This history was provided to John Quinn in 1998 in response to an invitation to the Class 58B Reunion.
Subj: History of Curtis E. Darfler & family
I was pleased to receive your E-mail the other day. Though we are not sure as to whether we will be able to attend, perhaps this letter will render me a "known" within the group for something other than being "Ramp Champ" at OCS.
As mentioned during our phone conversation, my present wife, Betty, has been the only one for the past 46 years. Betty was one of the "hat & glove" group of officer candidate wives, which made OCS an unforgettable experience for her too.
I think that the quickest way to bring you up to date is just to make a rambling synopsis of events since June 20. 1958. We left San Antonio and went to Waco, TX for primary navigator school. That was completed during 1959 and I was assigned to Mather AFB for advanced navigator upgrading. I had been assigned as Radar Navigator on B-47's at Whiteman AFB, Mo. And that was my next stop. It was interesting that I had been a "7" Level technician on B-47 bombing systems prior to OCS. As a new B-47 Radar Navigator, I felt that I was right at home. Anyhow, SAC liked what I did and I received a "spot" to Major in 1963. They closed Whiteman in 1963 and our crew was transferred intact to Pease AFB, in New Hampshire. I held my spot until reassigned in 1966. I had a DOS, so SAC would not "'upgrade" me to F-111's, or B-52's. Instead, they sent me to C-23 Navigators training in Columbus, OH., then packed us off to Tachikawa, Japan for a three year assignment. When we arrived in Tachikawa and the wife and four children were in the guest house the squadron sent me out on a three day mission. Actually the "mission" turned out to be a "check out" flight for me and we spent three weeks in Vietnam! Betty was stir crazy by the time I returned. During my three years in Tachi, I was in Vietnam for 450 days and saw a lot of everything. I was promoted to Major while in Japan. After 35 months of our 36-month tour, they closed our Air Division and transferred us all to PACAF Hdqtrs. in Hawaii. I became Chief of Operational Requirements for PACAF and it was the best assignment we had ever had, in fact, It was the only decent assignment we had ever had. But it wasn't to last long! While I was in Japan, I made regular. Now that I was in Hawaii, SAC found out that I was a regular officer and wanted me back. I immediately tried to retire but SAC said that I was critical to the needs of the USAF as a B-52 Radar Navigator and my retirement was rejected. I had no choice but to go through upgrading in B-52's at Castle AFB. Got lucky again and graduated top of the class, so I got my choice of what assignments were available ... my choice was Warner Robbins AFB, GA. When I arrived at WRAFB, I flew a few flights with crews that were young, inexperienced and pot-smokers. I was waiting for my regular crew assignment, but it seemed that I was no longer critical to the needs of the Air Force as a B-52 Radar Navigator. It seems that my wait for a crew assignment would be about six months, after which, the Wing was going to Thailand for six months, to bomb Vietnam. I felt that I had already had my time there and, by now, our children were in high school and I was needed at home! I then took 45-day leave and filed for retirement again. After leave, I found that my retirement had been approved for July 1, 1971. They got me again in the end, though. When they tried to process my personnel records for retirement, they found them at the promotion board, being reviewed for below-the-zone promotion to L/Col. Oh well!
Within thirty days after retirement two retired Air Force fiends asked me to join them in Hawaii, to start an Air Cargo business, packing loading and shipping air cargo on independent airlines. We built the business and eventually sold it to Castle & Cooke, one of the giants in Hawaii. I brought a division of the business to California and continued to work for Castle & Cool for about two years. We've lived in California ever since. I joined FMC Corporation in 1974 and later became Vice President for Marketing in their Airline Equipment Division. During my time at FMC, I traveled to nearly every county in the world and while doing so completed studies for my MBA. In 1980 I left FMC and started my own business. We manufactured ground support equipment for the airlines and one product was a "Tire Changing Trailer" for handling aircraft tires, jacks and brake assemblies on flight lines. Then the Air Force got in touch with me and I have been manufacturing TCT's for them for the KC-10 and now for C-17's. I guess I'll keep building them as long as they order them. Now, one of our sonshas taken over the business and he sells computers on a large scale. But I retired from all aspects of business a year ago.
My medical history has been like many of our group, I suppose. In 1994 I had a heart attack, followed by a triple bypass. I became a diabetic when I was fifty and the circulation in my legs was severely impaired. In 1996 I had vascular surgery in my right leg and the little toe was amputated., In 1997 vascular surgery was necessary on my left leg and the big amputated. Since then, I walk a little funny and sometimes kids laugh at me (joke).
Through all of this our children have produced eight grandchildren for us, five boys and three girls. None of our children entered into the military, butwe're proud of what they have achieved. I guess all one can hope for is that your children can achieve more than we did and they have all accomplished this. I didn't expect this to be such an epistle but maybe Betty can use parts of it for my obituary.
I certainly hope that the reunion is a great success and we will try to make it. I commend you for the effort in getting it started.
Curt and Betty Darfler