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My Air Force Career
(From Start to Finish )
November 1965. Left Guam and headed for Lackland AFB, located in San Antonio, Texas for basic training.  We were flown from Andersen AFB to Travis AFB where we were billeted until the proper time to depart (late at night) for Lackland.  Basic training came and gone.  Things I remembered the most:  Lots of yelling and cussing.  Got the Expert Ribbon - I shot  64 out of 60.  I think the guy to my left was shooting at my target.  Saw the reaction "Is that it?" 
    December 1965.  Finished basic and headed to Amarillo AFB in the Texas panhandle for technical training.   Things I remembered the most:  Met up with childhood friend and fellow Chalan Pago villager, Joseph Quintanilla.  Marching to class and back and sand storms -- sands everywhere.  Graduated early (self-paced program) reward:  Base details while waiting for my assignment order.  Can't wait to get to the real Air Force.
    April 1966.  After waiting for over 2 weeks; finally I got my order (FIGMO).  Departed for my first PCS (Permanent Change of Station) assignment to Vandenberg AFB, Lompoc, California.  Finally, the "Real Air Force" I've been hearing about.  Things I remembered the most:  Got an outstanding supervisor .  Got upgraded to 5 level and promoted three times- Made Airman Second Class (A2C); Pin-on Airman First Class eight month later and thirty days after that I got promoted again to Sergeant (Okay, so they changed the title, but I got promotion order to prove it).  Qualified for the "Expert Ribbon" again - did it on my own this time.  Did a lot of butts details (picking up cigarette butts across an open field) and Friday afternoon office cleanings -- strip the floor, wax the floor and buff the flood.  And today Airmen complained about cleaning their rooms.
AF Sgt Jess Pereda (Ton Son Nhut AB, Vietnam) April 1968.  The War in Vietnam was heating up.....gotta be there!  I volunteered (Man! I must have been stupid back then).  Assignment:  Tan Son Nhut AB, Saigon, Vietnam.  Things I remembered the most: First night in-country - rocket attack...scared the living lights out of me.  Next day, processed into my unit and moved into the barracks right next to the flight line. Where do you think those rockets are being aimed at?  Spend the evening with the guys at the Airman Club (25 cent mixed drinks) - passed out on top of my bunk.  Next day, everyone were talking about  the "rocket attack"  last night and running  into the bunkers.  My reaction "What Attack?"  Slept right through it.  Never got scared again after that.  Also, volunteered for a couple of TDYs (Temporary Duty) into the high country near the northern border (I told you I was stupid back then). Got promoted to Staff Sergeant (only been in three years) and awarded my first medal, The Air Force Commendation Medal.  Hey, this ain't bad.
    April 1969. Arrived at my next Assignment; Beale AFB in Marysville, California.  North of Sacramento.  Worked special assignment with a Captain to open up a brand new function using DOD guidelines.  Things I remembered the most:  Two months after arrival, received notification that I been selected for assignment back to Vietnam.  Told base personnel people, "I ain't going"... they said, "Yes, you are."  I wrote a letter to a Congressman - Guess who won?  Almost time to reenlist again or get out....Decision, decision, decision.  The Air Force offered me a tour at Andersen AFB, Guam if I reenlisted - I took it!    Guam is good, that what the poster said; so I packed up my bags and.....

Jess with Vernon and Brian, Early 70's April 1970.  Arrived at my next assignment - HOME SWEET HOME!  Andersen AFB, Guam with assignment to Headquarters Eighth Air Force.  Things I remembered the most:  Got married and had two wonderful boys.  BBQs and picnics with families and friends.  Speeding tickets coming in the back gate (lucky I got connections).  Watching B-52s taking off, one right after the other for bombing missions over North Vietnam.  Got awarded the Air Force Meritorious Service Medal (MSM) as a Staff Sergeant (unheard off at the time).  But, I didn't get promoted (not that I was dumb, it because I needed to score 200 point from a 100 points exam in order to get selected - the impossible task)...turn out that my assignment on Guam (my home) will be the only assignment where I was not promoted but yet eligible.   Hate to leave this place but after 4 years, it time to move on ......Sayonara.
    June 1974.  Arrived at my next assignment - The Land of the Rising Sun, Naha AB, Okinawa, Japan.  Worked at Naha International Airport with inter-service personnel, Army, Navy and Marines.  Things I remembered the most:  You do not supervised other services personnel the same way as Air Force personnel.  Try asking a Marine to do something?  Response:  Nothing.  Try This:  "Get your Butt out there."  Response:  "Yes Sir."  Learned a lot about supervision on this assignment.  Also, learned that a "deck" and a "floor" are the same thing and a "head" is not what you think it is.  Got promoted to Technical Sergeant and received  my second Air Force Commendation Medal.  Now where will I want to go from here?.....California again; maybe Florida......Don't care as long as it warm.
    January 1977.  Arrived at my next assignment - Where I don't see the sun or the moon while at work.   Worked three floors under ground at Strategic Air Command (SAC) Headquarters building, Offutt AFB, Bellevue, Nebraska. Things I remembered the most:  The entire family got sick after arrival (coming from 89 degree to minus 10 degree it a lot for the body to take).  The kids seeing their first snow.  Learned a lot about being an NCO and that I was good in what I do.  SAC Inspector Generals (IG) team members are treated like kings on SAC bases.  Got asked by a Master Sergeant to get out of the "Top 3 Lounge."  His words were, "The Top3 lounge is for Top3 personnel only.  You have to earned it to come in here."  (He apologized after I show him my ID Card).  Got promoted to Master Sergeant (E-7) soon after arrival and awarded another MSM when I left.  Got my BOP (base of Preference) assignment with a three years control tour to God's country.

January 1981.  Arrived at my next assignment - The Pacific Northwest,.  McChord AFB, in Tacoma, Washington.  Things I remembered the Most:  It rain everyday.  I worked in the "Castle."  The "real" Wing Commander was Pearl, the DO's Secretary - Generals will stop by to see her first when they arrived.  Didn't see Mount Rainier until six month after I arrived - one day I look East and there she is.  I love it here, my family love it too; we don't ever want to leave.  Received words that I been handpicked for a brand new job at Headquarters Military Airlift Command.  Told them:  I love it here, leave me along!  And they said, "okay"--- in my dream of course.  Got promoted to Senior Master Sergeant (E-8) soon after arrival and awarded another MSM when I left 3 years to the date. 
    January 1984.  Arrived at my next assignment - "Land of Lincoln"  Scott AFB, located near Belleville, Illinois and duty at Military Airlift Command (MAC) Headquarters.  Things I remembered the most:  I didn't want to be here.  Open a new Division - me; two years later, got 5 authorizations.  Lots of TDYs.  Learned stress management - dealing with it.  My creativity was put to the test daily.  Short suspense were the norm, not the exceptions.  Turn down an MSM for an Achievement Medal cause I wanted the ribbon.  Turn out to be the best assignment I have ever had.  Got promoted to Chief Master Sergeant (E-9) soon after arrival and received numerous other awards.  Five years later, the Air Force came knocking again .....Time to move on Chief!.  Don't they ever give up?  Received another MSM upon more promotion from hereon, reached the top.
    June 1989. Arrived at my next assignment; Spangdahlem AB, Germany.  Replaced a Captain and took charged of over 50 assigned personnel with functions scattered all over the base and off-base.  Things I remembered the most:  I implemented all the programs that I developed while assigned to MAC --they worked in Europe too.  Received 15 Laudatory comments during Headquarters Staff Assistance Visit.  Majority of my people were under 25 years old - No DWI;  no accidents, nothing during my two year tour - I think they will rather die than disappoint me.  Never once wear the Chemical gears -  Thank you Air Force for the trust - An enlisted man dream job.  Got replace by a Major from SHAPE Headquarters when I left.  Here we go again.....assignment time - I wonder what bases they will offer me?  As usual, I don't have a choice.....the Air Force already picked my next assignment.  
    June 1991.  Arrived at my next duty assignment; got diverted from Washington DC to Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio with assignment to the Air Force Materiel Command Provisional Headquarters as their Executive Officer.  Things I remembered the most:  The best of each functional areas were assigned to the Provisional Staff - they don't need me; so I worked part-time with the Local Area Network folks -- learned a lot about computers and LAN operations.  At Wright-Patt, bluesuiter have position, civilian have the real job.  If you like to work with lots of responsibilities, this is not the place to be.  Took a job across the base after AFMC activation - same old thing.  Thinking a lot about retirement ..........Like I always said, "when it no longer time to get out."
    November 1993.  The Air Force was changing rapidly; not to my liking...General McPeak was in charge then....need I say more.  I am from the old guard, "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen." - so I did.  Started my terminal leave with retirement effective on 28 February 1994.  Time to move on.....and to start a new chapter of my life.  
How to succeed in today Air Force?  Same way we did, in the old Air Force.  Work hard and be the best you can be; Learned your job from top to bottom - be the expert;  Never be happy of how things are done...always look for ways to improve -- use this words, "What If:"  Get all the training and education you can get; study hard and learn your study limitations; take care of your people, and they will take care of you; and if you do likewise; your boss will take care of you; and remember that an Air Force career is a commitment to your country and our way of life.