Drawing #8 in the draft lottery meant getting drafted for sure and I did not want to be a grunt on the ground. So rather than spend two years in the U.S. Army, I found an open slot in Georgia to enlist in the U.S. Air Force! All the open slots were full before my draft date! I flew to Atlanta to take a delayed enlistment and then onto London for a few months to stay with my parents who were stationed there. I flew back to Atlanta in December 1970 to begin active duty and basic training at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, Texas. Of the 55 men in my basic training team, over half had college degrees! The other half were high school graduates so it was an interesting mix. After the first week, I was promoted to Flight Leader so I was then responsible for the entire group. It was a challenge!
After Lackland, I was offered a position to stay and become a Training Instructor but I was ready to move onto adventure so I was off to Lowry AFB in Denver for training as an Air Intelligence Specialist. On completion of training, I was assigned to Offutt AFB and SAC Headquarters! That was an amazing place! I loved going to the flight line and watching the B-52s take off and land or even better, the black SR-71! There were so many generals stationed there, it was amazing.
From Offutt, I went to Nakhom Phanom, Thailand and Task Force Alpha. A true experience! Our job was to plot targets and monitor the areas as the bombs dropped. Needless to say, that was not fun and one of my roommates went screaming off in the night after listening to the screams. I was fortunate in that I only had to plot targets based on intelligence so I never heard what he did.
Then it was off to Blytheville AFB in Arkansas where I remained in Air Intelligence. It was during this time that as a Sergeant (E-3), I wound up being the highest ranking intelligence person on base during the Israeli Six Day War. With Capt. Joseph Kallini and our SMSGT gone, I wound up having to brief the Division and Wing Commanders several times a day on what was going on with current intelligence! I must have done something right! Soon after, the Wing Commander appointed me to be 97th Bomb Wing Historian and that was a great job. I got to fly in the B-52s and attend various briefings. It was while in this position that I was offered a position to go the the US Embassy in Taiwan in an intelligence position. One of the conditions was no uniforms! It was actually working with the CIA I later found out. I struggled with that one because I really wanted to go but I did not want to make the military a career so I finally opted out.
At the point, I was accepted into the PhD program at the University of Arkansas having completed my Master’s in Management through the University of Arkansas while at Blytheville.