Garcia

The Edward N. Garcia Family

11/19/99

Officer Candidate School was the great adventure. The idea of becoming an officer, particularly after almost eight years as an Air Policeman, thrilled me to the core. I was a Staff Sergeant with a wonderful wife, two daughters and almost five years in grade. The way I saw it I could only go up. I was scared and came into the Air Force with a tenth grade education. Can that be called an education? Took the GED and started collecting college credits and doing everything I could to be of value to Uncle Sam. Made two spot promotions at Hunter Field, Corporal and Buck Sergeant. Then they went and changed the terminology and I was glad to get another promotion to Staff, they never changed that. Anyhow I was scared. Scared not to apply for OCS and scared that if I did apply I would be accepted. As it worked out I applied three times and was accepted on the third application. It was a matter of weight. I just could not gain the pounds needed to meet the weight requirement. Finally a medical officer at Nellis who told me to come for my weigh in, in my Air Police fatigues with my steel pot, as much ammo as the supply sergeant would let me get away with, two canteens filled with water and my Garand rifle. Hey, it worked! I went to OCS three months later!

I walked up that sidewalk as confident and sharp as only a Strategic Air Command Combat Air Policeman can be. In fifteen minutes I was reduced to refugee status. Those were the meanest, nastiest, loudest, arrogant, spit in your face monsters I had ever come across and I didn't have a Billy club or a forty-five. I knew I was in trouble! The next two weeks were, as you all know pure abject, dismal, "I wanna go home now", hell. And a lot of guys went home...remember? But then I guess I started seeing something in me and in the rest of you, a little bit of stiffening, attitude, mindset, and we got a little mad, didn't we? More or less without saying it out loud we said, "Screw you", give it your best shot I'm here now and I'm sticking! And we all got together and helped each other to bear up to the pressure, to learn and to cooperate and to graduate!

The "Friendly Fourth" that was my world. I was the "Honorable Right Guide". No matter how I led the troops down the road I caught hell. When it rained I would guide my squadron around the puddles, and first class would yell, "Who told you to stray from the line of march??" My reply was, "Sir, I'm using initiative." First Class would come back, "Stick with the line of march, unless commanded otherwise." Next puddle we'd go right through and first class would yell, "Right guide! Use some initiative; guide us around those puddles." I'm telling you, those upper classmen never could make up their minds!

Good Stuff, joy riding in Guertin's 55 Ford T-Bird. Eating those great big steaks at that place just off base. Getting chased by those crazy geese at Landa Park. Listening to my crystal radio after lights out and first class never found it! Night crawling to get homework done, collecting red/white/blue tacky bird credits and only doing one hour on the ramp. Sneaking peeks at Ms Sanchez. Instigating stuff between Dice and Miles. Like I said it was the grand adventure and things just got better and better, right up to retirement day.

Ed Garcia

Date: Sat, 20 Nov 1999 00:20:38 -0500

From: "Edward Garcia" <edmarta@earthlink.net>

AN ADVENTURE CONTINUED

July and August of 1958 I attended the basic Air Police Officers course at Lackland AFB, Texas and on completion reported in to the 823rd Combat Defense Squadron, SAC, at Homestead AFB, Florida. Seven of us, yes I said there were seven of us brand new second "looies" and I was the only one with prior service. Guess who got every additional duty in the squadron for both the law enforcement and security sections? Yep, it was I! But it was great because I learned in detail how a Squadron runs behind the scenes to get the mission accomplished. Not too long after all this and while still a second lieutenant I was made the Combat Defense Squadron Operations and Training Officer. It was not that I was so clever, rather that my fellow officers were so new to it all. By the end of a year we were all on pretty equal footing thanks to a wonderful, patient and instructive major by the name of Clyde DeBaun. Clyde never flinched at our goofs. It seemed that each error made was an opportunity to instruct otherwise in a gentlemanly way that made the lesson all the more effective and valued. All good things come to an end and we all made first lieutenant. Then the Strategic Air Command took all seven of us and scattered us to the winds, that blow around far-flung missile sites. Four of us ended up in England on Thor missile sites. Yorkshire England in a little village called Driffield. Many of you experienced the Cuban Missile Crisis but I like to think I had a pretty unique view. There were three Thors up and steaming as I looked out the window of the Launch Control Trailer and I had the thermonuclear arming key on a chain around my neck. My RAF Counterpart Geoff Brooke had already used his key once to get the bird up and we were both waiting for SAC & Bomber Command to send us coded orders to launch. There was no question we would launch. Geoff had a great big Webley pistol on to insure I wouldnąt chicken out and I had a bigger 45 Automatic that said he wasnąt going to chicken out. I knew we would not pre-empt, so when the order came it would mean we had already sustained a nuclear attack stateside. There was no way I would not arm the weapon and no way Geoff would not launch it. Of course he felt the same way. Well we watched that little b/w telly real close and when those cargo ships started making U-turns back to the motherland it was a mighty wonderful sight.

I returned to the states and went out west to the 13th Strategic Missile Wing, at Warren AFB, Wyoming. I was assigned back to Security Police duties as the Operations and Training Officer for a four hundred-man squadron. Our mission was the securing of Atlas, Titan and the new Minuteman missiles that were coming on line. Usually checking the guards at a normal SAC base would take an hour or two. At Warren it was a weeklong job and I loved it! Left Warren on a humanitarian assignment that took me back to Georgia. Joyce's dad was succumbing to Cancer. We arrived at Turner AFB, Albany, Georgia and as I pulled up to the gate with Joyce, and three daughters and the pooch, I heard the gate guards radio squawking about a B-52 coming in with a engine fire indication. I went straight to Central Security Control, and offered my help to the Commander Major Fewer MacGee. He took me up on the offer and I managed the Security end of the B-52 emergency. We were all really happy this bird was not carrying cargo. The pilot made a routine landing and it turned out the fire indicator was faulty. I heard later that this is not an infrequent event on many different types of birds. Turner was a nice assignment and after another eighteen months as Operations & Training I was sent to Misawa AB, Japan as the Commander and Chief, Security Police. I was suppose to go to Tachikawa at Tokyo but was diverted to replace a Major who had gone around the bend, so to speak, which sure made it easy on me. All I had to do was act sane and I could not lose. Did so for three years. Made Major, made Regular, and was shipped off to Korat, Thailand for a year as Chief, Security and Law Enforcement. Loved Thailand but never worked so hard for so long, of course anyone who served in S.E. Asia will say the same. There was no "Off time" you were always "On." I had a wonderful Operations Officer name of Lorne McGregor who went on to make full Colonel, and should have made General. He was the most dedicated, talented and effective leader of troops I have ever known. Lorne and I had this three hundred-man outfit and we were the only two officers. God Bless our NCO Corps because they sure came through for the squadron. Master sergeants were holding down Captain's slots and Tech's and Staff's were Flight Commanders. I suspicion this was about the same at all Thailand bases as the majority of Security Police Officers were being assigned to Viet Nam and certainly that was where they were needed. My old Base Commander at Misawa came to see me one weekend and asked if I wanted to be his Chief at Don Maung, Bangkok. It would mean bringing the wife and children. I then had a total of five, four daughters and a son. Joyce was really happy at home taking care of her widowed mother so I had to turn him down. On my return to the states at Christmas (R&R) I learned Joyce had been having some difficulties of her own. The situation was almost unworkable for her, or at least made more challenging with five children. We decided that We would retire on my return from Thailand. We did, after I served another year as the Chief of Security and Law Enforcement at MacDill AFB, in Tampa. There were a few regrets as I felt that I could have made another grade or two, but the decision was the correct one for the family. We had a good ten years after retirement and then I lost Joyce to cancer. My children were absolutely wonderful through this period and I have since been blessed with another fine Lady and five grandchildren. I worked as a Special Agent in Georgia and then after coming to Florida worked with the Sheriff's Department until I retired again in 1993. Since retirement we have done a lot of traveling with our fifth wheel trailer and truck, all over the western states, down into Mexico and all along the eastern seaboard and the Appalachians. Life Does Go On!

ED GARCIA

This is of myself, Son Ed and grandson Mike by my daughter Sandy...taken 1996 at the start of a little three day hike on the A.T.

Here are more photos of Ed's family:

Ed's Wife Marta Garcia

Ed Son's Wedding

Ed's Son and Daughter-in-law Rebecca