Aviation Cadet in Pilot Training Class 56-M at Lackland, Bainbridge, Williams, and Laughlin.
After graduating at Laughlin AFB, I requested and received an assignment to Basic Instructors School at Craig AFB in Selma, AL. When I completed that course I returned to Laughlin, and was assisgned as an instructor in F flight where I had been a student. In less than a year, the mission of Laughlin was changed to flying U-2s for SAC, and all the instructors were reassigned to other ATC bases. I had liked Craig so much that I requested to be reassigned there and received that assignment.
I was stationed at Craig for six years, during which time I instructed in the Jet Upgrade Course,
The Basic Instructor Course, and Basic Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT), all in T-33 aircraft. Later I requested assignment to T-37 aircraft and instructed in the Primary Instructor Course and in Primary UPT. While at Craig I met and married my wife Anne Cathey. We have been married for 48 years.
After Craig I went to the Fighter Weapons School at Nellis AFB, and was assigned to Cannon AFB in Clovis NM, flying the F-100. Shortly after arriving at Cannon I was assigned as the Assistant Base Operations Officer, and flew C-123s. My first daughter Leigh Anne was born at the base hospital at Cannon in 1964.
After Cannon, I was assigned to the 605th Air Commando Squadron stationed at Howard AFB in Panama. I went through training at Hurlburt Field in Fort Walton Beach, FL in C-47s. The Air Force sent me to fifteen weeks of intensive Spanish language courses. While in Panama, I flew as a counterinsurgency instructor with the Honduras Air Force and the Venezuela air force. These Military Training Detachments involved three months in country. I also flew a three month mission in Uruguay in support of the Organization of American States Presidential Conference at Punta del Este in 1966. My second daughter Erin was born at the Gorgas hospital in the Canal Zone in 1966.
Upon returning to the states, I was once again assigned to Craig AFB, flying T-38s. At this point I decided to request release from active duty to pursue the college studies that I had interrupted to join the Cadet Program. Having spent my Air Force time without a college degree, I utilized the GI bill to overcompensate for this shortcoming. I received a BS in Mathematics from Auburn University in 1968 (2011 National Football Champs by the way), an MS in Computer Science from Georgia Tech in 1969, and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Illinois in 1976. I taught Computer Science at a number of universities until I retired from Mississippi State University in 1997.
While pursuing my educational goals and during my career in academia, I remained active in the AF reserves. I flew C-124s and T-33s in the Georgia Air National Guard. I also served as an admission counselor for AFROTC, and later served as an AF Academy liaison officer. I retired from the reserves as a Lieutenant Colonel.
During our marriage, Anne pursued a career in Nursing. She received a Doctor of Science in Nursing from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She worked as a surgical nurse, as the director of Surgical Services, and she also taught undergraduate nursing courses at two Universities.
Our older daughter Leigh Anne Bassinger is a nurse and works in the Human Resources Department for the City of High Point, NC. She has one son (21) and two step daughters (11 and 12). Our other daughter Erin Marshall, is a Computer Engineer who lives in Dallas and who is currently a stay at home mom for her only child Suzanne, age 3.
Upon retirement, Anne and I moved to a retirement community, Sun City Texas, in Georgetown, TX. We own a motor home, and spend about half of our time on the road. Anne plays bridge and makes beautiful quilts. I am still active in flying, and Anne and I attend a lot of fly-ins and air shows in our 1946 Piper L-4. On several occasions I have been able to obtain a summer job instructing and flying in both gliders and power planes. In those cases Anne and I take the motor home and spend the summer somewhere that is cooler than Texas. Anne and I also play a little country music for fun