Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Memorable Events During Military Career

I promise this will be my last post on military, wars and the like.  They were hard to include in one post however but were events that I felt were important in my life.  In 1961 I entered Navigation School in Waco Texas as a 2nd Lt.  18 Months later I completed Navigation and Radar Intercept School and Survival Training at Reno Nevada.   My first operational Unit was the 963 Airborne Early Warning and Control Wing.   I was checked out in the EC121 which is one of those aircraft with big radar pods on the top and bottom.   It had lots of sophisticated  radio equipment.aboard and was designed for special missions.    Shortly after I was checked out in the aircraft I was called up and told to be ready for deployment within 1 hour.     It turned out to be a mission operating under the Joint Chief of Staff and participating in the Cuban Missile Crises.  The entire military was in a high state of alert and each morning we took of from an Air Base near Orlando Florida,  We flew very low out over the ocean and as close as we could get to Cuba.  It was our job to control the U-2s, which were very high flying aircraft with the ability to take very detailed pictures.  On one day that aircraft was hit by a missile and crashed into the ocean killing the pilot.   I performed this mission for about a month sometimes flying as low as 100 feet.

In in 1965 my crew went to Viet Nam.   Viet Nam   was a terrible environment.  It was hot, humid and smelly.  We flew every day, sometimes 12 or more hours.   We mostly flew over Laos, N Vietnam, and in the Tonkin gulf.   Other aircraft were constantly getting shot down.  It was our job to warn the fighters of hostile aircraft in the area.   I had a large Radar next to me and some days there were emergency locator beacons all around me, each one representing downed aircraft and crew.  One of the most frustrating things was the sight of Russian ships coming and going in the Viet Namese ports.  No one was allowed to touch them.  War is a violent way to live.  There are those that like it but they change over time --seem to lose care for anything but fighting and killing.

I saw so many horrible things in Viet Nam, kids with their legs and arms blown off, dragging themselves around.  I decided that that kind of life was not for me.   If  I was fighting to defend my life or my home I think I could do it -- but that is the only way.  I didn't want to do it as a way of making a living.  We landed with one or more  engines out many times.  On one early morning takeoff we had the 2 right engines catch fire. 

I quit flying with the Air Force and Air National Guard after 12 years.   I held the rank of Major.   I enjoyed the Military and the flying but not the war.  I bought a couple of  Cessna 182's  during the 1990's which I really enjoyed flying, but I don't fly any more --except as an occasional passenger.

I have great respect for the military.  My experience has proven to me that the soldiers in the various military organizations are among the finest  people in our country.  Their training and discipline and character is emphasized.  I believe military training would be good for all youth.  

This country has made many mistakes around the world in their interactions with other Nations.   One important fact, however, was relayed to me by a friend of mine who lives a couple of streets away and who survived the advances of Hitler in Europe during the 2nd world war.  He said " THIS WOULD BE A MUCH DIFFERENT WORLD IF IT WASN'T FOR THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA".  Yes there are those among us, both Republicans and Democrats,  who have forgotten that they were elected to serve the public.  Some have become impressed with their own power and have desired to obtain more, rather that to serve the public and to uphold the constitution.  Evil will continue to to be among us.   All government policies and those that want to implement them should be judged by the effect they will have on our freedom, which is GOD GIVEN.   Remember government cannot give us anything that they don't first take away.   Don't let anyone take our freedom away.

By Ellis


  1. I will have to let my son Addison read all these military posts. He is almost 14 and has just became a member of the Civil Air Patrol up to USU. He is planning on joining the Air Force and aiming towards being a Fighter Pilot. Scary for a mom, but he seems to be determined. We support him and love him. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

  2. We've been gone for a couple of weeks on vacation, but are happy to see your posts on this blog and to share in some of the experiences you had in the Air Force. I'm sure they had a major effect on your life as well as the lives of others. Thanks for all you have done and continue to do. We are all better for it.

  3. Thanks Alison. If your son still has those goals in a few more years I would suggest he try to get into the Military Academies. The Military has changed and fewer pilots are going to be required. The academy graduates get preferential treatment for duty assignments and aircraft assignments. Flying aircraft is about the best job in the world. Not always good for families though. Love your family.

  4. That is his goal- to enter the acamdemy when he graduates from high school and hopefully continue after his mission. He is among some great boys and his leader was just accepted to the Air Force Academy, so I guess he has the example.

    Thanks Ellis. We may have more questions.
    Love ya!