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What happened to the recruits?


The Korean War broke out in June 1949. The only base to train men for the Air Force was Lackland Field in Texas. The Pentagon opened Parks Air Force Base in Dublin, Calif., in the west, and Sampson Air Base, Geneva, N.Y., in the east to train recruits.

Sampson was a Navy base during World War II. I was asked to open the base printing department in December 1949. Basic training began in February 1950.

When I arrived after my tour in Texas, I never saw so much snow in my life. The Pentagon had made a big mistake in picking Sampson to train recruits in the eastern states.

There were large, deep ravines on base, and they were full of snow 10 feet deep.

Rumor was we lost many men in the ravines, and they were never seen again.

My theory, I think they went AWOL to get away from that place.

(Contributing writer Everett Vanover lives in Fairfield, Calif.)

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