Whitesburg KY
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My last assignment

My three-year assignment overseas was the Air Force Headquarters in Europe, the second largest military office building in the world.

Now, here I was pulling into the parking lot of the Pentagon that held over 5,000 cars. I must have walked one-half mile to get to the entrance of the largest office building in the world.

I reported to the personnel office to sign in and to find out where I was to work. They took a photo of me and put it on my new ID badge that I would wear at all times.

As I looked around the office, I noticed that my badge was a different color than the other airmen. I was told that my badge would allow me to go anywhere in the Pentagon.

I was escorted to my new workplace on the third floor, the largest message center in the world. I entered into the largest room I’d ever seen in my lifetime.

Just inside the door was a guard who checked my ID badge. He then made a phone call, and a Col. Wilson came out to greet me. He took me to his office and talked to me for about an hour. He had my records in front of him and knew all about me.

I was the first printer who had ever been assigned to the Pentagon as the noncommissioned officer in charge (NCOIC) of the Message Center. Col. Wilson told me I would be on the swing shift as it had more messages coming in from all over the world than the other two shifts combined, and the most airmen working that shift.

During the swing shift was the bombing of Vietnam and would take many hours to take care of all the messages that came in. I would be on call to repair all copy and printing equipment in the Pentagon after 5 p.m. The civilian company that took care of them during the day would not come in after 5 p.m.

The Pentagon during wartime with all the top recruits and guards everywhere was almost like a prison for me. I knew this job was not for me and I put in for retirement.

I went back to California where I had a job waiting for me, and worked until I was 81 years old, and played Senior Softball for 34 years.

The stories I write for The Mountain Eagle have been a plus for me. I love it.

Contributing writer Everett Vanover lives in Fairfield, Cal.

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