Forty Years Ago

I was at NATTC Memphis at Millington, TN.  I had been there since April and it was hot and humid.  I was learning to be an aircraft mechanic.  Two weeks of fundamentals and 8 weeks of Aviation Metalsmith, Structural  “A” School.  I was just about done and anticipating going to the “real” Navy.

About 80 men lived in our barracks, a 2 story wooden building of WWII vintage.  The TV lounge was about 20×12 with a 21-inch black-and-white TV on a shelf near the ceiling in the corner.  The remote was a sturdy chair and a long arm to turn the channel changing dial.  Some chrome-armed chairs with vinyl cushions were filled early and it was standing room only when the Astronauts stepped down onto the surface of the moon.  This was “LIVE FROM THE MOON”. “Un-f-n-believable” as the common expression went (Sanitized for your protection).

It’s still amazing.

The following January, Capt. John G. Wissler, CO of Weapons System Test Division of Naval Air Test Center, Patuxent River, later Rear Admiral and CO of NATC, congratulated me on my being promoted to AMS 3rd Class (E-4). I will never forget that handshake and the blue eyes that look so icy.

Rear Admiral Wissler was listed as a source in James Michener’s Space.

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