brymer-bio

 

Gordon provided a raft of pictures along with his biography in response to the "Show and Tell" call I put out, which hopefully will take some dry out of the Bio reads.  When you see a word or group of words that are underlined please click on the words underlined and a picture describing that part of the subject matter will appear.  Then use your "GO-BACK" button to return to the biography.  For example, the first words in the biography you want to click on are "pure dribble and trivia warning".

 

 

This is a pure dribble and trivia warning for those classmates' and others not given to wasting their valuable time on such matters Exit now! Should you however, claim to be a true dribble and trivia hater, yet who on selective occasion's resort to dribble/trivia voyeurism, know that Ollie the Web master has the means to identify and expose you! 

I must say here classmates that I have no intent to insult your intelligence with regard to military jargon, acronyms, slang etc. with this ( ) bit. I do it at the insistence of the Webmaster who has rejected my effort a couple of times for sloppy work and not doing the -- put explanation in quotes bit -- Ollie wanted to make the bio clear as possible for non military readers, or even military readers in the next millennium who may be so politically correct they wonít even know what SLJ NCO/OFFICER or FIGMO means.

For my other noble classmates, this updated bio is in response to Ollie's call for a "show and tell" format that employs both words and graphics which we wish to share about our personal life experiences in our travels through our military careers and beyond. While I indeed hope it is not an early sign of senility, I find with each passing year my memories of family, friends and events become ever more important to me. Going through the family photo albums, and my "I love me" type wall hangings, in that "I love me" hideaway, (which I am sure none of you have) brought so many warm memories flooding back along with laughter, lumps in my throat and a tear in my eye. A wise man once told me in my early days in the service: "Gordy, if you canít cry you cannot laugh. And if you donít get a lump in your throat when they play the Service Hymns and the National Anthem, youíre in the wrong business and the wrong country"!

I have probably included far too many pictures and graphics which hopefully will not be viewed as "en grand seigneur" (look it up if you canít guess) but rather memorabilia that is near and dear to my heart. I hasten to add I WILL BROOK NO EDITORIAL COMMENT, EDITING, SNIPING FROM ANYONE UP THERE IN THE STANDS WHO HAVE NOT AND/OR IS NOT IN THE PROCESS OF PREPARING THEIR OWN BIO PER THE REQUEST AND PLEADING OUR DEDICATED WEB MASTER. Speaking of Ollie who views his 58B Web Master Job as a labor of love. I am honored to have him as a classmate and friend. Those of you who know what truly serious medical problems he has lived with day in, day out for these past years, I know share my amazement of his stamina and great attitude toward life and his fellows. Ollie has the patience of Jobe, a Heart of Gold and the tenacity of a Jack Russell Terrier!

Before I take off on my effort, I commend the Bios of Jim Haynes, Ben Halsted and  Jim Hope, which clearly shows the OCS Selection Board and our Country got winners who indeed earned their pay! These Bio's are really worth a read.

During my career I had my share of tight squeaks and unpleasant situations ranging from gruesome aircraft accidents in which I was personally involved where dear friends were lost, out where the rubber really met the road. I will not dwell on the tragic events of Vietnam for to recall the criminal waste of resources and most important, the flower of American Youth tightens my jaws to the point of breaking. Like the man said "The Troops in the Field won the Battles, but Capital City wouldnít let them win the War!" So I have chosen to write my effort in a somewhat flippant vein, except where I wander off and/or get carried off a bit. If you know Highland Scots, you know they are given to speaking their mind, and my family are indeed Highland Scots, so I guess itís in the genes. If you donít care for the flip approach and straight talk, this is where you should hit the delete button on this epistle and go read something really interesting.

AWAY WE GO:

Born Toronto Canada, 14 April 1931, an "Aries" no less! Raised by my Grandparents who immigrated to Canada from Scotland. I suspect in these PC (Politically Correct) times I can identity myself as a "Shorter Than Average - Caucasian - Scottish - Canadian - American - Texan!" My Grandparents raised a family of One boy and Nine Girls plus Gordo (who in the 1930ís looked like an urchin straight out of "Angelaís Ashes") in the dark days of the depression -- A tough time indeed to feed and cloth thirteen people, plus the Cat and Dog! I was fourteen when WAR TWO ended. I was a member of the Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron in Toronto. I was not only turned on to the Military, but wanted to see all those places in the Newsreels. When I was old enough, seventeen, I saw the best place to start seeing the world was the "Land Of Milk and Honey" THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. A country of opportunity like no other in the worldóA country who after defeating itís enemies is the first to give them a helping hand. It is like the famous Canadian Newsman Gordon Sinclair says--

In April 1948, I made my way to Niagara Falls, New York and the Armed Forces Recruiting Offices in the Post Office. The ĎSee The Worldí Navy Recruiter was gone that day. The Army and  Recruiters shared the same office space, but the Army Recruiter was out for coffee, so my choices were limited. The  Master Sergeant Recruiter asked me if I could read? I proudly announced that I had a Junior Matriculation! He was duly impressed or acted like he was. He even told me I could be a Pilot after Basic Training--- that was beyond my wildest expectations. After the paper work and a night in a Hotel in Buffalo, it was off on a Troop Train, yes Troop Train, to Lackland for 13 weeks Basic Training, via Cleveland, St. Louis, and Kansas City (Boy those were truly great "Poker and Crap games") on the train ride.

We arrive at Lackland  Base, Squadron BN2, and Flight #2940, on the South (Kelly) side of the Base, given 10 minutes to mail our clothing home but could not leave the Squadron area ó so our goods wound up in Training Instructors "Good Will" bin. Now the Fun & Games begin!  Man were those Tarpaper Shacks hot in May-July for a boy from way up North! We had outdoor "Johns" which we shared with the odd snake and scorpion which were plentiful in those days. Since I was 113 pounds soaking wet at the time, weight control was not a concern thank God as it would be some ten years hence. Smarting off was unwise -- rather that pulling a white one and trip to the ramp, it was a crack across the mouth or a kick in the butt and a trip to the Grease Trap on Kitchen Police (KP). While the Air Force was setting the pace in gearing up for execution of President Trumanís executive order to integrate the Military, Basic Training was still segregated. The Air Force's plan was to integrate small units first and wisely so. At this time in our history it would have been a sporty course to start integration at the Basic Training Center. But do you classmates who were at Lackland at this time remember how sharp the Black Troops were at marching and cadence counts! They made the White Flights look like we had clubfeet. Being from Canada, I didnít know what all the racial fuss was about, I soon learned. On my first trip to town I head for the movies and the Balcony, which were considered the best seats where I came from, because for one thing, you could smoke up there. I no sooner sat down and an usher grabs my collar and I get a quick lesson of dos and doníts in Texas.. Got my first attaboy in the  at Lackland when I qualified as Sharpshooter with the .45 automatic pistol and carbine. Did not do well with the Crowd Killer Grease Gun (.45 Caliber Machine Gun). As I recall, just to keep it pointed down range got you a passing grade. Big thrill day when Flight 2940, had their first ride in a Military Aircraft. A huge Transport C-47, were we thrilled. They called this a motivation ride -- it did, and I was! Damn I loved the Air Force! I remember one of my Flight mates saying when he goes home on leave and his friends see all his cloths, low quarter and brogan shoes etc., the whole town will try to enlist!

Will you ever forget your first shoe shine at "Tonyís Mirror Palace" downtown? He was still doing a land office business during our OCS days. Albeit, I had to send my shoes to Tony via courier. Basic is over and Flight # 2940  chipped in Ten Bucks a piece for our TI (Training Instructor) Staff Sergeant Boydís good-bye present, which was not mandatory, but clearly encouraged! We had those same type of collections when the good Sarge went off on week-ends to visit his sick sister, or was it his Mother? No matter-- When out processing, and since the Recruiting Sergeant promised, I ask," Where's The Plane?" As I recall the answer from the Sgt. went something like "Listen up Shit Bird. First you ainít no American, and if you ainít American you canít be no Officer. Second, even if you were American, you be too damn little (I would have made our Bob Fields look obese) to be a Pilot. And last, you got orders for Lowry Field (in Denver Colorado) and Gunnery School or maybe permanent KP duty! So get your ass going boy." Would you believe it was Troop Train time again with the Train coming right on the Base. With the Lackland Band playing "Off We Go into The Wild Blue Yonder", we were out of there and off to save the world! The "Games of Chance"  were even better than the train ride to the Alamo City. Would you believe that in those days pro gamblers would join the Service for the sole purpose of making their fortune!

When we got to Kansas City, they turned us loose to start our leave. I head for Toronto Canada where I was big stuff with that chevron on my arm. When my old pals asked what PFC meant I replied "Praying for Corporal!" Leave is over and off to see the World via the Greyhound for Denver Colorado and Lowry Field where the "No Help" wanted sign was out, at least for little guys. Next came Fort Francis E. Warren, Cheyenne WY, where I narrowly avoided becoming a "T-tless WAC" as Clerk typists were referred to in those days. Managed to get on a draft to Hamilton Field, at San Rafael California, garden spot of the Air Force in those days. On pass in San Francisco I have my first encounter with a guy who's a little light in the loafers. When I ask "Do you have a sister?" he heads for happier hunting grounds. Finally it is a Bus ride to the Presidio / Fort Mason, San Francisco where I get to go on my first Ocean Voyage on the United States Naval Transport Ship (USNTS) Brewster.  The ship pulls away from the pier to the strains of all the Service hymns by the 6th Army Band. We wind up dropping anchor and sitting in San Francisco Bay for two days! I drew KP in the Officerís Galley/Mess where at the end of my shift I "liberate" (That's Steal), goodies that were prepared strictly for the Officers after movie snack time, for my enlisted swine shipmates in the bunking space. Here we slept 6 high and prayed the guys above you made it to the head (Menís Restroom) before he upchucked. The trip took 28 days with enroute stops where needless to say we didnít get ashore, like Hawaii! We washed our clothing while underway by tying it to a rope and throwing it over the side ó Gordo makes big mistake and does a super wash the first go around (10 minutes) I pull up what appeared to be a sleeve! Last stop the Island of Guam, home of the 19th Bomb Wing (Heavy), 20th Air Force and the B-29ís which was the biggest thing I ever saw lift off the ground! I lived in the famous Quonset Hut, with again, the outdoors John, but this time no running hot water and no scorpions. Instead we had running cold and cold running water, huge rats, lizards, toads, mosquitoes etc sharing your space. We literally made a path with that hard GI Christmas candy and had at the rats with an M-30 carbine.

My job was in Maintenance/ Material Control where I do a respectable job. With just a tad mind you, of admiration for the leadership of the NCOIC, and a little baby-sitting time for my OIC/Squadron Commander. I get the additional duty as "Scanner" on the long - range practice bombing missions to Japan, Philippines etc. Will never forget the mission to Haneda (sp?) Air Base, Tokyo! We load up auxiliary fuel tank in one bomb bay and cargo rack in the other bomb bay loaded with Dixie Peach Pomade, (called foo foo grease and known in later conflicts as Hair Dressing/Spray) and smokes which were the coin of the realm in Japan those days. The foo foo grease went for about 5 cents a jar, and about 40 cents for a carton of cigarettes on Guam-- but in Japan, these goodies were worth their weight in gold!

On these long missions they used scanners to relieve the gunners and to give engine reports to the flight deck who could not get a good visual on the engines from there viewpoint. After hours of simulated bombing runs around Japan we land go to our billets in downtown Tokyo. We shower, shave and shine and get ready to hit the town with our trading material -- problem, the enlisted crew members who are all First Three Graders want to start the evening at the GHQ (General Headquarters) Rocker Club -- problem, Gordo and another scanner are Corporals. Solution! We get spot (instant) promotion to Technical Sergeant with borrowed shirts provided by the Flight Engineer. Later that night I am in the darkest corner of the Rocker Clubís Bar where a stiff face Army Staff Sergeant is eyeballing my stripes and playing 20 questions with me (I am 18 at the time and a razor blade lasts me a month!) All I can think of is that Fort Stockade will be my next assignment. We get through the evening except I get a real once over from the MP at the entrance of our billets (New Kaijou building spell?) which is very close to General MacArthurís Headquarters. Next night the two kid Corporals go on the town with their own shirts.

After four days and nights of fun and games we pack up and go to preflight the plane. Bad News -- It is now when I get my first SLJ (Shitty Little Job). While on the hardstand at home base on Guam one of those big, nasty rats the size of a small, make that medium sized cat must have gotten on board through the nose gear wheel - well when the rat guard was off. For whatever reason, maybe the Sir Rodent got some flight lunch leftovers; the big R is "mort" (that's dead). Problem is we donít know about the unmanifested crewmember till five days later when we board the aircraft and get knocked over by the aroma! Guess who gets the job to wiggle into those tight spaces to find the Big Rís remains? You got it, the 113-pound Corporal / Scanner. Quick thinker that I am, I ask the Crew Chief if I can contract the job out? He approves and I quick find me a Japanese Flight Line Worker who I get to understand the task at hand through and interpreter. My Japanese "Contractor" becomes an instant man of means with my remaining foo foo grease, cigarettes and hack watch. The good news -- I come to find out is that itís policy when a Rat, dead or alive is found on an aircraft, it stays on the ground until wiring bundles and channels are inspected. Our Flight Engineer is a top notch, thorough Master Sergeant whose word was law to the Aircraft Commander. Since I had selective memory loss as to where I found my "Removal Contractor" or what he looked like, we couldnít pinpoint where the remains were found, so the inspection could be narrowed. We were forced to do the complete inspection, which was good for four more days in Tokyo. I was complimented by the Flight Engineer for being a quick study! Same type trips to Clark Field in the Philippines were not as popular. The Filipino Insurgents, Communists and Huks (their name depended on your political views/sympathies) were upset with their political leaders and our Government for not coming through on land reform promises made to the Guerilla Fighters during WAR TWO! These folks had a habit of zeroing in with crew served and hand held small arms on aircraft in the Clark approach/departure pattern.

 

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