After the Korean War, our Headquarters Pacific Division (PACD) moved back stateside to Travis Air Force Base, Calif.
Everything was moved, about 750 military and civilian personnel, all our planes and everything in our headquarters. We then became Headquarters Western Air Force (WESTAF). We were in charge of all military air transport service bases on the West Coast and the Far East.
I had over 10 years of service at this time, and I was playing sports and trying to take care of myself. But, with my wife’s Southern cooking and eating in the mess hall with my men at noon, and loving sweets, I started putting on weight.
A notice was sent to all military personnel who were overweight by our surgeon general that we would report to their office on payday to pick up our checks. They had a large chart on their wall with our names and weight. If you did not lose weight by the next payday, you were in the lot of trouble.
The skinny guys were making fun of us.
About this time Travis wanted to build a golf course just outside of our gate. I had a lot of leave time and got permission from my commander to be hired laying pipes for the course. They would be paying $3 an hour, and I took 30 days off.
I weighed about 218 pounds when I started. I lost 15 pounds in those 30 days and I was feeling great and had a nice tan where I’d went without a shirt.
I was going by my print shop after work to see how my guys were doing. I decided to go for another 30 days and got permission to do so. After the second 30 days, I was down to 185 pounds and never felt better in my life.
I found out something about myself; losing weight isn’t easy, but nothing worth having in life is.
I had lost over 33 pounds, and learned that my road to fitness is paved in hard work and discipline, all to improve my health.