Just as my Far East tour is winding up there is a call for volunteers for MOS #2957 (I think that was the number) Flight Clerk, which was my additional MOS, to transfer into Troop Carrier outfits. The word is the first stop will be at Fairfield Suisan "(sp)" California (Now Travis  Air Force Base) where the "Vols." would get cold weather gear! The smart money says, uh huh -- Alaska. So I pass, and later find out the lad’s wind up in the "Rhine Main Ice & Coal Company" -- It’s Europe and the Berlin Airlift! So much for the smart money.

For me it’s assignments back to Wyoming and then New York where the Love of My Life says, YES! (Oh how glad I was for being a cautious volunteer type) Florence Ann Brymer (FAB) is also a Canadian by accident of birth and an American by conscious choice! FAB comes from Niagara Falls Ontario, Florence Ann Brymer, nee Bartolomie, Second generation  Italian. So my Caucasian, Italian, Canadian, American, (and soon to add Texan) Bride and I go on our Honeymoon -- Guess where?

Would you believe I met the love of my life while on a "Prisoner Chase" to Rome New York. We picked up this guy who had been on French Leave (AWOL) (Absent without leave) for 7 Years! (In those days it was the responsibility of the AWOL’s last organization to provide prisoner chasers to go to the place of apprehension and escort the AWOL back home, in handcuffs.) Needless to say he was in no hurry to face his General court - martial Board on a charge of desertion. So my chase partner and I parked this guy, and our weapons in the Niagara Falls, New York Pokey (Jail) where it was warm and the food not bad. Then we were off to the Canadian side for the weekend. I am truly a lucky dog, lucky dog and meet the Fair FAB!

Next assignment is to Fort Devens Mass, and the Army Security Agency (ASA), where, if I told you what I did, you wouldn’t believe me -- Then to Fort Lee, VA., where the  had a Training Element in the Army's Aerial Delivery School.
This is where FAB meets her first southern sized cockroach, and I make Tech Sergeant with five years service, which in those days was not too shabby.

Next comes Scott Field, Illinois which turns out to be the longest assignment base I had as an enlisted man. It is here that the next best thing in my life happens. My American Citizenship! I learned via the NCO grapevine that I had made Master Sergeant concurrent with getting the nod for Officer Candidate School, but the NCO Master Sergeant Mafia got me redlined, no reason to waste a top stripe on a soon to be Butterbar. Had I been in that NCO Mafia group I would have voted the same way.

After a great Christmas and Farewell party it's off to OCS for fun and games with 58A starting New Years Eve of 57! . Unfortunately, I did not have the lovely FAB with me during the six months, although she was there in spirit. She stayed at Scott and paid the bills. As it turned out, that was a blessing in disguise because my Hoof and Mouth affliction got my butt on the Ramp about every weekend save a couple. When FAB flew down to the Alamo City for graduation my Third Herd classmate Quinn K and his lovely Bride hosted FAB at Billy Mitchell Village where she got to meet some of the 58B Brides in residence in their palatial quarters in Billy Mitchell Village.

The ink is barely dry on the Commissioning Certificate when after the graduation protocol festivities, FABGORD depart Lackland and head back to Scott Field, Illinois. We travel with George Crongeyer of Tiger Two, with my mortgaged Kel-Lac wardrobe, packed in George's brand new 58 "Renault Dauphine". It took what seemed like days to get to Scott. Along the trail we had a roadside meeting with a would be cast members of "Deliverance"  (see Crongeyer comments). George went on to an Aircraft and Warning (AC&W) site in Claysburg PA (to give you a landmark, Claysburg was just up the road from Roaring Brook PA!) on top of a mountain George had to drive up and down every day. First note I got from George advised me that when he finally got the first service on the Renault he discovered there was a factory installed governor (40 MPH) on the beast for the first 500-miles/first service! Imagine George trying to go up that mountain until he had the first dealer service!

My game plan was to report to Scott Field for entry into the Communications Officers course, then get switched as a directed duty assignment into a log job at Airways and Air Communications Service (AACS) Headquarters (HQ). The powers that be in General Doubleday's office didn't really give a tinker's damn about having this Butterbar on the staff, but my Bride had been a long time accountant at the Scott "O" Club and they didn't want to loose her services. Would you believe they moved the school to Keesler and I got swept up in the turmoil? After a few short months the Communications School Front 0ffice realized that I had as much chance of becoming a barely competent Communications Officer as Kruschev had of being canonized a Saint by the Hungarian Freedom Fighters!

November 58 - June 60: My luck holds out and I am assigned to McGuire  Base, New Jersey, and the 1611th Air Transport Wing, where I become a Logistics weenie go to work for  Colonel Fred Emrich who won my total respect and became my role model.
“Albeit I could never hope to emulate.” The first message I prepared for him was a Request to Headquarters (Military Air Transport Command) for clarification of a "vague" directive. Colonel E looked at my message and asked "Can we interpret this directive in our favor Gordy? I replied "Yes Sir" -- Colonel; He came back with "Good, tear up the message, there is nothing I like better than a vague directive!" I knew immediately that this man was my kind of leader! Colonel E, was not only a born leader, he could charm the birds out of a juicy fruit tree — and a great sense of humor with a “saying” for every situation — one of my favorites was “The Pig” which he used when referring to some nerd we had to deal with. Had I ever let this man down I would have fallen on my sword. FAB is gainfully employed in the Wing Comptroller Shop where she handled “O” Club accounts and had the unpleasant task of  managing the “Base Hot Check Register”.

I guess my real title should have been the "SLJ Officer". I got involved with the host Base Supply support of two tenant Fighter Squadrons (F102/106 Aircraft) which had gone sour, the William Tell Air to Air Shoot Out Competition at Tyndall  Base in Florida was in the offing and the Air Defense Command was after our scalps. We managed to pump up the support and save the day — I simply kept the bad guys off my people's back so they could do their job unmolested. Problem they were getting to much "Staff Assistance". I was also involved with off shore support of the C-118 fleet which necessitated going to tough TDY (Temporary Duty) like Prestwick Scotland, Mildenhall England, Paris France, Rhine Main Germany etc. And we also got paid for this! FABGORD socialized mostly with people from the 30th Air Transport Squadron. (When you read party, party, party remember we had no children until we were married for 12 years) The 30th Sq. handled the "The Hot Dog Missions" (VIP) McGuire - Washington D.C. -- Lajes -- Prestwick -- Paris -- Frankfurt! If there was something you needed from Europe and the 30th Crews and/or the Naval Air Transport Wing couldn’t get it for you, it couldn’t be gotten! Oh were those great days with the Philadelphia Philly's, Eagles, and the Big Apple a short drive away. Like John Quinn's picture of him leading a parade, I got to be Troop Commander in a Big Apple parade, but I didn’t keep any pictures. It was like Genghis Khan leading the Golden Horde in the wrong direction! Albeit I only got to meet and brief this gaggle 2 hours before the parade kicked off-- Even Gadget Caliber they were not! (Remember the Gadgets classmates??? and how we looked down our noses at them!) Gadgets were Aviation Cadets who were collocated near the OCS area at Lackland. These guys looked like they polished their shoes with a Hershey Bar and wore Drip Dry Uniforms compared to our Gang--and the Gadgets knew it. Everyone but moi was pleased with the parade — but I was using OCS STANDARDS!!

In the late fifties/early sixties McGuire, Dover and Travis were the largest Wing/Base Supply operations in the  serving host Base/Tenant units. During 1959 the budget battles were reaching fever pitch to get the funding commitment for an all jet MATS transport aircraft fleet. Planning for operation "Big slam/Puerto Pine" was in high gear. The task was to transport 18,000 troops and their gear in C-118s, C-124s and C-121 aircraft. Primarily the 18th Airborne Corp (82 & 101 airborne divisions) from stateside on load points to Puerto Rico for war games and back. This was to show congress MATS could do the job, but not fast enough to meet the war plans and world wide threats and flash points that existed such as Berlin. MATS simply could not support NATO with war two and Korean era aircraft. The next generations of transport aircraft such as the C-141, C-135 and C-5 development and/or production runs simply had to get big time congressional support.

Since HQ MATS had announced to the world that we could haul those 18,000 troops and their goods in the present fleet, albeit not within required time frames. Any wing in the old Eastern Air Transport (now 21st Air Force) that didn’t hack the mission was in deep, deep ka, ka. It was a case where if all went well, the maintainers & supporters in the exercise would get some real attaboys. If the exercise pranged (fell on its butt) the guilty would be told to march toward Atlantic City and stop when your cap was floating!  With lots of help from aircrews and other players coupled with a little Irish and Scottish luck my guys and gals got the job done and the entire 14 day exercise went off without a single AOCP (aircraft out of commission for parts). I get my reward -- assignment to England! (Could never figure out if the assignment to Jolly Old was because they wanted me out of town before the next parade and/or a Big Slam attaboy reward?) Except for leaving Colonel E, FABGORD are elated! My leader hands me a set of TDY orders to Mildenhall England so I can get housing lined up. Today's Air Force just recently got around to this with Permissive TDY for House Hunting -- so much for the claim of modern invention. FABGORD get concurrent travel to England by Ship! Pretty much unheard of for a 02 (1st Lt.) in those days to my knowledge. Again, the courtesy of my Warlord. Only down side is our Doxie, Gorgeous Gussie must go into six months quarantine in England — fabgord visit the Gussie twice a week with steak bone care packages and she gets through the ordeal.

60-May 62: RAF Chelveston, 3rd Air Force, 10th Tactical Recon Wing (BB/C/66 Aircraft -- / Electronic Countermeasures / Photo Recon mission Aircraft -- Big), Big Wing that occupied 3 bases in England: RAF Alconbury, Bruntingthorpe, Chelveston. Fair Weather Training in Morocco North Africa, and Victor Alert pads in France. There were 78 Unit Equipped (UE) Aircraft in the Wing split among four Sqs. The ECM Squadron had seven man crews and I believe 24 UE Aircraft, which makes for a big Tactical Squadron Officer wise. Shortly after arrival I was notified I was selected for Regular which took some of the sting out of being redlined for Master Sergeant at Scott. Master was important to me in case I had gotten a RIF (Reduction in Force) pink slip as a Reserve Officer and had to go back to wearing Stripes again. Chelveston was also a Major SAC poststrike base.  I was Project Code 022/SLJ/Base Logistics Officer. Great outfit, super people and an hour train ride to London!  During WAR TWO, RAF Chelveston was home of the 305th Bomb Group, Commanded by the Big Cigar, Lt. Colonel Curtis E. LeMay!  The 305th Bomb Group made the Schweinfurt and Regensburg raids. On one of the raids the 305th Group launched 15 B-17's and two came back. During our tour we had a great bartender named Bert who was behind the Chelveston Bar during WAR TWO. Boy did he have war stories. One night Bert had us all choked when he told the story about what it was like to pack up the personal effects of those 13 crews that did not make it back. Can you imagine 130 crewmembers in on fell swoop.

Getting back to the story, guess who drops in on Chelveston during my tenure for a sentimental drive around the station? --- CINC (Commander in Chief) WORLD. If you thought it was only rumor that the Big Cigar smoked on board, just take a good look at the picture. We never did figure out if the warning sign on the boarding stairs was for the Big Man or our benefit? I could almost swear I saw those B-17 Engines turning in the Chiefs eyes. FABGORD truly loved this assignment. The locals loved us (“The locals have been having the annual hunt here since Queen Victoria and we would stand down to accommodate them.”) and some of our bachelors really loved the locals. Some more than others. ("Matter of fact a couple of our Class A bachelors were players in the Sir John Profumo/Mandy Rice Davis/Dr. Shaw and company escapades in London Town which brought down the McMillian Cabinet in Britain"  The "We Don’t Smoke , We Don’t Drink, nor We Don’t Go With Girls Who Do” rules for Officers was not in place).  I had a TDY to HQ USAFE, hitching a ride on a bird with three or four 06 Wing Commanders from Third Air Units and a host of other Field Graders on board — well we land at Wiesbaden Air Base, deplane, and while the" Wheels" are cooling their heels waiting for ground transportation an Air Police Sedan pulls up, Air Cop Driver hops out, grabs my B4 Bag and out of the back seat comes a Great Big Bear Air Police 1st Lt. --- (CRES BACA) of 58A to take me to my billets he announced! You talk about some VIP jaws dropping! (Cres was a great host and I forgave him for every butt chewing he gave me! (PARTICULARLY AFTER GOING OUT ON OFFICIAL TOWN PATROL ON SATURDAY NIGHT — I SAW WIESBADEN AS ONLY ONE COULD SEE IT WITH A VETERAN AIR COP LIKE CRES — DO YOU CLASSMATES REMEMBER HOW IMPOSING BACA WAS WHEN HE HAD YOU AGAINST A WALL?? The departure from England to France was softened by the fact most of our close friends were going to France as well. “NOTE FOR GEORGE CRONGEYER—JUST READ IN THE SAN ANTONIO DAILY BUGLE THAT THE ‘RENAULT DAUPHINE WAS RATED ONE OF THE FIVE WORST CARS EVER BUILT IN THE MILLENNIUM!! WHY WAS I NOT SURPRISED GEORGE….”

June 62 - June 63: The Berlin situation really heats up and along with about the entire AF Reserve and Air National Guard being federalized with bed down in Europe "Project Stairstep". Two Squadron's from our 10th Tactical Recon Wing, move to the continent ---- "Motto: Your Best Bet, Night Photo Jet -- If that Don't work, Well Jam It!"--One Photo Squadron (19th TRS) and one ECM Sq (42nd TRS) go the France, Toul Rossieres Air Base (TRAB) which is located in the Alsace Lorraine area of eastern France.  TRAB was indeed the 42nd's Victor Alert Base so it was familiar territory. Only problem was for those crewmembers who on past TDY visits had cemented relations a little to deep some of the locals. FABGORD go along to France where I get the Staff Supply job and my Railroad Tracks (Captaincy) and when in France you drive what the Frenchman drives right? Our guys and the Missouri Air Guard Group “RF84’S” that was also bedded down at TRAB flew their bun's off bouncing the boarder to get the bad guys to light up their radar's for future operation planning. I believe we came very close to the Bell Ringing at that time. You may recall that at the time American and Soviet Armor were toe to toe at checkpoint Charlie… It was called the Berlin Crisis. My luck holds and my NCOIC is another Top Gun. Chief Master Sergeant Bill Myers, a WAR TWO Combat Infantry Vet with all the meaningful "Been there, Done That" Ribbons and Badges! And a great sense of humor with the know how to keep our troops motivated. I didn't work all the time as proven by the birth in April 63 of our beautiful daughter Kelley now a nurse at the Army Hospital, Fort Wainwright Alaska. Kelley is married to Former Airborne Combat Medic warrior whose knees finally gave out as a Master Parachutist in 1999. The Army was wise enough to retain him as GS Hospital Administrator type. During our TRAB stay there were a few unsettling events on the Economy (that means local). General DeGaulle's (France's Leader at the time) ancestral and summer home was in the area at Colombey - les - deux - Eglises and the OAS (dissident group who did not agree with "Le Grand Charles’" decision to grant independence to Algeria, among other issues) were always trying to expedite the General's demise, with machine guns, and Le Bombe Plastik! The commies were not to fond of us either. We often found the "Yankee Go Home" signs in prominent places. Some of us Bad Guys added "OK, Via Air France, not Military Air Transport Command (MATS), and your escargots, bread, wine and wives are great!" It was a busy year. Funny Story. One day I am tasked to run an errand to a nearby Royal Canadian Air Force Base at Grostenquin about 60 Klicks away. I zip into the office and ask my NCOIC, Chief Master Sergeant Bill Myers "you have been to Grostenquin right Chief?" he replies "Yes Sir" I tell him to grab a Pick Up Truck and we are off. Only time I visited the Base someone else had been driving on those narrow driver unfriendly Eastern France back roads. We drive for about 30 minutes and get to an unmarked fork in the road — Chief asks "Which way Boss" I respond, "Hell I don’t know, I thought you said you had been there before?" — Chief’s reply " I have, but that was during World War Two and I was walking across fields and carrying a rifle Boss!" All good things must end and FABGORD say a reluctant, fond 'avoir' to France and Europe and head for Texas via Canada with our little French/American bundle of joy-- Kelley.


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