Joining The Air Force (Almost)
During our senior year in high school, various military recruiters would make their presentations to us boys. They knew, and we knew, that we would get drafted anyway in a year or so for the "Korean Police Action" as the Korean War was known by the politically correct crowd. We had the Navy, the Army, and the Air Force make presentations to us.
The Air Force had a plan that they called the "Buddy Plan", in which two guys would join at the same time under this program and they would spend their entire four year time in service in the same outfit. The enlistment period for the Air Force was for 4 years. For the Army it was 3 years, and if you got drafted it was for 2 years. J.D. and I were both green as gourds about the "outside world" so the 4 year Air Force Buddy Plan sounded good to us. We signed up in April, effective the first part of August, 1951.
After our experiences at picking strawberries, and going to the wheat harvest, the Air Force was looking like a piece of cake to us, and we were anxious to get started. Two recruiters came to Monegaw in an official Air Force car on Aug 7th, 1951, and picked up J.D. and I, and off we went. I, having said my tearful goodbyes to Phyllis who promised faithfullnes and to wait until my return with her everlasting love. And J.D. having said his goodbyes to his girl friend, we departed Monegaw.
In fact, it was another fifteen years before I saw Phyllis again, and I never did get to talk to her again, ever! Neither of us realized that this parting was forever. The recruiters drove us to Kansas City to a processing center, and the night we arrived, J.D. called his sister, (the pretty Betty Lou that I was so scared of), who had previously moved to Kansas City. She came and picked us both up to celebrate. J.D. celebrated way too much. At the physical exam the next day, we were called aside and were told that J.D.'s blood pressure was too high for the Air Force. We could not join in their Buddy Program.
We were taken to the Army Recruiter, and he told us that J.D.'s blood pressure was O.K. to qualify for the Army, and besides, it was only for 3 years instead of 4 years. We asked him about the Buddy Plan, and were told that, no, the Army had no such program. But, if we joined that day, he could promise us that we could take 16 weeks of basic training together. After that, no promises. That sounded like a good alternative, so we signed up. Within an hour we were sworn in, and I was shipped out to Fort Riley, Kansas for basic training, and J.D. was shipped out to Schofield Barracks in Hawaii for basic training. So much for the promises of the recruiter!