Dustoff: The Memoir of an Army Aviator

By Michael J. Novosel | Go to book overview

But the army had other plans, and I was sent to a school for administration specialists.

I made several new friends, among them Bill Ridley, from Oklahoma; Curvin Miller and Bill Reinsel, from Pennsylvania; and Felix Caplan, from New Jersey. After finishing the school, we were assigned to Sheppard Field in Texas.

Because of my position as chief payroll clerk, I acquired a complete set of army regulations. I discovered one dealing with the aviation cadet program and read and reread it until I knew everything about it. I met all requirements except height, which was five feet four inches. My service record listed me as five feet three and threequarter inches. Curvin Miller measured me and said I'd grown an eighth of an inch since I'd enlisted. I had to grow a little more.

Ridley said he was going to apply for flight training and that I should also, even though I was a tad too short. "They might let you slide through," he said. We applied.

Our barracks mates knew about our plans and decided to help me "grow." Together they had an enormous amount of talent, initiative, and intelligence. They gave us moral support and a lot of help in other ways. Bill Reinsel, who was assigned to the dispensary, fed me a steady dose of vitamin A. He said it was necessary for good vision.

Miller said he read a magazine article claiming that the body was tallest in the morning right after waking. He said I should remain in bed as long as possible on the morning of my flight physical to maximize my height.

Ridley and I were scheduled for our flight physicals at 7:30 A.M. Miller suggested I shower before going to bed. That way I could remain in a horizontal position longer before reporting for the examination. I showered and hit the sack early.

The next morning Miller, who had organized a crew, made certain that I remained horizontal until I had to leave for the dispensary. While I lay in bed, they slipped me into my fatigues, put on my shoes and socks, and slid me onto a long, narrow board. Four of my mates carried me as I lay stretched out on the board.

I thought they were going to carry me all the way to the dispensary. If they did, surely some officer would see what amounted to a

-2-

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Dustoff: The Memoir of an Army Aviator
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Preface xi
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • 1 - A World of Turmoil 1
  • 2 - 1942 Kelly Field, Texas: Early 6
  • 3 - Laredo, Texas 11
  • 4 - The B-29 Superfortress 20
  • 5 - Tinian, Clark Field, Okinawa: 1945-47 32
  • 6 - The Best of Times, the Worst of Times 43
  • 7 - You'Re in the Army Now 62
  • 8 - January 1966: the Flight Over 92
  • 9 - Vietnam: 1966. 104
  • 10 - Military Operations Increase 137
  • 11 - Beating the System and Getting Short 171
  • 12 - My Plans Go Awry 183
  • 13 - Vietnam: the Second Time Around 196
  • 14 October 1969: An - Impossible Mission 228
  • 15 - A Father and Son Combat Team 269
  • 16 - The Medal of Honor 307
  • 17 - Korea, Fort Rucker, and Switches Off 317
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