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Wars and rumors of wars

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Wars and rumors of wars. The phrase comes from Matthew and Mark quoting the Good Lord in his explanation of things to come, "And when ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars, be ye not troubled: for such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet…" Mark 13:7

The 20th Century was full of wars and rumors of wars. We are continuing in that mode as we find ourselves in the eighth year of century number 21.

Let’s not be troubled, taking the Good Lord at His word, but He didn’t say anything about burying our head in the sand.

It was not often found in the scri ptures where his close followers (Paul, for instance) were at a loss on what was taking place in the world around them…and they didn’t have the internet or Talk Radio back then.

Me? Oh, my friend Mickey asked if I’d be interested in joining him in joining the service. I was in my junior year of high school. Mickey had graduated the previous year.

I must have nodded my head or something, for that summer (1957) we two bussed off to San Antonio and Lackland Air Force Base from Hensley Field in Grand Prairie.

Actually, Mickey’s dad was watching out for his son and (evidently) thought the Texas Air National Guard (TANG) held better promise than being drafted into the US Army. He probably suggested seeing if I might be interested in attending as a basic training buddy since the two of us were friends.

There were differences in the two lines of service. The commander in chief of the U.S. armed forces was the US President, Dwight D. Eisenhower.

The TANG commander in chief was the Texas governor, John Connally (November 1963 would find the governor in Dallas, aboard the fatal limousine in which President John F. Kennedy was assassinated).

The Air Force Chiefs of Staff during my years of service were Gen. Nathan F. Twining until June 30, 1957, followed by Gen Thomas D. White until June 30, 1961, and Gen. Curtis E. LeMay until January 31, 1965 (LeMay would lock horns with President Kennedy over the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis)

Upon arriving at Lackland, a lot of hollering and shouting could be detected from somewhere outside our bus. I wondered who the fellow was directing his insults toward. Upon stepping out of the bus, we discovered his remarks were directed toward all of us "blankety-blanks," who were meekly disembarking from what had been our previously friendly mode of conveyance for the hours-long ride from Dallas.

In his way, I guess the holler-er was welcoming us to Lackland Air Force Base and basic training. Our TI (training instructor) was able to maintain a consistency of attitude toward us for most, if not all of our eight week stay at the base.

We hit the PT (physical training) field early the next morning. A foot in the back, as I attempted the proper push-up position, reminded me my position was not up to Air Force standards. So, early on, my push-up technique and ability improved by leaps and bounds. It only took one foot and one minute of one day.

Many more incidents and stories later we "graduated" from Lackland, me to return for my senior year at dear old Forreston High, Mickey to a marriage ceremony in Oklahoma with Faye. Unlike the Lackland TI, Faye was a gentle taskmaster, well, has been for their 51 years of blissful marriage, come late summer, this year.

Ours were the Cold War Years with the Texas Air National Guard. Our aircraft upon beginning back at Hensley was the F80 Shooting Star, armed with machine guns. The plane was jet powered, but slow. Back in 1950, F80’s were dispatched to Korea by President Truman.

Although shooting down a much faster and more powerful MiG-15 in November of that year, it was apparent a faster and more powerful American aircraft than the F80 would be required to deal with the MiG-15’s. Enter the F86 Sabre, which the Texas Air Guard got in the late 1950’s. Closely matched, the heavier Sabre could dive better and the lighter MiG-15 could climb quicker.

The American pilots were the difference, though Russian pilots in the MiGs were double-tough.

So, the Korean "Police Action" saw North Koreans, Russians, and Chinese invading and battling with South Koreans, Americans, and some UN troops. Just another in the chain of wars and rumors of wars.

Next week we look at the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.

May God bless.


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