I did not get to walk and receive my graduation certificate like normal people; instead, I enlisted in the Army. I did, however, receive my HS equivalent (GED) certificate while in the Army.
After receiving an honorable discharge (that may surprise a couple of you), I returned to Enid, OK. I was working at George E. Failing Co. on East Main when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. That is where I met Rosalie Dowe. She was George Doremus’s secretary. I asked her out on a dare from the guys in the shop, and we married a year later in 1965. Poor girl; I drug her all over the world and she has stuck with me through it all.
I became a pilot in 1968, and a commercial pilot/flight instructor in 1969. In 1970, I went to work for the Frisco Railroad, as a track hand. Six months later, I was enrolled in the Apprentice Engineer program. Eventually, Ben Haines and I took our written test to be a locomotive engineer. The examiner sat at the same table with us and didn’t even close the door when he went to the bathroom. The exam took two days. Later, I learned that Ben and I had made the highest scores ever recorded on the Frisco RR. (proud moment). An interesting tidbit – I worked with Beverly Gearheard’s daddy for 16 years on the Frisco/ Burlington Northern RR before leaving in 1986. I went back into the aviation field full time.
The last two years on the RR, I went to school and took the required tests to become an aircraft mechanic. Three years later, I took the exam to become an aircraft inspector. I have maintained both licenses to date. From 1986 to 1990, I trained and received my Airline Transport pilot license. I also received both Single Engine and Multi-engine, Land and Sea license.
From 1990 to 1992, we went to the South Pacific and served with Pacific Missionary Aviation as a life line to the outer island people. I carried missionaries to the outer Islands, did air medicine drops, sea search and rescue, and medical evacuations. I can honestly say that the Lord allowed me to serve Him in a much-needed ministry.
In 1992, we returned to the US, and I went to work for Groendyke Transport as a company pilot and aircraft mechanic. While there, I flew many missions for the company in the US, Canada, and Mexico. Sometimes, I flew alone, and sometimes, as captain or co-pilot with Mel Shipley, in the company Turbo-prop and Jet airplanes.
In 2000, I went to work at Flight Safety, International (training pilots in jets) in Wichita, Kansas. I retired in 2008 (65 years old) and Rosalie and I moved back to Enid. We have lived at Golden Oaks Retirement village since then. My final achievement, while in Wichita, was to fly a Citation CE680 Sovereign Jet from Wichita, KS to London, England. I crossed the Atlantic Ocean in the middle of the night at 45,000 feet.
I did, however, become very bored after retirement; and eight months later, I went to work for Aircraft Structures, International, at Woodring Airport (Mickey and Kay Stowers), where I worked six more years.
Rosalie and I have been blessed with fifty wonderful years together. We have two children, five grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. We have been members of Emmanuel, Enid since 1980, where Dennis Luckinbill is the leader of my community group.