During his school break, my younger brother Dickie spent one summer with my family at Sampson Air Base in New York. I lived in Watkins Glen, a long drive to my base. I sometimes took Dickie to my print shop with me.
My printers loved him. We would all go to the mess hall together. The guys would talk to him, tell him all kinds of big bear tales. Dickie enjoyed his stay with his big brother.
When Dickie was of age, he wanted to join the Air Force. With Mom’s okay I made a couple of phone calls and he was accepted into the Air Force for basic training at Lackland Field, Tex.
I did not want him at Sampson. I knew I would worry about him.
After basic, he had a tour in Korea as a cook. I wanted to help him get the job he wanted. Cooks, Air Police and the motor pool were the careers you wanted to stay away from in the military. He told me that he liked being a cook.
I visited him a few times at the base he was assigned. The one base on the border of Canada was a SAC Base called, “The Dew Line.” He was the mess sergeant on this missile base.
Security was very tight and when I got to the main gate and told the MPs I was there to visit my brother, they all knew Dickie. One of the MPs escorted me to the mess hall, where Dickie worked.
Dickie knew just about everyone on base. All these guys liked him, and I was very happy for him. He also served as mess sergeant in Viet Nam.
During my assignment to the Pentagon, Dickie had retired with 22 years of service. He was then a forest ranger for the state of Virginia, and would visit my family often.
Contributing writer Everett Vanover lives in Fairfield, Calif.