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My first overseas assignment

While assigned to Parks Air Base, Calif., as noncommissioned officer in charge (NCOIC) of base printing, I was a staff sergeant and my boss was a non-printer master sergeant. We disagreed about most everything.

After a year, I knew I had to get away from him. I put in for another assignment and got Hickam Field, Hawaii within a few days.

Good printing noncommissioned officers (NCOs) were hard to find in those days; the war was over and they could make a lot of money as a civilian. My Air Force records had me as an outstanding printing NCO.

My family and I were to report to Fort Mason, San Francisco after a two-week visit to my parents in Jenkins. On our way back to California I had car trouble and was a day late reporting to Fort Mason.

I could get my car on the ship, but my family and I would fly out of Travis Air Base to Hawaii.

At 5:30 a.m., two days later, we were on a Military Air Transport plane on our way to Hawaii. I had flown over most of the United States, but this was the first flight for my family. My wife was a little scared, but my kids loved it.

Before we got to the point of no return, one engine went out and we had to return to Travis. At 5:30 the next morning, we were on another plane on our way to Hawaii again.

It was in October, and I was in my winter dress uniform. When we landed, this old boy felt the heat. Hawaii had not become a state yet.

My car would be another week getting there. They had a small place rented for us near the base, but I had to hitch a ride to the base.

While processing in to my new job, they got a phone call about me to report to Admiral Williamson’s office. He was the commander of the Pacific Division Headquarters of the Far East (PACD).

Instead of working as NCOIC of the base printing department, I was picked to work as the head man for all the Far East.

I worked for the Military Air Transport Service for the next 15 years, overseas and stateside as NCOIC of printing. It was the best job of my 27-year career. Eleven of those years were at Travis Air Force Base in California.

I made technical sergeant and master sergeant over the next four years.

Contributing writer Everett Vanover lives in Fairfield, Calif.

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