The Chronicles of Harold
By Harold, Editor-At-Large
A Return to the Uniform for Better (I Hoped) or Worse
Part 1 of 2
With a baby on the way and no job, we discussed my re-enlistment. “Well, I know it will be a permanent job with a monthly income.” So the decision was made for me to re-enlist for aviation training. Accordingly, I contacted the recruiter who originally enlisted me in 1956.
After re-testing, he said, “It is amazing that your scores on your aptitude tests are exactly the same as four years ago. Very high and several of them are maxxed.” I was tested for Series 10 and Series 20 and enlisted for the Rotary Wing Pilot Training Course.
I left for Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri, on the eleventh of September of that year and proceeded to draw uniforms and equipment. Since I was prior service, I was on orders for Ft. Rucker, Alabama, for aviation training. I arrived at Ft Rucker and reported in. I was sent to the main Personnel Office where they informed me they were not going to be able to fulfill their end of the contract for me to attend pilot training because there had been a change in the eyesight portion and I no longer qualified physically for the training.
A Change of Orders
They offered to discharge me and pay for my return trip home. I asked if there was a possibility that I could remain in the Army as an enlisted person and take Aviation Maintenance training. They quickly checked and amended my contract and my orders and I was accepted and reported in to the school training unit where I underwent several helicopter maintenance training courses culminating with the field maintenance course.
I was offered from time to time some flying instruction in rotary wing aircraft by some sympathetic civilian flight instructors with the tacit approval from our training Unit Commander who was aware of the entire circumstances of me being denied flight training. Since I was already fixed wing qualified and my logbook was signed off and up-to-date, they just entered the qualifications in it and told me it could not be entered on my Form 20 since it was unauthorized instruction. And secondly, I would have had to wear the qualification badge which would cause problems since the Army did not have any enlisted aviators.
While on leave between courses, my car suffered a seized pilot bearing making the clutch unusable and I was forced to leave it in Illinois and take a bus back to the Post for the balance of my training. Upon completion I was assigned to Ft Knox Kentucky to the 544th Transportation Detachment that was a cargo helicopter field maintenance unit.
Fort Knox and an MOS Change
It was located on Goodman Army Airfield and since Knox was a tanker post, they looked down their noses at anything that was not tanker related. Especially when we earned their enmity when we started blowing away tanks during the testing of the rocket armed helicopter evaluation while I was stationed there.
The commanding officer of the unit when I reported in stated that he definitely did not need another helicopter mechanic since they were standing on top of each other now. He asked what else I could do, and when I related my previous military experience and mentioned that the First Sergeant in Korea wanted to use me as a Company Clerk, he seized on that comment and said that was indeed a position he was badly in need of filling and without further ado, I was ushered into the Orderly Room, sat down and given a short examination of my abilities.
When finished, the First Sergeant said, “Well, I think we have finally found what we are looking for since this one can type accurately.” I did not know what he was talking about until he later said I was the first person to type the exercise without errors; I guess that was pretty unusual. I did not realize until much later when I was alerted for shipment to KMAG back in Korea that they had changed my MOS to a clerk, causing me difficulties for a couple of years thereafter until I was able to return to my Helicopter Maintenance MOS.
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