American Girls Ch. 01-03


Author’s notes.

My stories are based on personal experiences and are as close to accurate to what actually happened as I can remember, and I have a pretty good memory (even many years later).

Nobody in this story (that had sex) was underage.

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Chapter 1 — The Early Years

Pete was born in 1949 to a father who was an Air Force pilot and a stay-at-home mother. His dad piloted mostly multi-engine planes, and because of that, spent his career in either bombers or cargo aircraft. It was a good career, and his father was one of the best pilots around (according to those who had known Pete’s father professionally). There were a lot of times when crew members would tell Pete that they trusted his father more than any other pilot they had ever flown with.

What his father’s career meant to Pete and his siblings as they were growing up was that they were never in one place for very long. He went to ten different schools growing up. Because most of his friends were also Air Force brats, either his father or their father would get orders, and Pete would never see them again. The result was that Pete became very skilled at making new friends, but had no idea how to maintain long-term relationships. This shaped a lot of what Pete did throughout his life.

Pete got into the Boy Scouts when he was 10 1/2 years old. He loved it immediately. The first Boy Scout troop he joined was sponsored by his father’s bomb wing, which meant it had good adult leadership and lots of boys. It was known as a “no match” troop. In other words, boys had to start their fires using methods that did NOT require matches or lighters. Pete became very proficient starting fires with flint and steel, friction and magnifying glasses.

The troop also emphasized survival skills, since the scoutmaster ran the survival shop on base and pushed these skills. Pete learned orienteering with maps and compass and traveling in various weather conditions, both day and night. He became quite good at hiking at night because he had excellent night vision. He went on and later led dozens of night hikes with the Boy Scouts. He also learned about what could or could not be eaten, how to make water safe to drink, and how to avoid venomous critters. He had no idea that this training would save his life later many times when he was assigned to ferret out NVA strongholds along the Ho Chi Minh Trail … all while avoiding becoming a casualty. However, that was far in the future.

Pete enjoyed Scouting, and he did well. During his time in Scouting (in three different troops due to transfers), he held every leadership position in a troop that was possible for a boy, and he was elected a vigil honor member of the Order of the Arrow (Scouting’s service organization). Pete took three important traits from the Boy Scouts: outdoor skills, leadership, and service to others.

It wasn’t until Pete got to his final high school that he finally got into sports. His parents had started him in school early, so he was always younger and smaller than the other boys in his grade level. Therefore, he was usually always chosen last when it came time to pick teams.

He transferred into his final school midway through his junior year, and he was finally starting to catch up with his peers in strength and coordination. He got into football and wrestling and did well, even though he was a novice at both.

He also became an object of desire to the girls in his new school (isn’t it always that way with new boys and girls at a school?), and he suddenly found himself being paired up with cute girls in his new school. There seemed to be a lot of gossip, and he often overheard girls talking about this girl or that girl’s attraction to him.

Unfortunately, Pete really had no experience in how to handle the opposite sex, and he muffed it pretty bad. He was intimidated by girls, and he didn’t want to do anything that might reflect badly on his father (who by that time was a colonel). Therefore, he was hesitant to push a girl into doing anything they might object to. Since this was in the 1960’s, that covered a lot of territory.

Pete had dates for proms and dances, but he never became intimate with any girls he dated. He never even kissed any of them. I have to rack that up to naivety and inexperience. Once he found out what he had been missing, he made up for it in spades (see the Filipinas series).

After Pete graduated from high school, he got a job as a backpacking guide in the Sierras. His summer after graduation was spent leading people around the wilderness areas of the Sierra Mountains to the west and south of Lake Tahoe. It was a happy time. Pete hadn’t done all that well in high school, and he was pretty sure that he would fail if he went directly to a university. He had done well enough in high school to get into a university, but not well enough to sustain him through to a degree. Therefore, he decided to start out his adult life by going into the military like his father had.

Pete’s father had kaçak iddaa joined the Army Air Corps during World War 2 as an enlisted man, but then went through Air Cadet training to become a pilot. He served as a B-24 pilot during the war, and then went on to fly 28 different planes during his Air Force career. This was the world that Pete was born into. Pete didn’t turn 18 until the fall after he graduated, so he waited until his birthday to visit the Air Force recruiter’s office.

While at the recruiter’s office, Pete took the aptitude tests and also a bypass test to become an engineering draftsman, which he passed. He did well enough on the aptitude tests that he was deemed qualified to go into any field the Air Force offered. Passing the bypass test gave him an automatic 3-level in that specialty code, an ensured promotion soon after basic training, and a guaranteed assignment in engineering drafting.

Reality hit when Pete reached his first assignment after basic training. His orders sent him to the personnel section on the base instead of directly to the Civil Engineering Squadron, which should have been a red flag for what was to come. However, Pete still believed that the system would treat him right, so he accepted being assigned to the Base Supply Squadron “until there was an opening” for a draftsman at Base Civil Engineering.

Pete kept himself busy and learned his job and everything he could about logistics while he was in supply. He quickly earned a 3-level in inventory management and then turned around and completed the course to earn a 5-level. That meant that his pathway for promotion was clear for the foreseeable future, since he had already learned that promotion qualifications allowed that promotions could be given regardless of where the required skill level had been achieved. He also got a secret security clearance because of his job in Base Supply.

It was during this time, that Pete was introduced to a cute Mormon girl who lived in the nearby city by a friend of his mother (who was also a Mormon and the wife of another colonel who had flown with Pete’s dad). Jill was a beautiful girl with long, dark brown hair and dark eyes that were captivating. Amazingly, Jill’s Mormon parents liked Pete even though he was a Catholic. They trusted the mutual friend enough to believe that Pete would be a gentleman with their daughter. However, they set strict rules on what he and Jill could and couldn’t do while on dates. For one thing, Jill was not allowed to ride on the back of the motorcycle that Pete had just purchased. Another rule was a strict curfew. It just meant that Pete and Jill had to walk or take a bus and plan their dates out a little better.

Pete had met Jill when his mother’s friend invited him to a dance put on by the local LDS (Mormon) stake, and although he was introduced to many girls that evening, Pete and Jill spent most of the time dancing and talking together. By the end of the dance, Pete had asked Jill out on a date and she had accepted. Pete learned a lot about Jill during their first date. First of all, she was only 16 and a sophomore in high school. Pete was only 18, so that wasn’t too much of an age difference, but it still presented obstacles.

After a few dates, Jill professed her love for him and they kissed in front of her house. It was an innocent kiss, but it left a mark on his soul. Pete started worrying that this might turn into a serious relationship ending in marriage. Because he had spent his life around the Air Force and mixing with enlisted men, he knew what happened to guys who got married during their first enlistment. They were trapped, and they usually ended up in unexciting jobs with no future. He didn’t want that. However, he didn’t want to hurt Jill either, and she had a lot of dreams that would never happen if they married. Pete was confused as to what he should do.

After a few months not hearing anything from Base Personnel, Pete decided to visit Base Civil Engineering. What he learned shocked him. The drafting section was double-staffed, and the lowest ranking person there was a staff sergeant (E-5). There was absolutely no chance that an opening would ever exist for Pete in drafting.

Because he had been guaranteed assignment as an engineering draftsman in writing by the recruiter, the Air Force was in breach of contract. Pete went back to Base Personnel to complain. Of course, they laughed at him. They told him he had three options. First, he could stay in Base Supply and make the best of his situation. Second, he could formally protest the breach of contract, in which case he would eventually be released from the Air Force to be immediately drafted into one of the other branches (yes, he was still eligible to be drafted). Third, he could go over to a bulletin board there in Base Personnel and select another assignment in the Air Force (provided he was qualified).

Pete didn’t like either of the first two options, so he went over to the bulletin board. Most of the potential assignments were pretty hazy, but it wasn’t kaçak bahis too difficult to figure out what they were. Unfortunately, most held no appeal for him. However, one of the cards intrigued him. Amazingly, Pete qualified for every requirement listed for the assignment, even though the actual nature of the assignment wasn’t spelled out.

The assignment required high score on the recruiting aptitude tests. It required that the applicant already hold a 5-level in some Air Force Specialty Code (AFSC), which he had just completed early. It required that applicants must qualify for a secret or higher security clearance, which Pete had just been granted for his job in Base Supply. Most interesting, though, were the other requirements. Applicants had to have a perfect score on the range with a rifle (which he had accomplished in basic training), and they had to have good orienteering skills such as map reading, compass orienteering and range estimation, and it required survival skills (which Pete had acquired through Scouting and hunting throughout his youth).

Pete took the card to the sergeant at the desk and placed it in front of him. The sergeant looked at the card and asked, “Are you sure this is what you want? You have a comfortable life at Base Supply.”

“I’m sure,” I replied.

“OK,” the sergeant said. “I will process this, and you will receive orders if you are accepted into the program. This looks like a dangerous assignment to me, and it is classified, so you won’t even know what it will lead to until you are already into it. Oh, and there is a school required for this assignment. I don’t know how long the school is.”

A month later, Pete had received his orders. He knew that he should go see Jill and tell her what had happened, but that scared him more than anything else. He knew that he wouldn’t handle it well if she fell apart or was crushed by the news, so he decided to just go to the assignment and see what happened. He might be right back if things didn’t work out, or he might not ever be back. Either way, he thought a little time away might be good for both of them. He was wrong, and Jill was deeply hurt when he just disappeared without saying anything.

Pete showed up at the wing headquarters for the First Special Operations Wing (1SOW) waiting for somebody to tell him where to go. There would be a school where he would learn more about the assignment, but for now, he would just have to wait until everybody else arrived.

Pete was advised to get out and run a good distance every day, and to spend time at the gym getting into shape. He would be doing a lot of running and exercise during his training. In reality, Pete ran everyday anyway, and he was already in good shape, so this wasn’t a hardship.

The school started a few days later near a place called Rock Hill out on the Eglin AFB Range. It had an abandoned airstrip and several WWII era buildings. It was to be the Air Force Scout School for the next couple of months and the airstrip was to be the rifle range. Much of the first week was spent running, exercising, shooting and finding their way around in the forests and swamps in the dark. It wasn’t anything new to Pete and even though he was the lowest ranking student in the class, he did well.

By the end of that first week, the class had already lost about twenty of the original 105 students. The next three weeks were increasingly grueling, with harder and harder tests as they progressed. At the end of the first month, the class was down to less than sixty men, and the school leadership sat the students down and explained what the mission would be. It was a classified briefing, so regardless of each person’s decisions, what was said had to remain classified. Pete found it interesting that even the instructors were not present for the briefing.

This was an all-volunteer unit, and all a student had to do was lay down his rifle and hat on the front porch of the school building, and they were gone. After the briefing, the class was given the next two weeks off to decide whether or not each person would continue. If they stayed, the instruction would get tougher and they would be fairly locked into the program (although they could still opt out).

The mission was simple. Air Force Scouts (as they would be called) would be inserted into areas near the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos or Cambodia and they would try infiltrate NVA areas to pinpoint likely targets for Air Force aircraft to strike. These targets were well camouflaged from the air, so it required boots on the ground to find them. If an Air Force Scout found a target of opportunity (such as a high-ranking officer), he could take it out using his scoped rifle.

The original plan was to send the Scouts in two-man teams, but that fell apart quickly when three teams (six men) were caught and killed within a few weeks. After that, Scouts were then sent in one at a time. It was a terrifying mission, and the Air Force wanted only men in the detachment who wanted to be there.

At the end of the illegal bahis two-week break, there were only twenty men left in training. The training became even more intense, and by the end of the second month-long block of training, they were as prepared as the school could make them. All twenty men “graduated,” but there was no ceremony, no pins and no certificates. This whole program was highly classified, and the Air Force thought the less paper trail the better.

Much like the US Navy SEALS at the time, Air Force Scouts were not given a unique specialty code (AFSC in the Air Force). They simply kept whatever AFSC’s we already had. Unlike the SEALS, no record was kept of the schools the Scouts attended.

So, thus began Pete’s journey that took him to the Philippines, Thailand and Laos multiple times during his enlistment. The detachment was originally split up between five Air Force bases, with four Scouts at each base. In each location, there was an officer who kept track of the training regimen and took care of administration. The number of bases shrank as the number of Scouts decreased. When Pete first became an Air Force Scout, there were twenty men in the detachment. When he left the Air Force, there was only one other surviving Scout. Pete felt that he had already used up twelve of his nine lives, and it was time to get out.

The Air Force Scout program was then discontinued. Later, in 1985, when the president ordered the records of the “secret war” in Laos and Cambodia to be declassified, The CIA and the Air Force found it easier to just destroy all records that still existed about the war on the ground because there were so few survivors. FOIA requests all came up empty … No such records exist.

Pete was discharged from the Air Force early because he had been accepted to a university starting right after New Year 1972. By the time he received his acceptance letter, almost all of the flights back to the US had been filled for Operation Santa Claus. There was one seat available the day before Thanksgiving, which was only two days away. He took it. He had used his “off” time to take college classes while in the Air Force, so he had acquired over thirty semester credit hours when he got out. He had applied to several universities, and chose the one that best fulfilled his desires … BYU. It sounds funny, but BYU, a Mormon university, accepted students from other religions at the time, and Pete (a Catholic) got accepted.

Fate sometimes gets in the way, though. Even though he was planning to go to BYU for its engineering programs, as soon as the Air Force learned of his imminent discharge, his father received orders to Southeast Asia flying AC-119 gunships. Pete was very familiar with these planes. Probably the only reason his father hadn’t been sent to the war zone previously was that Pete had been in the theatre of operations on the ground, and the sole-surviving-son law would not allow the Air Force to assign his father. As soon as Pete was no longer going into Laos, his father got orders.

Because of that, Pete decided to stay with his family while his father was in Southeast Asia and go to a local community college for a year. Pete arrived home the day after Thanksgiving Day. His father had always wondered what Pete did in the Air Force. Pete had been promoted to Staff Sergeant (E-5) in only 34 1/2 months, and his father knew that wasn’t possible without being in combat. However, because Pete’s job was classified, he could never tell his father what he did. Even after his father read through Pete’s DD 214, he still had no clue how Pete had been promoted so quickly. None of his training or assignments had been documented in his DD 214 except those from his bypass test, his original assignment in Base Supply and the bases where he had been assigned. TDY’s to Southeast Asia and training connected to being an Air Force Scout were omitted.

So, because he had earned college credits while in the Air Force, Pete started his Sophomore year at the local community college in January 1972. He had contacted BYU to make sure that his acceptance there would still be valid the next year. It was.

Chapter 2 — Shirley

It was the first week in January of 1972, and Pete was getting to know the small-town community college where he was enrolled. He had been discharged from the Air Force in November expecting to attend BYU in January, but when his dad got orders to Southeast Asia, Pete opted for a year at Solano Community College in Rockville, California. That way, he was able to stay close to his family while his dad was overseas. He couldn’t get any real engineering classes there, but they had plenty of good math and science classes, and he could complete all of his general education requirements. Solano CC was jokingly referred to as UC Rockville by some of the students.

Pete found the classes interesting, and he really enjoyed the small class sizes and fairly small school. He had some really good teachers. His days were filled with chemistry, physics, calculus, and sundry other classes, but he found classes much easier than he had in high school. It was amazing how almost four years of trying to survive difficult situations could change a person’s perspective.

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