09 February 1970 – Leaving home

Basic Military Training Dormitory, Lackland AFB, Texas

Light snow, no wind, upper 20’s.  I was taking the first morning train out of Glenview into downtown Chicago.  My parents, brothers and sisters were all still asleep.  Each had their regular day ahead – work, school, housework, meals to prepare.  I had been notified the prior evening that I was on stand-by for entering Basic Training today, February 9th, 1970.  Perhaps I would be back home today, perhaps I would be in Texas.  I walked the five blocks to the Glenview train station.  I brought with me very little in the way of…anything.  The Armed Forces Entrance and Examination Station (AFEES) was a yellow brick warehouse type building.  The Air Force guys went through some additional paperwork processing…and waited.  A coach bus drove us to O’Hare field in the early evening.  I remember a Continental Airline 727 (the proud bird with the golden tail).  The on-board meal was veal parmesan.  The airport in San Antonio was new looking.  The Air Force guys were greeted by a Sergeant, “Sit down and shut up.”  Another bus ride from the San Antonio airport to Lackland AFB.  It was around midnight.  We were off-loaded from the bus, and ordered into a formation.  Other buses pulled up with additional young men.  One of them was already in uniform and had a uniform with one stripe, an Airman instead of a Basic Airman.  He got more shit from the Training Instructors (TI) than anyone else.  Turns out he had been in the Civil Air Patrol and had earned his first stripe.  A lot of yelling from the TIs who were organizing us.  The first word out of your mouth is SIR and the last word out of your mouth is SIR!  DO NOT LOOK AT ME!  What is the first word out of your mouth AIRMAN???!!!  Basic organizational efforts took up the next hour.  Basic marching, left foot HUH!  We were referred to as a FLIGHT, albeit in civilian clothes with civilian haircuts.  And that would change within eight hours.  Our FLIGHT was “marched” into the dining hall which was located on the ground floor of very new looking, three-story dormitory.  We were fed bread, hot dogs, and milk.  Nobody complained.  We were then marched upstairs to Dorm Unit A-2, an open floor plan with steel-framed beds in a rectangular checkerboard.  We were ordered to make our beds, and get some sleep.  It was just past midnight, 10 February, 1970.  It was “lights-on” at 0500.

Author: codemanbc

HI! This is MAGIC's, Dad. Thank you for visiting Magic's blog and my blog, Vietnam70to73. I am a two-tour Vietnam vet, private detective, and a soccer referee. And the proud Dad to an amazing Border collie. Thank you! P.S. My CODEMANBC banner photo was taken by Betty Gillis and features her working Border collies. Check out Texas Sheep Dogs on Facebook and the web...AMAZING photos!

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