During wartime, the printing department was open 24/7. In the early 1960’s when things heated up in Vietnam, we went from 12 printers to 20 some on three shifts. We printed from all Military Air Transport Service bases from the Mississippi River to Japan.
Most of the airmen I received were right out of basic training. They were put on OJT (on job-training) in the printing career field.
On morning, I received a phone call from the Office of Special Investigation (OSI) to report to their office, and not to talk to anyone. I knew these people. I did their printing for years.
When I arrived, I was led into a room that had no windows. I was wondering, what had I done now?
I was told I could not say anything to anyone about what we would be talking about. They informed me that dope was being sold from our print shop loading ramp at night. They wanted to set up a camera across the street from our loading ramp. I was to return to my shop as if nothing had happened, and talked to no one about my visit to the OSI office.
Out outside loading ramp was used by my printers who smoked, as they could not smoke in the print shop because of the fluids we used.
Two nights later, I get a call to my quarters to report to my print shop. They had arrested one of my young printers who worked the night shift. The airman was selling dope to high school students on base who he knew before he went into the Air Force. He was discharged from the military.
His dad was a retired colonel, and was working in my headquarters as a civilian. I knew him for many years, and felt so sorry for him.
( Columnist Evere t t Vanover lives in California.)