The Day I Joined the Air Force – Part Three, The End

In 1968, four years after I joined the Air Force, I received an Honorable Discharge and rejoined civilian life.  I had spent four years as a 30352 Aircraft Control & Warning Radar Technician.  It was my job to keep the radar running that was scanning the skies for any potential enemy aircraft.  In the sixties, with the Cold War raging this meant Russkies.  I had learned how to repair computerized surveillance systems, servo systems, power supplies, radar scopes, ECCM and ECM (Electronic Counter Measure and Electronic Counter Counter Measure) equipment.  It was technical work and in addition to 42 weeks technical school training, I had completed several correspondence courses to advance my knowledge while in the military.

1c8x1.jpg

During my Air Force career, I had received each of my stripes with minimum time in grade and was eligible for a P-4 reenlistment bonus which I declined.  I had earned a career as an electronic technician that enabled me to have numerous job offers with computer firms, telecommunication firms and other high tech companies.  I had more job offers than I knew what to do with.  I owed it all the third of my three life changing decisions.  Here is how the third decision transpired.

795px-Kessler_Main_Gate

After I completed my basic training at Lackland AFB, I was assigned to a technical training facility that was at Keesler AFB in Biloxi, Mississippi.  I found the base to be everything I could want in terms housing, bars, night clubs, women and most importantly the ocean.  When I was not in training class, I would go to the beach, swim and try to meet young women.  I developed a tan that would be the envy of anyone.  Many of the local girls seemed to prefer going out with guys from the north much to the dismay and hostility of the local guys.  We were given cards that advised us on which clubs and bars to avoid.  Of course, these were the ones I preferred to go to.  I soon developed a bad drinking habit and spent too many weekends recovering from a hangover.  I was living the good life except for one “minor” hiccup.

I was a notoriously bad student in high school, and I continued to be the same at the airbase.  I hated school and did not want to be in training class.  I continually disrupted class, did not pay attention and gave the training instructor a hard time.  Somehow, rather stupidly I would later realize, I thought the Air Force would have some type of fighting unit.  I still wanted to fight in the ongoing Vietnam war and whether I died or not did not matter to me.  I wanted adventure and excitement and not a classroom with books, assignments, tests and studying.  Everything I hated about high school had now come back to inflict misery on my days.  Perhaps that is why I drank so heavily on the weekends.

Then one day, I received a notice from my training instructor.  He told me that I needed to report to the base commander.  He did not say why.  But I was told to go ASAP.  Now the airbase had almost 20,000 officers and enlisted men stationed there, and it was not every day that an Airman 3rd Class was told to report to the base commander.

a-modern-home-office-space-with-venetian-blind-covering-the-window-behind-a-black-desk-with-a-lamp-MFW5MD

I found my way to the base commander’s office and met his secretary.  She told me to take a seat and that Major General Romulus W. Puryear would see me shortly.  Apparently, he was expecting me.  After a brief wait, I was called in General Puryear’s office.  He was working at a large desk and without looking up, he told me to take a seat in front of him.  He had his back to a large window which looked out over the base.  I waited anxiously for what seemed like an hour before he finally looked at me.  When he did, he told me to look out the window.  “What do you see” he asked?

I replied, “I see two guys up on a scaffold painting the barracks.”

“Do you know what we call them”? he inquired

“Painters”, I said.

“No, we call them Protective Coating Specialists (PCS); and when they are done painting that side of the barracks, do you know what they do next?

“They paint the other side”, I responded.

“That’s right”, said the Commander, “and when they are done that side, what do you think they do next?”

“Paint a new barracks, I guess.”

350px-Keesler_WWII_Bks

“Wrong”, said the commander.  “It takes about six months to paint one side and, in a year, when they have finished the second side, the first side is starting to peel so they will go back to the first side and start painting all over again.  That’s what they will do for the next four years.”

“And” shouted the commander, “If you don’t get your ass back in that class and start paying attention, that is what you will be doing for the next four years as well.  Do you understand me?”

“But sir, I don’t like school and I wanted to be in a fighting unit”

“That is not one of your options.  You have a choice, School or PCS.  Dismissed Airman!”

Murphy_Dome_AFS_Alaska

It was a rather quick decision on my part but one that altered my life forever.  I choose to go back to class and pay attention.  I finished third in my class behind the squadron wimp, a guy named Sitters, whom many of the other guys picked on and a guy from North Carolina named Michael Atkins who sounded like he had marbles in his mouth when he spoke.  I had assumed Atkins was dumb, but he and I became good friends.  He was quite an intelligent guy.  Stereotypes based on accent were said to hurt President Lyndon B. Johnson and I know they hurt people like Mike.  Can we ever overcome the impact of nurture on our lives?  I guess it all comes down to the decisions we make.  After completing my technical training, I put in for Southeast Asia but instead I was sent on a remote assignment to Unalakleet Air Force Base in Alaska.  I never did get to see Vietnam.  Many people say that I was lucky.

The End.  

These are two of my squadron patches.  One for Unalakleet, Alaska and the other for Osceola, Wisconsin.  I tried twice to get sent to Southeast Asia but both times I got assigned to very very snowy climates.

250px-718th_Aircraft_Control_and_Warning_Squadron_-_emblem shields_OsceolaAFSWIRADSpatch

The Thirteenth Greatest Mystery of All Time:  How can I Provide More Value to the World and Get Paid for It? 

Business-Consulting1If you have a good memory, you will note two facts. One, I skipped mystery number 12.  Two, I added a 13th mystery to my series of All Time Greatest Mysteries.  Call it a “baker’s dozen.”   Actually, this is a rather shameless advertisement for my services.  I have posted over 95 blogs on this site and nearly 600 blogs at www.timeparables.blogspot.com  and never one ad.  Today, I am posting an ad for myself.  I want to consult, teach, train, speak, lecture, educate, facilitate and help organizations innovate in the areas of cost reduction, strategic thinking, quality improvement, customer service, innovation and revenue generation.  Over the years, I have helped many profit and non-profit companies by solving problems and creating solutions to their most pressing business needs.

“Don’t think of your website as a self-promotion machine, think of it as a self-invention machine.”  ― Austin Kleon

I am now looking for potential clients that need the help of an honest, hardworking, creative and innovative consultant.  Over the years, my clients have made amazing improvements in all areas of their business including:  increased revenue, reduced operating costs and greatly improved customer loyalty.  I enjoy a collaborative working relationship with clients wherein I bring the best of twenty six years of organizational development experience to the client and meld this to the knowledge and systems perspective that is part of their inside working experience.   consulting_concept1

“Try not to sound like those singer-songwriters that go on and on with ten-minute, barely intelligible stories that everyone endures until the next song starts.”  ― Loren Weisman

You might be wondering:  “How do I fit into this marketing picture?”  If you know of any organization that is in financial difficulty or any organization or manager that simply wants to be better able to compete in a global market, please send me their names or send them a link to this blog.  I have a full-profile and resume at LinkedIn and examples of some presentations that I have used for organizational development at Slideshare.net.

I have a website at www.johnpersico.com  that displays my model of organizational excellence and some of the tools that I use in the quest for enhanced organizational performance.  I do not use a cost cutting model of organizational growth and change.  My models are all based on doing things better, smarter and more effectively.  Over the years, I have learned from such management experts as: W. E. Deming, Kaoru Ishikawa, Peter Drucker, Herbert Simon, Noriaki Kano, Yoji Akao,  Joseph Juran, Kenichi Ohmae and many others whose names I have now forgotten but whose lessons and models I have assimilated.  11596153-business-consulting-concept-in-word-tag-cloud-on-white-background2

“I’ve said it before, and by gosh, I’ll say it again — don’t be afraid to toot your own horn.”  ― Emlyn Chand

I have conducted hundreds of seminars, online classes, workshops, talks, training sessions, team projects and consulting engagements with government, education, for-profit, manufacturing, healthcare, transportation, IT, mining and retail industries.  I would be happy to speak to anyone to see how I can help them reach their goals or simply plan a strategy to help them more effectively accomplish their vision and mission.  My vision has been the same now for 25 years:  To Live a Healthy, Useful and Wise Life.   

“The true basis of morality is utility; that is, the adaptation of our actions to the promotion of the general welfare and happiness; the endeavor so to rule our lives that we may serve and bless mankind.”  —- Annie Besant

Please take 3 minutes to review my video.  I was asked to create a video for a potential client that wanted me to showcase my facilitation and teaching style.  This short video was the result.  Please feel free to pass it on to other people.  If it goes viral like Gangnam Style, I may have to create a dance to go along with it.

John Persico Consulting and Training Video 

Thank you for your help.  

I promise to post Mystery Number 12th this coming week.

 

%d bloggers like this: