U.S. Air Force Procurement Officer
This story happened in the 1960s when I was in active Air Force Reserves. Each year to meet my commitment I was required to attend two weeks of active duty. I was classified as a production procurement officer and attached to Tinker AFB in Oklahoma City.
Since my procurement specialty was with air frames and such, this was where I would be expected to go if ever called back to active duty.
The B-52 had what seemed like an acre of file cabinets of blueprints which I finally got familiar with all the insides of the old bird. I knew that most of the things I was assigned to do were just ‘make do’ assignments, but one never knows when I might have to do this for real.
One of my assignments was to find all the non-essential items that could be ordered from someone other than Boeing.
Another time, we were down to, or a critical level on bomber windshields. The Air force had declared a system of ‘immediate alerts' and the bomber crews were required to jump into their ship and immediately take off.
In doing this, the hot air blasting on those windshields would often crack the glass. I was to try to get the manufacturers of bomber windshields to move up their production schedules so grounded ships could be put back in service. The other folks would just laugh at me for asking them to move up production.
The one and only time I ever got into an argument with another officer about Air Force strategy was at Tinker. There was a captain also on duty in the same office. I don’t remember how it started by he was convinced there would only be a nuclear war, nothing less, so we had to have maximum readiness. I held that since other nations could not afford a fleet of bombers as the U.S. they would resort to guerrilla warfare, that was all they could possibly do. This got a little heated and was never resolved there. But it proved right in Viet Nam. Yes, we used the B-52s for saturation bombing, but that didn’t end the war or solve anything.
Once, I was walking from the Officers Club to my quarters. Along the way there was a little creek and bridge across it. I looked down and there in the stream was the largest snapping turtle I had ever seen. It appeared to be as big as a dish pan, or larger. My first thought was where is my pistol! Then I assumed it might even be a pet at this AFB. Since this was either November or December, I was surprised it wasn’t hibernating, or should have been. So, I left it alone and assume if no one has captured it, killed it, it is still there. I understand they have extra long lives, so you never know.
So, eventually I served my active reserve time and finished any time in uniform. So, I finished all my military obligations. I once received a letter asking if I would like to volunteer for just twelve months active duty. At around five years of service, I was promoted to captain which was a surprise to me. Just Sayin…RJS
Nice story RJS. Hope you’re having a good Thanksgiving. Salute from one Air Force man to another.
Robert J Samples wrote:
This story happened in the 1960s when I was in act... (
Great story Robert, have a great Thanksgiving and enjoy the day.
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