Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Happiest Day Of My Life August 20th 1962 Released From Active Duty In The United States Air Force

Photo above from The Meridian Star newspaper October 1961 at the 153rd Tac Recon Squadron at Key Field, Meridian, Mississippi.
The picture above was taken in October 1961. We were practicing for deployment. We were told we were going to be sent to an Air Force base outside of Paris,France. We practiced this deployment several times. We never went anywhere. They sent the Air National Guard unit from Montgomery,Alabama instead. We stayed stuck in Meridian,Ms. for 10 months and 20 days. When were were released from active duty on August 20th,1962 it was the happiest day of my life.
Click on the above picture to enlarge it.

On October 1, 1961 my National Guard Unit was called up to active duty for the Berlin Crisis. It would have been my senior year in college. Instead I spent 10 months and 20 days stuck in a small southern town and on an Air Force military base. I would call those the most wasted days of my life. My idea of what prison must feel like. Having never served time in a jail I can't say for sure how it would feel to be released from prison but the day of my discharge from active duty was the happiest day of my life. That was August 20th, 1962. Free at Last! Free at Last! Thank God Almighty I am Free At Last!
Here are those song lyrics in full.

Now I could go back to college and finish my senior year. I had my life back. In all of those 10 months and 20 days stuck in that small town all I did beside work at the military base was read books. So all my time was not wasted.
And we did have one extended TDY(temporary duty)when we were sent to Tacoma,Washington to take part in a joint military exercise at the Yakima
Firing Range in Yakima,Washington. My group never left that base in Tacoma but we lucked out in that April 1962 when we went out there it was when the Worlds Fair in Seattle,Washington opened and we were able to go to that almost every day of the three weeks or more that we were out there. So all was not lost.

I found out later the Robert McNamara wanted President Kennedy to extend all the National Guards to a full 4 years. Kennedy turned him down. I feel sure McNamara wanted to get them ready for Vietnam which he must have seen was coming.

Here is some more information on August 1962.

August 4 – Marilyn Monroe accidentally overdoses on a mix of sedatives and Champagne a few hours before midnight.
August 5 – The South African government arrests Nelson Mandela in Howick, and charges him with incitement to rebellion.
August 6 – Jamaica becomes independent.
August 10 – Marvel Comics publishes Amazing Fantasy#15, which features the superhero character of Spider-Man, created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.
August 15 – The New York Agreement is signed trading the West New Guinea colony to Indonesia.
August 16
Beatles drummer Pete Best is fired and replaced by Ringo Starr.
Algeria joins the Arab League.
August 17 – East German border guards kill 18-year-old Peter Fechter, as he attempts to cross the Berlin Wall into West Berlin.
August 22 – A failed assassination attempt is made against French President Charles De Gaulle.
August 23 – John Lennon secretly marries Cynthia Powell.
August 24 – A group of armed Cuban exile terrorists fire at a hotel in Havana from a speedboat.
August 27 – NASA launches the Mariner 2 space probe.