I went overnight from noncommissioned officer in charge (NCOIC) of the printing department on one base to be in charge of printing on three bases at the end of the Korean War when I was assigned to Hickam Fields in Hawaii in October 1955. I was a staff sergeant with nine years in the military.
My new job was with the Pacific Division (PACD) from Hawaii to Japan.
Two years later this command would move back to Travis Air Force Base in California, where we would assume command of Western Transport Air Force (WESTAF).
Initially, WESTAF consisted of one air division, one Naval Air Transport wing, four Air Force Air Transport wings, two Air Force heavy troop carrier wings, an aeromedical transport group, and an air transport group.
WESTAF units were host units at four Air Force bases, including Travis.
Geographically, the command’s span of control extended from Florida to Saudi Arabia, a distance of about 16,000 miles. This very broad area of responsibility, covering more than 37,000 miles of military air routes, was reduced in the autumn of 1958, when our East Coast bases were reassigned.
I’d never heard of some of those places. We went from a five-man print shop to over 20 printers in a few days.
October 1968, I was assigned to our headquarters in Germany as NCOIC of all offset printing in Europe for three years.
Starting as a 16-year-old kid off of a 100-acre farm in Kentucky, I think I did okay.
(Contributing writer Everett Vanover lives in Fairfield, Calif.)