After World War II, we lost a lot of good men who were discharged and sent home. The military became shorthanded.
During this time North Korea was sending raids into South Korea. The small South Korean Army and the few Americans there needed help.
South Korea drafted more men, and the U.S. sent in more troops.
The Pentagon needed officers fast. Its plan was to have new men come into the military. They would be trained for three months, and then become officers. They became known as ‘90-day wonders.’
I was on my way to Lackland Field in San Antonio, Tex., to start my on-the-job training for the printing career field. Lackland Field had a cannon in front of the headquarters I worked in. The cannon was shot off each evening to announce the end of the workday for most people.
After work each day, an Officer of the Day (OD) and his helper, an enlisted man (CQ, Company Quarters), would shoot the cannon and take down the American flag.
I had not been on base long when my name came up for CQ duty. The officer I got had just completed the 90-day training. When it was time to shoot the cannon and take our flag down, the young man froze.
I had seen the cannon shot many times, so I went out, shot the cannon, and took down the flag. Many GIs were standing in front of the flagpole at attention, saluting the flag.
I was told later that the young officer went through training again.
(Contributing writer Everett Vanover lives in Fairfield, Calif.)