Friday, October 6, 2023

Chapter 22: Look, Bat Man's Plane


The Boy traveled to San Antonio Texas to attend the Air Force basic training at Lackland Air Force Base.  The training was the standard Air Forces 8 weeks of Emotional and mental torment.  The Physical part of the training wasn't difficult for The Boy as he was pretty physically active already.  Because of his education and experience when The Boy graduated Basic He left the base with two stripes making him an Airman First Class.  He had attended college for a couple years at Northern Montana College in Havre before joining the Air Force.  This gave him a head start. 

The Boy was waiting for a set of orders telling him where he was to further his training and education.  He was asked to report to the base command when an unknown Captain intercepted him on his way to the head shed.  The Capt. was the same officer that had saved The Boy and a couple other Airman from a verbal lashing earlier in his education.  His name was Knapp, Captain Knapp.  The Captain took The Boy to the Main Base front Gate had him get into the back seat of a blue Ford Galaxy sedan.  The Captain got behind the wheel and drove off base, down the road about 15 minutes and in the Main Gate of Kelly Air Force Base right next door to Lackland.  

Turns out that Kelly is the training base for many Air Force special units including some of the Engineering units that support tactical command operations.  The Boy was thrust head long into the first step of what is militarily known as FooBar.  FooBar is a non word that indicates that the recipient is basically screwed, The Boy was now FooBar.  

He thought that waking at 5 AM. was early until a metal trash can was throne into his room at 3 in the morning followed by a large screaming meanie who's first name was Sargent, or rather Master Sargent.  The Sargent informed The Airman First Class that it was time for all good children to get out of bed and begin morning drills.  The Boy found a 50 foot cord of rope tied around his waist and shoulders while he and 5 of his new friends ran in form around their new Base singing a silly song about The Master Sargent's sister.  Sounded all pretty insane to The Airman First Class, but who was he to question The Sargent? Not going to happen.  

6 more weeks of tactical training, security training, and The Boy's favorite, Hand to Hand combat training.  This was the stuff that The Boy excelled at.  He was already a fairly trained killer, but as the saying always goes, "Never enter the Dojo with a full cup, somebody is always willing to empty it for you"  This happened almost immediately.  The Boy found himself looking up at the sky from his back on the ground after a failed attempt to unbalance The Master Sargent.  The Squad found the ordeal amusing until each fell to the same fate, one by one.  

After 6 weeks there was a short graduation ceremony that consisted of a handshake and a cup of coffee, then the squad was shuffled into a blue Air Force bus for their very long trip directly north through Texas to Sheppard Air Force Base at Wichita Falls.  The trip lasted 10 hours and was very hot and uncomfortable.  Texas is a big state.  

At Sheppard AFB The Boy was introduced to his Prime Beef unit of Base Emergency Engineer Force.  These are the Airmen that are used to rebuild, protect, and support all operations on the Base command.  The Boy's previous training, and the Prime Beef training combined qualified him for the Advanced NCO school.  He was learning to lead.  There must be a mistake.  He was at this training base for another 8 weeks when Captain Knapp again found him on his way to class, The Captain handed him orders to report to Castle AFB California ASAP.  He was now a Sargent.  He was beginning to feel uncomfortable, something was up. 

 Castle AFB is in the middle of the desert right at the base of Death Valley a little north east of Atwater CA.  This is usually a step off point for SAC deployments over seas.  The Boy was made to guard an empty shack on the front end of an airstrip in the middle of a desolate range.  While guarding the shack The Newly Promoted Buck Sargent looked up into the western sky and thought he saw a shimmering way up and beyond the horizon.  He was straining to see what was making the distortion when the plane banked to turn toward the runway.  He was suddenly looking at Bat Man's plane flying directly at him from the western sky.  It was big, silent, and was landing at his end of the runway.  As the plane rolled by on the runway The Boy could see the pilot.  He offered up a salute and was amazed at the plane that was rolling buy.  This was his first view of a stealth bomber, a plane that at this time was still classified and unknown to the general public.  This was for lack of a proper name a UFO.  

The Boy's only thought, "Way Cool."

Peace and Balance,


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