On Dec. 1, 1972, I celebrated my retirement from the Air Force at the Pentagon with the airmen and civilian employees where I was noncommissioned officer in charge, Message Distribution Branch, Headquarters Telecommunication Division, Message Control Section, and Printing Department of the 2044th Communications Group, the Pentagon.
My Air Force career started when I was about 10 years old, when I flew in an airplane in Wise County, Va. Afterward, I just stood there and looked at the airplane.
Then I said to myself, that’s it. I joined the Army Air Corps as a young teenager, and have been very fortunate to have a 27-year career in the Air Force.
Twenty-four of those years I was a printer, which was a part of the mission people don’t usually think about. The printing we do enables planes to stay airborne to meet mission requirements, some of which are to provide critical ground support.
I’ve lost count of how many times I was deployed. I have been most everywhere in Europe, Japan, and most of the islands in between. Even Canada a few times. I’ve also been assigned to many bases stateside.
I also was fortunate to fly with our headquarters commander many times, whom I knew well, and I flew with many war heroes.
I was very lucky to have people and relationships that I made in the Air Force in my printing career. Good friends and coworkers made my job a lot easier. We served through many wares together.
Last but not least, I want to thank the writers of The Mountain Eagle and Pam Walker for all the help they gave this old hillbilly.
(Contributing writer Everett Vanover lives in Fairfield, Calif.)