In 1948 I was assigned to the printing department at Lackland Field, Tex., for onjob training. The supervisor was a non-printer.
I wanted to learn to use all the equipment in the shop. All the printers want to do their time, get out of the military, go home and find a civilian job where they could make lots of money that they were not making in the military. They had no time to train me.
I took the equipment manuals to my barracks at night and read them many times until I knew all about each piece of equipment.
I had more time in grade and service than the other printers, and our boss put me in charge of them. I never fit in with some of these me. I knew then that I would never treat my workers the way they treated me.
In my 27-year career I guided decades of men and women, groomed them into NCOs and mentored them in their military careers. I got to know their families and helped them any way I could. They became a part of my life.
It’s easy to treat them like family, because they were. These printers knew all my family.
In 1968, when I was assigned my last three-year tour in Europe, eight of my 20-some stateside printers volunteered for Europe to work for their old boss again.
After 55 years, many of these people are still in touch with me.
Contributing writer Everett Vanover lives in Fairfield, Calif.