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The assignment I had to think about taking


In 1968, I had just returned from the funeral of my baby brother, Roger, in Jenkins. I had 23 years of service in the Air Force and a good part-time job that wanted me to retire and work for them full time.

I received a call from my general to report to him now. When I walked into his office, I could tell by the look on his face that something was wrong.

He had just received a call from the Chief of Staff at the Pentagon. The printing department and message center of our Air Force Headquarters of all of Europe at Lindsey Air Station was a mess.

The Chief of Staff had served with me many times. He wanted me to report to Germany and straighten out the mess.

I would be there for three years, and here I was thinking about retiring from the Air Force. The master sergeant who was in charge there was fired and sent back to the states.

I talked it over with my family and the boss of my part-time job in Napa, Calif., telling him I would have one of my printers from Travis Air Force Base to come in weekends and do his printing until I returned.

My kids wanted to go to Germany, but my wife was not happy. We had been at Travis for 11 years, and would be leaving a lot of friends.

I took the assignment to Germany, and within 90 days I had the place running like a well-oiled clock. After three years, the Pentagon wanted me there. I only wish I had known what I was getting into.

I retired from the Air Force after 14 months there, went back to my part-time job, and worked full time there for 40 years.

I had been printing for 67 years at that time. I was due a long rest.

(Contributing writer Everett Vanover lives in California.)

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