In 1966 I graduated from a public all-boys high school that had mandatory Army ROTC. Those were good years but I learned enough about the Army to realize that I did not want to walk through Rice Paddy 101. Being accepted to UGA gave me a II-S deferment plus they had Air Force ROTC. My extra incentive for doing well in college was seeing a few of my friends flunk out and being drafted into the Army. The aptitude test placed me as an aviator. Me, a pilot. I thought pilot was spelled pilet. Then Captain White tells me that upon successful graduation from this fine institution and completion of this ROTC program I will be commissioned a second lieutenant and sent to pilot training.

When the December 1, 1969 draft lottery was held and I drew No. 70, it only confirmed that I had made a wise choice. The first day I signed in on active duty was December 7th, 1970 at 7 o’clock in the morning, a day that will live in infamy. I believe it was a Sunday.

My oldest brother was an Air Force pilot who served a tour in Vietnam and of course became my greatest mentor. He advised me well as from this day forward I followed in his footsteps.

My first assignment kept me stateside as an instructor pilot. You might say that I flew my 100 missions over Texas and Oklahoma. The Vietnam war ended during my first assignment but it was too late as flying had already gotten into my blood.

After 6 and a half years on active duty I went straight into the Air Force Reserve which happened to be my brother’s unit. I even got to fly with my brother on many occasions.

I retired from the Air Force Reserves in 1992 with 22 good years of service.
During the early part of my Air Force Reserve career I managed to get a job as an airline pilot. Lucky me. This month I have retired as the oldest airline captain with my company. This airline career lasted 34 years with just a few hiccups.