From my first days in the Army Air Corps, our instructor from Hazard took me under his wing. He taught me to march our flight, and everything our flight would need to know in the three months we were together.
After our day was over, I would go out to the parade field and watch other flights march. Some were very good, and I would use some of the songs they sang during marching and the moves they made into my flight (most songs were xrated).
After a couple of weeks, my flight was looking good. Many military people would come out of their office and watch us as we marched by. When we got to the mess hall three times a day, the mess sergeant came out and told me my flight could eat first because we were the best flight there. Some of the other flights became very upset.
On our five-mile hike to the rifle range once a week, the other flights would move off the road and watch as we went by.
In the many parades we marched in, my flight was asked to lead the parade.
We received many awards for marching, and also for being the only flight where all my men were sharpshooters before our training was over, which was a first for the base. I was so proud of these guys.
In the early ‘60s, I was picked to train the president’s Air Force One crew at the Noncommissioned Officer Academy, McDill Field, Florida, for five weeks. These men had not marched since basic training many years ago. We not only won the award for marching, we won for having the best softball team. I had seven home runs in the six games we played.
I was a top printer during my military career, but in my records there was always this bit about me being a good marching instructor. It sometimes took me away from a very hot project I was working on.
I grew not too fond of the marching.
(Contributing writer Everett Vanover lives in Fairfield, Calif.)