During the 14 months I was assigned to the Pentagon, I saw and talked to the president three times.
The first time was when the secretary of the Chief of Staff called me to her office when her copy machine had a jam. The president was in another room talking to the Chief of Staff. When he was leaving, he came to the copy machine to see what I was doing.
He made me so nervous as he watched me. He said, “You look like you know what you are doing, Sergeant.” I told him I had been working on this model for over 20 years.
He wanted to know all about my work in the Pentagon, where I was from, and the assignments I’d had. When he found out I was at Travis Air Force Base in California for 13 years, he told me about his trips there.
The second time I saw him was when the officers challenged the non-commissioned officers to a softball game, and I hit the only home run in the game. After the game, he came over to shake my hand.
The third time was at my retirement. He handed me a Certificate of Appreciation for my 27 years of service in the Armed Forces of the United States. He said my boss told him that I did an outstanding job while I was there.
The last time I saw the President he was getting on a helicopter to leave the White House for good.
(Contributing writer Everett Vanover lives in Fairfield, Calif.)