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Monday, December 17, 2012

POST 1022; DECEMBER 17, 2012; PAINE FIELD, (WINTER 1955)

Staff Judge Advocate Office at Paine Field is a step down in the scheme of things legal in the Air Force...whereas at Hamilton AFB, California, I was daily involved in the REVIEW of Courts Martial throughout the Air Bases in WADF (Western Air Defense Force), at Paine Field, I am once again in the court room...actually writing in shorthand the proceedings of courts martial...then transcribing the utterances of lawyers, witnesses and accused.  My work is then forwarded to Hamilton AFB for review.

Paine Field is located a bit south of the city of Everett, Washington...(late 20th century knows Paine Field as the  Boeing Airplane Corporation  FACTORY for the assembly of the Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet). 

http://www.painefield.com/history/history.html

Being only a ferry boat ride and two short drives from Bay View, Whidbey Island, I take up residence on the family farm.  Daily, I commute to work at Paine Field (Paine Air Force Base).  I am very much enjoying my work, even though from time to time, I, as an enlisted man, am assigned special duty on base, such as K.P. (Kitchen Police) and guard duty. 

Paine AFB is a front line Cold War Air Defense Base...the first such base south of Alaska.  Only months after the cessation of hostilities in Korea, Paine Field is equipped with the latest in fighter interceptor aircraft...loaded with the new guided / heat seeking Hughes Aircraft Air to Air Missiles. 

On a cold snowy New Years Eve 1955, I have guard duty.  I am issued a rifle, loaded with live ammunition, and driven onto the flight line to guard four loaded for bear F-89D Scorpion Fighter Interceptors.  It is bitter cold.  There is no protection from the strong wind.  In a short time, I am freezing cold...walking quickly around my aircraft trying to keep warm.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northrop_F-89_Scorpion

A bit after midnight, I sit on the starboard landing gear tire...the main gear  a bit of a shield from the direct wind.  I jump up from my tire, rifle at port arms...

HALT  - WHO GOES THERE ... I yell, staring into bright headlights...a figure stops on the fringe of the light;

SERGEANT OF THE GUARD ... comes a reply from the darkened figure...

ADVANCE AND BE RECOGNIZED

Good evening, Sergeant.

Maynard...I been flashing my lights as I drove up... before slamming my door...you appear to be dozing.  

No, sir, Sergeant...I just sat for a moment...

Had I reached your rifle, you would be in serious trouble...sleeping on sentry duty during war time is punishable by DEATH...and your aircraft are on alert, loaded with live missiles...this is not a game we're playing...

No, sir.

Officer of the Day is making his flight line rounds just behind me...I always check my sentries before he gets out here...

Stay alert, Maynard...good challenge.

Yes, sir.

Three weeks later, I am recording the proceedings of that same Sergeant of the Guard.  Seems some of his MP's (Military Police) have been pilfering items from the warehouses they are assigned to protect... the Sergeant is accused of having been aware of the thefts, but to protect his men, he has taken direct action with them.  Unfortunately, his men have been discovered anyway and court martialed.  I am recording HIS court martial because his men revealed that he has been covering for them.  According to UCMJ (Uniform Code Of Military Justice), he is found guilty, reduced in rank, and serves 90 days suspended sentence.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_prison

This was one of my greatest lessons...be very careful whom you trust...be ever grateful for he who covers for you...in truth, I could have been executed if proved I was sleeping on that F-89D tire...

...AND BE ALERT AT ALL TIMES ON GUARD DUTY.

A quarter mile from the farm at Bay View, sits the Bay View Community Hall.  This historic building is about to play a major role in my life...

http://bayviewhall.org/history.htm

For the moment, however, I will share a men-only secret about this building.  Folks come near and far to attend Saturday night dances.  Upon my first visit, I find it strange that during breaks, men retire to the basement, where the oil fired furnace is located...whereas, women remain on the main floor overhead.  Following the men down, I am at once curious...then embarrassed;  The men gather under the overhead grate, on which the women stand ... skirts swirling in the rising heat.
 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whidbey_Island

On the other hand, perhaps the secret may not be men only...ladies smile demurely to the stiff-neck men returning upstairs.  I apparently have much to learn about the world of grownups.

On nearby Useless Bay waterfront, lives Dad's Sister, Virgie and her hubby...Next door neighbor to Virg is Harvey Swenson, the gentlemen who designed and built the Sweden Freezer...soft ice cream machine.

http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19960919&slug=2349976

 In their Seattle home, Virg is neighbors to her good friend Jean S.

Jean and hubby Ole have a son and daughter...daughter Joanie...18 year old high school Senior. 

One Saturday evening at the Bay View Community Hall..., Virgie introduces Joanie...Bruce, says she, can teach you to dance...


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