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My secretary at the Pentagon


When I signed in at the Pentagon and was told I would be working out of my career field as a printing supervisor, I thought about putting in for my retirement. I would be the new noncommissioned officer in charge of the hundreds of workers in the largest message center in the world that was open 24/7 while the United States was trying to get out of Vietnam.

My department had both male and female military and civilian workers.

The best thing that happened to me was the staff sergeant they assigned me as my secretary. Staff Sergeant Donald Dickerson was the fastest male typist I’ve ever seen. He had worked in the message center almost three years, and would get out of the military in a few months. He did everything for me, all my reports and answering my phone, and knew a lot of people who worked in the Pentagon.

Near the end of his time in the military, he had a chance to work in a large company in Oak Ridge, Tenn., that did classified work for the government, and asked me to help him get the job.

I wrote a letter to the head of the company and told them they would never find a better worker than Dickerson. I told them all about him and that he had a top secret clearance and would fit right in with their company.

Dickerson got the job.

About six months after Dickerson worked at his new job, I get a call from his boss, telling me he never met a worker like Dickerson, that he was now in charge of he department he was working in. He wanted to thank me for helping him get that job.

We keep in touch.

(Contributing writer Everett Vanover lives in Fairfield, Calif.)

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