My last two months at our European headquarters at Lindsey Air Station in Wiesbaden, Germany, I had my orders for my new assignment at the Pentagon. My replacement had reported to me during this time. He had never been in a position like my job before. He had been in administration for years and had transferred into the printing career field a few years back.
I found out he could do the paperwork, but to approve printing jobs like telephone books from England or top secret maps for the Army, I knew he would be out of his element. He also had trouble relating to the printers when they found out he could not repair the equipment when it went down. I must have told him a hundred times the way things had to be done. He followed me everywhere I went, and he was beginning to get on my nerves.
When our commander found out the new man was having a hard time, he asked me if I would consider extending another year. I told him my wife would kill me. She never liked Germany, and here I was going to Virginia where all her folks lived.
The last couple of weeks, my printers gave my family and me a sightseeing trip down the river Rhine, and they threw me a 42nd birthday and going-away party. It made me sad, knowing they did not want me to go. Let’s face it, they did not like the new guy.
During my three years in Germany, our message center print shop was working 24/7. They were a couple of rooms away from our main shop, and I was on call to repair their equipment. We also had a field printing plant five miles from our headquarters with 155 workers. I’ve never been so busy in my 27-year career and had to clear the base, turn my car in to be shipped stateside, and the last week my family moved into the Amelia Earhart Hotel in Wiesbaden, waiting for our aircraft to us back to the States.
When I checked into the Pentagon, my old commander, who was now a general, paid me a visit to tell me my replacement in Germany had been replaced.
(Contributing writer Everett Vanover lives in California.)