Do you love your job? Do you love what you spend most of the hours of the day doing? Well, way back in 1957 through 1966, Buck loved his job. It wasn’t without problems, but, all in all he loved his job.
He joined the Air Force right out of high school in 1957. He and four buddies joined up with each promising to stick together. Well, the government, as it turned out, didn’t work that way. After their names were on the dotted line, Uncle Sam took over and gave the orders. They all went their separate ways.
Before Buck was able to begin the job he grew to love, he had to face basic training, in Biloxi, Mississippi...in July and August. That might not mean much to you, but, there was no air-conditioning back in the day and Mississippi in the summer is as hot as the hubs of Hades.
One of my favorite movies, Biloxi Blues, stars Matthew Broderick as a new recruit at the end of World War II. You might recall he had a pretty big hit as Ferris Bueller. But, when I think of Buck going into the Air Force at age seventeen, I think of Biloxi Blues and how naïve he and his buddies were…it makes me laugh.
He never talked much about basic training, except to his dying day, he told of hating a red headed sergeant. I suppose every recruit has someone they don’t forget.
Buck had an uncle who was a control tower operator while serving in World War II. He advised Buck to see about getting into the aviation school. Buck applied and was accepted. Thus, began his career that would take him around the world and lead him finally to the Federal Aviation Administration. FAA.
All veterans will tell you that all was not fun. But, when talking with them, I have found that they have a special bond between them. They left home and found their courage.
Sure, there were bad moments during this time...the desert he hated, the late nights sitting alone in the tower, the plane crash that gave him nightmares for years but never discussed, the first and last time he got drunk on a bottle of cheap wine, in Morocco of all places, and the general day to day antics that only the young can appreciate.
Like most veterans, when he spoke about his experiences during his military years, he recalled the good times and the good friends. He spoke about the funny moments, and great adventures and hard, worthy work. Looking back, he admitted that the Air Force made him a man.
I think about my grand-kids and their dreams. One talked about being a flight nurse, another a professional soccer player, and another wanted to swim with the dolphins. Dreams, yes, but you can find the career you love too. It might mean that you must go to school or start at the bottom, but it will be worth the time and effort. It’s never too late.
“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic, it takes sweat, determination and hard work”…Colin Powell