Category Air Force


Recently, as I researched mail art created in the 19th and early 20th century, I came across a woodblock print postcard. And I learned that in the early 1900s, paper companies – such as A.H. Abbott in Chicago and Reeves & Sons in London – sold blank postcards especially for watercolor and pen & ink. […]

Anthony Trollope

I am reading Masters of the Post: The Authorized History of the Royal Mail, a thumping big tome by Duncan Campbell-Smith, and I came across a passage that reminded me of a particular Waterloo of mine. The author noted that Anthony Trollope, who worked for the General Post Office before gaining fame as a novelist, […]


I think it was called Fire Watch. I was in the U.S. Air Force, stationed at Ft. George G. Meade, an Army base in Maryland. Occasionally, we would be chosen for some duty that had nothing to do with what we were there for. I was tapped for Fire Watch in a former hospital, an […]

Coffee — Tell It Like It Is

When I was in the Air Force, I was stationed for a time at the National Security Agency. It was 1970, still part of the Sixties really, and so a great many people were enjoying marijuana and a great many others were trying to make them stop. Part of the latter campaign included articles like […]

Spared by a Barbarian

It was 1969. I had just finished language school in Monterey, California, and had been sent for Intelligence Training to Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, Texas. It was a six-week course, but we were a week late and had to wait five weeks for the next cycle. So we had five weeks of […]

Draft Dodger

August 31, 2004 I was a draft dodger. I know this because early in Air Force Basic Training, as my aptly named “flight” stood in formation, my T.I. boomed out, “You are all draft dodgers!” None of us cowards said a word in reply, so it must have been true. At the time, the summer […]

Harry’s Three Vacations

August 13, 2006 This is a story about Harry Cross, who I worked with at a civilian agency when I was in the Air Force. Harry went to the dentist every six months, had perfect teeth. He would flash a toothy smile when returning from his check-up and say, “Perfect.” But he also prided himself […]


In November of 1968, after six weeks of Air Force Basic Training, I was sent to the Defense Language Institute, West Coast branch, at the Presidio of Monterey. There I would study Serbo-Croatian.  DLIWC, a.k.a. “dilly-wick,” was a mystery to me, but I was so grateful to be leaving Basic, I gave no thought to […]

My Old New Glasses

November 5, 2005 I’ve never been able to throw them away, the wire-rim glasses I bought in San Angelo, Texas, in 1969. I could never look at them without a pang, a rush of fondness, a smile for an old friend. So they have followed me for 36 years, through a succession of dresser drawers […]

My 30th Anniversary

April 13, 2002 Today is my 30th anniversary. Thirty years ago today, on a cloudy morning not unlike this one, I was honorably discharged from the United States Air Force. It was, and remains, the most glorious day of my life. My freedom came six months early, due to a Pentagon budget cut and a […]