In December 1947, not finding work in Jenkins, I took a bus to Roanoke, Va., to reenlist into the military.
When I arrived I found that I was one of seven prior servicemen who were going back in the military. Of course, we all had to take a by-pass test since we were prior servicemen, but somehow my name wasn’t on the list.
I learned that my records were erased where it showed that I had prior military training, but this was corrected and I did take the test and actually did pretty well with it.
I was sent to Langley Field, Va., and after being at the base for about a week, I was told to report to the dispensary for some test. I walked in and found that they wanted to check my vision. I looked at the eye chart and my heart stopped.
Prior to taking my physical the first time I enlisted in the Army Air Corps, I went to a few doctors’ offices and memorized all the eye charts that I could to pass the test. I did this because I had poor vision in my left eye.
When the doctor at the base had me read the chart he started with my right eye, which I had no problem with. Then I covered my right eye and he said to read the chart with my left eye. I told him that I couldn’t, and then continued to tell him why.
He looked at me and told me that he could have me home for breakfast the next day if I wanted. But I asked him to please let me stay, and so he did.
As a result, I spent my next 25 years in the U.S. Air Force. I really owe a lot to that doctor.
Contributing writer Everett Vanover lives in Fairfield, Calif.