Gemini launches were the first real space flights I can recall as a boy, glued to my folk's old black & white Zenith console T.V. The Mercury 7 were household names in my home, growing up in rural Michigan. And after watching with the rest of America when Apollo 11 lifted off, as a science and exploration-precocious 8-year-old, I simply couldn't pass up the opportunity to jump on my banana-seat spider bike (after first carefully buckling up in my space-suit), begin the strict Houston count-down from my Dad's garage, initiate engine-start down the slope of our driveway, and then when my little Saturn V legs had warmed-up to full thrust, I pedaled my heart out up our dirt road the quarter-mile to my 'Gramma B's' house to tell her the good news! Of course I had serious mission tasks to perform, comm checks to be made, and orbital maneuvers to conduct, but it was a mandatory stop. I simply HAD to get a fresh cold glass of milk with Ovaltine and a couple of homemade oatmeal cookies from my grandmother's house first!
It was only years later that I enlisted in the U.S. military, departed my native Michigan for good, and commenced 'the Best Job I Ever Had' serving a greater cause than my own in the U.S. Air Force. During that career in uniform (Dec 1981-Jul 1996), I can thank Uncle Sam for giving me a job that directly impacted the safety and security of REAL rockets of note (LGM-30F Minuteman II ICBMs), controversial yet essential deterrent weapons that, in part due to my performing my duties correctly, remained in solid readiness to help prevent World War III. I later qualified to join the USAF History Program, and became one of only 106 enlisted historians to chronicle the last 9 years of the Cold War, documenting, analyzing, and otherwise preserving for posterity the exploits of multiple active wings, their personnel, their missions, and the aircraft they performed those missions with. Uncle Sam showed me the ropes, and before long I was writing classified history books most Americans will never read, and filling vast archives they will definitely never see.
Now a retired Aerospace Historian, I mostly write mostly for myself, and for the most hyper-critical editorial staff of all: me, myself and I. But if I can ever convince them of the worthiness of my literary efforts in non-fiction military history, psychological crime drama fiction, and the odd anthology of poetry that creeps out from beneath the floorboards... perhaps something might actually reach a publisher's editorial desk someday...
Rapid City, SD, USA
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Last seen Jul 16 '19 at 23:35