Monday, October 10, 2011

October 10th

On this day and barely 18 years old, many years ago, in Oakland, California, I was sworn into the United States Air Force.  It was a matter of go in or be drafted.  Mom said it was a good thing I enlisted as it was her humble opinion I'd either die an early death or receive a lengthy prison sentence . .. yes, Bob was one wild child.  Mom wasn't always right but in this example she probably was.

October 10th.  How could I ever forget this date which brought a life changing experience. 

After our physicals at the induction center and interviews we waited for a bus to take each group to the airport.  While we waited I guess the idea was to set the hook so no one would change their mind and run off.  We were asked to stand and raise our right hand so that the oath of allegiance would be administered.  There were around 30 other guys raising their right hand.  All were headed for boot camp.  Some Air Force, many Army (draftees), a smattering of Marines, some Navy and a couple of Coasties. 

An Army sergeant administered the oath of allegiance.  When he finished he looked over at the Air Force group and asked, "Know what U.S.A.F. stands for?"

Huh?  Well yeah, it stands for United States Air Force.  What else?

The sergeant got that shit ass eating, lifer in the military grin on his face and said, "Nope.  Now that you've been given the oath it stands for U SURE ARE FUCKED!"

Not funny.

The photo here was taken on my selection as Airman of the Quarter.  I did some stuff that the base commander thought was worthy of this honor.  The public relations officer taking the picture for the newspapers asked me to smile. 

Me:  "I'm only smiling when I'm discharged from this man's air force.  Until then, this is what you get." 

The enlistment was for four years.  Three years, ten months, twenty days later I was released for an early out to attend college.  I was smiling big time.

The rest, as they say, is history.

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Whiskeytown Lake, Very Northern California, United States