Short Summary

The book is done, it is published and now it is ready for you to read and enjoy my story.

I am happy to share my experience growing up on the plains of South Dakota, completing grade school in a one-room school, surviving blizzards, including getting lost in our yard. I have virtually all positive memories, for example, I remember being in severe pain, but I don’t remember the pain. I can look back and see points where a different decision by me would have changed my life, but not necessarily better for me.

Achieving the highest enlisted grade in the Air Force is in ways the culmination of my military career. This career included service as an electronics technician, combat crew member, military training instructor, and scheduler for aircrews, missile crews, and administrative airlift missions within 5th Air Force, and aircraft operations management. I followed the tradition of my late brother Robert in serving a hitch in the military, 3 years for Robert and 30 years for me and then graduating from college.

Of course, life went on after the Air Force and I have included pictures throughout the time of my story to help you understand my story.

Book Excerpts

1.

My fifth birthday was celebrated the same day that Iwo Jima was invaded, although actually, with the time difference, that battle was in its second day and marines taking heavy casualties while I blew out the five candles on my birthday cake. A few months later, the war in Europe ended with Adolph Hitler dead and Germany, with much of Europe, devastated by the destruction of a war started with Hitler’s dream of the world led by the Third Reich. The History Channel has broadcast a program called The Third Reich, the Fall. In the last few minutes of the program, after the fighting in Germany is over, a young boy dressed very much like me in this picture is seen walking away from the camera. He is also carrying a large backpack with likely his entire possession. He faced a hard life. I faced a life of relative plenty, and I am certain that he would have gladly eaten any food that I would not eat, and if such an exchange were possible, I would have been happy to let him have my food.

 

2.

During that time, Major League Baseball was, with a few exceptions, closed to black ball players. Teams of black players with major league ability toured the United States, similar to the Harlem Globetrotters except they played local small-town baseball teams. One year, one of those teams came to Kimball, South Dakota, to play. They put on quite an exhibition against the hopelessly outclassed local team, but the game was very entertaining. I remember standing next to the announcer booth when one of the black players was talking to the announcer. He fascinated me, and I stood and stared at him—a very rude action by me as I learned later in life. Several years later, a Dodger ball player Lou Johnson was rumored travelling through the Dakotas in that time frame, and I’ve often wondered if Lou Johnson was the player I so rudely stared at.

 

3.

Pop, I wonder if you knew how important you were and are to me, how much I respected you, and the influence you have had on my life. I doubt that I ever did or said anything to make that known to you. My biggest regret is that I never got to know you from the perspective of me as an adult, and you never got to know me as a mature adult. Realistically and honestly, I was still a smartass kid when I joined the air force. I wish you could have seen me promoted to chief master sergeant. I doubt that you would still say enlisting in the Air Force was a foolish thing to do. Rest in peace, Pop. I still miss you and will as along as my memory remains or I live.

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