became a state. I was very happy to take my family with me.
My second day at Hickam Field, I was processing into the base to be the NCOIC (noncommissioned officer in charge) of the base printing department. A major called me to his office and told me to report to the headquarters of the Pacific Division Air Force (PACD) on the other side of the base on the shores of Pearl Harbor. He arranged transportation for me.
When we drove up to this very large building, I noticed that it was much nicer than the rest of the base. A captain was waiting for me and escorted me to the commander’s office.
Two Star Admiral Williamson got up and shook my hand. I noticed he had a copy of my records on his desk. The admiral was the commander of half Air Force and half Navy personnel, which included Japan, Korea, Hawaii, Alaska and Guam, an area that covers more than a million miles that extends from the west coast of the United States to the east coast of Africa and from the Arctic to the Antarctic.
The admiral tells me that his sergeant major had been in touch with the bases and I had been assigned to stateside, and was told that I was one of the best young printers in the Air Force. He then told me that I would be their new printing supervisor.
The sergeant major, a Kentucky man, turned out to be one of my lifelong friends, and we served together in PACD for the next 15 years, overseas and stateside. This was my best assignment of my 27-year career.
The admiral was a war hero, flying off aircraft carriers in the Pacific.
(Contributing writer Everett Vanover lives in California.)