The biggest reason I had for leaving the military is that I was tired of running the gauntlet of Vietnam protestors to get inside of the Pentagon for work.
Even after I put myself on the swing shift where 75 percent of the work was done, I still had a hard time getting inside this large building because protestors were everywhere.
Thousands of cars were parked around the Pentagon, and you had to remember where you parked — especially after dark. You had to make sure your car was in shape to drive, and with no flat tires. The snow in wintertime was not good to us.
Most of my people wore fatigues to work, not nice uniforms that 99 percent of the others wore. Highranking officers were asking my boss for help on dirty jobs until I put a stop to it. I wrote a short letter saying our department would no longer do work for other departments because of our heavy workload.
I asked our 2-star commander to sign it so I could print it in our daily newsletter for all to read. My boss did not know that I had talked to the Air Force chief of staff whom I knew as a young captain 25 years ago. If my boss did not sign the letter, he would.
My boss signed the letter and I printed the letter and made sure all departments got a copy. My people were so happy that they did not have to go outside our department to work for people they did not know.
My last full day of work my people from the other two shifts came to say their goodbyes. It was so hard on all of us. There was a lot of crying going on. I had become very close to these people, military and civilians alike.
My boss was the last to say goodbye. He opened his mouth to say something, but no words came out.
I had arranged to pick up my awards and papers at the chief of staff ’s office. Nixon showed up and I almost had an accident.
Soon my family and I were on our way to Jenkins, after 27 years of military life. I would work at my new job until I was 87 years old.
(Contributing writer Everett Vanover lives in Fairfield, Calif.)