During my 27 years in the Air Force, in the early 1960s, it all began.
The first time was when my commander called me into his office to tell me he was sending me on a very important trip. He said many newspeople would be asking me questions about my trip. He said he picked me as I was in the top five percent of his NCO’s.
The war in Vietnam had not started all out yet. I was to escort the first Air Force master sergeant who was killed there to Arlington National Cemetery to be buried there. He knew I could talk to the press.
The second time: The Air Force said I would go to the NCO Academy, where only the top five percent attended. I would train Air Force One’s crew while there.
The third time: I was told in late 1970 I would assigned to the Pentagon, where only the top five percent of the military are sent. I was there 14 months in charge of a whole wing.
I know I was not in the top five percent, and I was getting tired of them telling me I was.
I put in for retirement, and was out in one year.
(Contributing writer Everett Vanover lives in Fairfield, Calif.)