Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sharing Memories - Air Force Summer Camp

Sharing Memories - Air Force Summer Camp

Last week in this Sharing Memories series, I began to recall my experiences around AFROTC and becoming an officer serving in the United States Air Force.

Today, I will briefly discuss Summer Camp, part of the AFROTC program, that took place near the Black Hills of South Dakota at Ellsworth AFB. This will be from memory. I will pull out the records, later, and perhaps provide more specific details.

Two memories stand out: 1) Survival training, and 2) riding in an Air Force Refueling plane. Also, I suppose, our active duty leader was a Major, who drove an old (wonderful) Mercedes... interesting what one remembers.

Survival Training

A group of us were 'placed' in the woods in the Black Hills - simulating a crash scene, I suppose. It lasted three days. We had the rations and basic equipment we would have with us in that case. There was some sort of compass and 'get to here,' if you can, game... but I don't remember much about that. I did survive, pretty well, as I recall. From time to time I do recall things from that experience that have been useful. Moss on the north side of trees, for example. Being able to "get along' with out all the normal 'niceties' was probably the most important lesson. Not real exciting, but it was a very useful experience - that I mostly have never needed to use! I'm happy about that, actually!

Refueling jet ride

We refueled a B-47 (which I worked with a lot in my active duty career). I actually had my camera with me, and, somewhere, I'll find and share the couple of photos. I was laying on my belly, looking out directly over this extension tube, boom - maybe 30-40 feet long, that reached down to the nose of the B-47 that came up right under the refueling plane. The boom operator was responsible to maneuver that tube to attach it to the plane below. The pilots of the two planes being refueled were responsible to maintain their relative positions, of course. Below could be seen the hills and lakes of SW South Dakota. Quite a view! Quite an experience.

Image added, Mar 2019; my point of view
We were over South Dakota summer, not snow on mountains, of course!
One more thing...

This was a military training camp. I was responsible for cleaning between the tiles in the latrine (toilet - bathroom, if you prefer) with a toothbrush. I volunteered for it, because I knew I'd be able to work alone, and would do a good job. You may draw your own conclusions.

More memories to come...

Families are Forever!  ;-)

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