Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Dog Tags: Summer of 42 Years

August 15. 1969.

Date of enlistment. Got up while it was dark, had a quick bite of breakfast, then drove to downtown Omaha, NE with Mom and Dad in their '62 Ford Galaxie 500 4-dr sedan.

Couple of hours later, after being poked and probed and prodded for the second time by military medics, I was the proud owner of these. Dog tags.

They say "NO REL PREF". No religious preference. Such was or were the times. I also have on the chain the little Lutheran cross given me by Rev. Carl Hellmann a few days prior. It would be a long day of waiting before a bus took us to Eppley Airfield in Omaha where would would board a flight for Dallas, Texas. We would land at Dallas Love Field, then board a second flight (Boeing 707, as I recall) that would fly us through a Texas thunderstorm before we finally landed in San Antonio.

I'd flown a whole bunch the summer before to Europe, all over Europe, and back. Had flown to San Francisco and back Christmas '68. No big deal. We arrived on Lackland AFB close to midnight, as I recall.

Then the yelling began. Were herded off to the "Hell's Kitchen" midnight chow hall for a meal, then herded to the barracks building in the 3708th BMTS Squardron, bay B8, Basic Training Flight. The yelling continued for the next six weeks.

All began 42 years ago today.

How time flies.

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