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Veteran’s Day 2012

10:15 am in Government by dakine01

Dub and Peggy Taylor circa 1943

I am a Veteran. I served in the United States Air Force from 10 December 1976 to 9 September 1982. After basic training at Lackland AFB in San Antonio TX (yes, I spent Christmas and New Years in basic,) I did technical school for my future career field at Shepherd AFB in Wichita Falls, TX. My Air Force Specialty Code (AFSC) was 67251. In English that means I was an Accounting Specialist. I spent 15 months at Wurtsmith AFB, MI paying bills for the commissary. This means I was doing bookkeeping for the on base grocery store. Wurtsmith was a Strategic Air Command (SAC) base with a squadron of B52s and a squadron of KC-135s. My barracks was about 100 yards from the flight line and it got pretty noisy when a squadron of fully loaded B52s and a squadron of fully loaded KC-135s were queued up for take-off.

I went from Wurtsmith to Hickam AFB, HI after two short, cold, rainy summers and one long, cold, snowy winter. When I got to Hickam on 20 September 1978, I was assigned to the commissary accounting section once again. In Michigan, we had been a roughly $500K in revenues commissary while in Hawai’i, we had $2.5M a month in revenues. Yet, even though revenues were 5 times in Hawai’i what they had been in Michigan, the paperwork volume was probably less than a third increased since it was most all of the same vendors or types of groceries, just larger quantities. However, in Hawai’i there were four of us doing the work where in Michigan there had been two of us. When I got to Hawai’i and was told my work assignment, I was also told it was because the section was “behind.” When I saw what the definition of “behind” was, I laughed as in Michigan that level of “behind” would have been considered caught up to current day. It also pointed out the difference between the staffing at a “Major Command” base (Hickam was the home of the Headquarters Pacific Air Forces) and a northern tier SAC base. In SAC, the funds went to support the flying mission. As an example, my first calculator in Michigan was an older, hand cranked machine that I literally burned up within a month. And yes, I do mean burned up. I was running a column of figures and the machine did catch on fire. After this, I was given a new calculator. If I remember correctly, it was a Monroe Litton model 2410 and was the newest machine in the office. When I got to Hawai’i, everyone had Monroe Litton model 2420 which all had digital displays.

After 18 months in Hawai’i, I was moved over to the “Accounts Control” office where I was responsible for the accounting database, liaison with the data processing center, and worked with folks in every part of the accounting system from Base Supply to the Consolidated Base Personnel Office. I worked with the Headquarters command Accounting Office and Responsibility Cost Center Managers across the base. In order to be promoted within the USAF beyond the rank of E4 up to the rank of E7, we had to take tests on our knowledge in our career field. The first time I tested for E5, the test had two questions (out of 100) that were directly related to my work with another 10 being peripherally connected. The next time I tested a year later, 75 of the 100 questions were directly related to my work. When I got my results, I was number 3 USAF wide on the promotion list (though I did not get promoted until the end of the cycle since I had less time in grade as an E4 than others).
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How To Make a Tough Job Tougher

9:14 am in Uncategorized by dakine01

Like most folks around the US, I’ve had both positive and negative experiences in my dealings with law enforcement officials at all levels. Actually, I’m pretty fortunate in that my most negative experience probably occurred when I was ten years old. My father was the Adjutant for the local Veteran’s of Foreign Wars (VFW) post and had sent my older brother to the bank then sent me to get him back as he’d made a small error. Being ten, I darted between two parked cars out into the street and ran into the side of a car, bounced off and kept going. A local cop had seen me do this and afraid that I might be injured, had taken me to the police station for my statement and a statement from the woman whose car I’d hit/been hit by (she was more shaken up than I was). While I was there, the "Dilly Man"* had come by and the cops had gotten ice cream for themselves but not for me. As you can probably tell, this still p*sses me off coming up on fifty years later. Ironically, the following Monday I was named a "Safety Patrol Boy" for the first semester at school that year, making sure my classmates all crossed at the corner and stopping cars while they crossed.

Other than that, most of the negatives have been the occasional speeding ticket or such.

Today, however, I want to talk about a couple of recent news articles of cops acting in such a way as to make an already difficult job that much harder.

First off, is this story from New Albany, IN where police officer (and City Councilman) Jack Messer has been accused of racism:

During a police roll call meeting Jan. 22, Capt. Merle Harl stated in his report to Chief Greg Crabtree he heard Messer state “the worse thing we ever did was to give those people their civil rights.”

According to Harl’s report dated Feb. 12, Messer was referring to black people.

When asked by a black officer to clarify his remarks, Messer said he made the statement because “he believes the government is the down fall of the young black males, causing them to get into trouble selling drugs”, according to Harl’s summary.

For some reason, I have an idea that Officer Messer will be an ex-city councilman after the next election.

Then there’s the continuing fall-out from the Ben Roethlisberger situation. In case you’ve been on a desert island for a couple of months, the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback was accused of sexual assault after a night out with some underage college girls in Milledgeville, GA. The county attorney in Georgia declined to prosecute but at least three law enforcement officers have had their careers impacted for their actions on the night in question.

Sgt Jerry Blash of the Milledgeville PD, resigned the day before the county district attorney’s report was issued.

Blash is the only officer who interviewed the quarterback. He acknowledged in an interview with investigators that he made some derogatory comments about the accuser to other officers, and that some in Roethlisberger’s party may have overheard him.

In Pittsburgh, one of Roethlisberger’s "bodyguards" that evening, an active Pennsylvania State Trooper named Ed Joyner has been forced to give up his moonlighting position as "personal assistant" to Roethlisberger for having gone beyond the stipulated rules for doing his outside work. The other "bodyguard," Officer Anthony Barravecchio, from the Coraopolis Police Department in suburban Allegheny County:

Coraopolis police chief Alan DeRusso said Barravecchio is a friend of Roethlisberger’s and was on vacation when he went with the quarterback to Georgia. The officer isn’t suspended or under any kind of internal department investigation and remains on the schedule full-time, the chief said.

Both officers have denied knowing anything about the assault even as they were identified by the alleged victim’s friends as the persons who blocked their attempts to reach their friend during the alleged assault.

Neither of these incidents are of the level of indiscriminate use of tasers, arresting folks for driving while black/brown/ghey, or the other ways that bad cops can tarnish an entire force. But they are examples of obstacles created for all police officers due to the unthinking actions of a few.

For the record and in full disclosure, I received Law Enforcement training as an additional duty/"warskill" during my Air Force days including qualifying with a 38 and quarterly activities as a patrol officer on base, usually 3 mid-shifts per quarter.

*The Dilly Man was the name given to the person in my hometown who drove the Dairy Queen Ice Cream truck through the neighborhoods on summer afternoons (derived from the Dilly Bar)

And because I can: