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Why am I here?



On June 22, 1971, I walked into this building that is as large as some cities.

At the Base Personnel Office in Wiesbaden Air Base, Germany, I was told it was a five-sided building in Arlington, Va., housing the Department of Defense, a U.S. military establishment, and that I would love my job there.

After all the Vietnam protestors I saw lying in the roads getting there, and at the entrance to the building, it was a scary place to be.

At the Pentagon Personnel Office, when I was told I was to be the new noncommissioned officer of the largest communications department in the world, you could push me over with a feather.

This young officer talking to me looked like a teenager. I told him I was a printer all these years, and that I did not want to change my career field.

He had my records in front of him, showing my Morse code training I had to become a radio operator, the dealings I had with control tower operators when I was flying, and my three years in Germany where I also was in charge of our communications department.

He also told me the General was waiting to welcome me to my new job.

I knew then why I was there.

Contributing writer Everett Vanover lives in Fairfield, Calif.



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