When I graduated from High School, yep, back in 1979, I had no clue what I would do with my life. Seriously, what do you do? I got a phone call from one of my best friends, and she asked me, “Hey do you wanna join the Air Force with me? we can join and go in on the “Buddy system“.
“The Buddy system, what’s that?” Well, folks it’s where you join the Air Force, but you get to go through Basic training, with your Buddy.
My friend and I decided that we would join the Air Force in March of the following year, going in for the “Delayed Enlistment program.” Little did I know it would rake that long to get everything in order to join.
I had to take a comprehensive written test, and also a physical (where first they decided that I did not have the proper amount of internal organs, so I was sent for MORE testing.) (I ended up being fine, just not as organized as the regular person internally.) Then we hit a road block.
My enlistment papers were put on hold, you see, folks I am exactly 4 feet and 11 inches tall. This height has prevented me from doing a lot of different things. (I wanted to be a stewardess, denied, you have to be 5 feet tall Uhm, NO EXCEPTIONS). Apparently you also have to be at least 5 feet tall to be in the Military as well. While my recruiter informed me not to worry, they would apply for a waiver. I asked, who gives permission for the waiver’s? Apparently, the President of the United States does.
Well, apparently he liked me, because I was sworn in on my 18th Birthday. The Farmer while being proud that I was going into the Military was a little “miffed”, that it was the Air Force and not the Navy. (We have a standard argument over which one is better.)
I got all my stuff together and made plans with the “best”. While I had remained in England after my Graduation, her family had been moved to Spain. The plan was, that I would fly to Spain and spend a month with her and her family and then both of us would fly from Spain, to Texas on March 1st.
I had a fantastic time with my friend and her family, I’d never been in a “family” environment, I’m an only kid, and folks it was kinda neat to spend time with so many people under the same roof.
The day arrived and we got on the plane for the long flight back to the U.S.A. 2 18-year-old females who had no clue what we were in for. We arrived at J.F.K. Airport in New York, and had to switch planes for San Antonio, Texas.
After about 21 hours, we arrived, if memory serves me right it was 3 am in the morning. This was no vacation, as we arrived at the base, we were allowed to sleep for 2 hours and then we had “in-processing”.
After 6 weeks of probably the most intense experience in my life, I was in the best shape of my life, plus I lost about 20 lbs. I could run a mile, stand at Attention without wavering, could shoot a gun(with a marksmanship medal to prove it.)
My Buddy, did equally as well, we leaned on each other during that time. She helped me, and I helped her. Especially when I had been there 1 week, and we were allowed to make a phone call, I called my Grandma (collect), crying and begging her to get me out of there. My buddy, helped me get over my fear, and we worked together.
The day came when we Graduated from Basic Training, and it was then we had to part ways, we had picked different jobs to do and now we had to go to Technical School, for those jobs.
Saying goodbye to her was tough, we’ve stayed in contact through the years, and just recently her sister posted this picture on Facebook. I look at this picture, and I remember how young we both were.
That’s just a slice of my history.