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PastorMatt

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I never did like San Antonio. I went there once before basic and didn't like it. Now a days in the dorms after you get out of tech school you do not have a roommate. You get your own little room. With where I was for the last part of my tech school we were told that the rooms per reg were to small for us to be sharing with one room mate but we had to deal with it anyway.

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The only part of San Antonio I saw was the Air Port, & inside the air port. We were all setting there and a fellow walked up & stared screaming at us to get out, get on that blue bus, them to the base we went.

I don't recall the time, but that night they sent us though a line set up outdoors giving us our military stuff, at every step someone was hollering at us. Them we get on another bus, I believe at that time the majority of us were scared out of our mind wondering what in the world we had got into.

The bus stopped in front of a barracks, we unloaded, line up in front of the barracks, i know it was way after 12:00 midnight. We were sent into the barracks & told to go to bed, we would need all the rest we could get.

The next thing I know I woke up to a nightmare that covered a few weeks, included in the night mare was spinal meningitis quarantine. An airmen in the barracks next to us died, I believe that was about the 4th week. During the spinal meningitis quarantine we could not come in contact with anyone in another flight, they could do nothing that would make us tired, for that would make us more easily to catch spinal meningitis. Our excises were about 5 of the most simple excises, with a short rest period in between each of them once per day. We could not do hardly any marching at all. Just to the chow hall & back to the barracks. At the chow hall we had to wait until the flight in front of us got though, them for everything to be cleaned up, them we could enter. And yes, it was a very long process feeding us 3 meals per day.

Usually in the morning leaving breakfast we would stop by the marching pad giving those that smoked a smoke break. Usually the same thing after dinner & supper. Many of the TI’s did not do this. It was nice just to stand around for a few minutes outside.

Them they decided to graduate us early, 3 days after the quarantine lifted, so you can guess, we were very good at the marching pad gradating services!

The next day they loaded us on 3 road busses sending us to Amarillo AFB. There they put us in some barracks that had been shut down for several years. There had to be at least a 1” of dirt on everything within. They told us to spit shine it, we did. At about the end of the 1st week they sent us, as guinea pigs, though a brand new obstacle course. Add to that we were soft, not in great condition, & they were unhappy with us. Thankfully they did not punish us, maybe they realized what we had been though

At 2 weeks they send up on to Chanute AFB. I spent 5 days waiting to enter my tech school class, 2 of those days were spent on KP. I know that some spent as long as 2 weeks waiting to start tech school. I felt sorry for them.

I was sure happy when all of this was over & I was on my way. That day was June 8, 1966.

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The first night seems very familiar to me. the main difference was we got our stuff from a line inside. I remember people telling before I left that first night you will lay down and look straight up because your afraid to move and then what did I do. what did I get myself into. I deff had that same thought.

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Lets see if my memory will do some recalling.

They had us put the few civilian clothes we had in our duffel bags, hanging it on the bed post towards the outside wall of our barracks. I believe it was night 4 or maybe 5. One night an airmen was missing from his bed. He was reported missing. Sometime later that night we were told an AP found him at the backside of the base. Reportedly he had only his Air Force issues underwear on. His duffel bag with his civilian clothes in it tucked under his arm, trying to climb the fence.

We never saw him again, reportedly they gave him & undesirable discharge sending him home free of charge.

Some of us talked about him a few times, it did seem that our TI focus on him quite a bit, perhaps unnecessarily. We thought if the TI had lightened up he would not have done that.

It seems if one does something, whatever it may be, that draws attention to him early on, its not good for you. In fact I was told by someone that went thru before I to be sure and do nothing early on, blend in with the crowd, to catch the attention of the TI, this fellow did not get that advise I suppose.

Back in those days it seemed anything other than an 'Honorable Discharge,' would brand you for life, maybe I'm wrong, but today it seems not to make a difference.

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Our first night we went into the dorm, the sgt told us how to make our beds, told us to make them, then he cam back in to inspect them. He tore up the first three beds and then flipped the entire fourth bed, yelling and cussing, made everyone strip our beds, remake them and then go to bed.

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We were up early that 1st day, but there was no bounce in us! We were all in a state of shock.

At the recruiting station at Shreveport, LA, were we left out of for Lackland, I met two other fellows from eastern Arkansas, they had signed up for the weekend warrior plan with the Air Force. But their sign up had been changed, & switched to active duty, & were awaiting orders to head to Lackland the morning we left for the air port, they sure did have a sad look on their face. They looked as if the rug had been jerked out from under that feet & had landed on their heads.

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Our first night we didn't make our beds we just went to bed and the next morning I think we got to sleep in a little longer than we would normally since it was so late when we finally got to bed. not much longer but a little longer. We had one guy I remember break a ruler and threaten to stab anyone that came near him. He had a mental break down. that was his ticket home. I think he ended up in the 319th for a few weeks to get evaled and nowadays if you haven't been in so long you just get a other than honourable discharge.

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Nobody went nutty in our group. I did feel sorry for the guy who was wearing a St Louis t-shirt when he arrived. He was somewhat different looking and a bit uncoordinated so he really stood out. Naturally the DI latched onto him and called him St Louis throughout basics.

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We had a few airmen from that bad place in New York, & most of the were not southerns as I was. In a way they seemed like foreigners to me. We all got along pretty good.

In tech school I had 2 or 3 that were in basic training with me.

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We had a couple northern city guys and they seemed rather foriegn. Sometimes we had to figure out how to translate what we were actually trying to say. They used words and phrases totally different than the rest of us and they most often misunderstood our word usage and the phrases we used.

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Yes, they could be difficult to understand at times. The only northern I had ever been around was a man that bought the place next to us, he was from ohio.

Wow, Christmas is coming at us at a great rate of speed, yet many years ago is was so slow coming!

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Really, or does it just seem to come faster, while rightly taking the same amount of time. I believe the latter is what you really mean


I'm not either. The feeling sure has changed since Linda & I lost our parents, its just not the same. Plus for other family members seem that way & its impossible to get them all together with out parents gone.

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Yes, it's our perception that changes, not the actual speed of time. That also applies to how we view this time of year. It was much different when we had a house full of young children. Things were different when my Mom was still alive. Things were very much different when I was a young child and both Grandma and Grandpa were still alive and the entire family gathered at their house on Christmas eve.

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I think that is partly my problem. This marks two years in a row that I have not been home for christmas. and things just aren't the same when you aren't with your family.

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I know what you mean. My daughter has a get together where we eat supper and open a present at her house on Christmas eve but it's just not the same as when I was a child and such a large portion of our family was together at my Grandma's house. It's nice, but not the same.

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Only 12 days until Christmas. While it's going to bring big changes to how we normally do Christmas morning, I'm really looking forward to church on Christmas morning. What a blessing to have church on Christmas morning before anything else!

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