In 1948 at the age of 19, I asked for and got a change in my career field. The military sent me to Lackland Air Base, Texas, for “on job training” in the printing career field.
You don’t just jump in and start running the equipment. The department I was assigned to was the base reproduction and special orders section. I was to start off as a proof reader, very boring and hard on the eyes. Next room was the printing department and on my lunch breaks I would watch the operators run the equipment. I even took the operating manuals to me barracks to study. I wanted to get my hands on one of those babies.
After a couple of months, I was watching one of the press operators trying to repair his press that was down. I had been repairing cars for years and thought I could help him. All the others printers were gone to lunch and I asked him if I could help him. We worked on the press and got it going again.
Unknown to me, my boss was watching us from his office and came over to me and told me I was no longer a proof reader, that in the morning I would be working in the print shop.
That made me very happy. I not only became a good printer, I was the first person to learn to operate all the new equipment that came into our shop, a new press, collator or camera. After about 18 months I was put in charge of the shop of the 12 young printers. The other printers did not seem to have the get up and go that I had.
In 1950 the war started in Korea and my boss picked me to open one of the printing departments at one of the new bases that the Air Force opened to train all the new men that we needed for this new war. Later I was asked to help write a text for all new printers that is in use today.
I ended up printing in the Air Force for the next 24 years of my 27 years in the military.