|Keith D. Jones, US Air Force|
My Dad passed away last September after a battle with cancer. As part of the process to memorialize his life, I requested a copy of his military service record from the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis. The file arrived in February but for a variety of reasons I had not yet written about it here on the blog. We now have a date for a memorial service for Dad at Arlington National Cemetery later this summer. I thought now may be the time to share some extracts from the record.
In January 1968, Dad signed papers to enlist in the Air Force. My Gumpy witnessed the form. Dad had just completed a semester at Indiana University, following two years at Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Indiana. The enlistment questionnaire included all addresses where Dad had lived from his birth to 1968. I knew about the Broad Ripple address, where he lived with his parents up to 1961. I did not know Dad had lived in Danville, Indiana between 1965-1968.
Prior to joining the Air Force, his only international travel had been a month long camping trip to Canada in June 1958.
The formal enlistment date was 4 March 1968. The first stop in Dad's Air Force service was Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. After completing basic airman school in April 1968, Dad went to Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas. He must have returned home to Indianapolis in August 1968, as my parents were married there on 30 August 1968.
After their wedding, Dad went into aircraft maintenance training at Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio in September 1968. On 1 October 1968, Dad was promoted to Airman First Class. He received a secret clearance in 1969, and was transferred to Udorn Royal Thai Air Base in Thailand as part of the 432nd Combat Support Group. During that time he was promoted to Sergeant. In his duties as an aircraft mechanic, he performed pre and post-flight inspections on assigned aircraft, assisted the crew chief on unscheduled maintenance, troubleshooting, repairs and modifications to aircraft and related equipment.
We are lucky to be able to see some of the endorsements and references he received in his promotions. In his promotion to Airman First Class, the reporting official noted he was "a valuable asset to any enroute support section. A1C Jones' abilities were exemplified on March 19, 1969, when a C-124 aircraft staging this station was found to have a broken clamp on Number 2 engine driven generator. A new generator could not be procured and A1C Jones removed the generator so that the aircraft could depart on time without a costly delay. A1C Jones consistently volunteers his outstanding job knowledge and abilities to co-workers to get the job completed in minimum time. This has definitely contributed to the 98 percent maintenance reliability rate this enroute station enjoys. A1C Jones was selected as 'Airman of the Month' for February 1969. He was selected for his job knowledge, initiative and devotion to duty."
During the time at Udorn, the Crew Chief reported "Sgt Jones is continually studying and working towards furthering his knowledge of the many complex systems associated in the maintenance of C-130E type aircraft. Prior to being assigned as a' crew chief, Sgt Jones requested to be assigned to the phase dock so that he could gain more experience in the inspection and fix phases of heavy maintenance."
The Line Chief stated "I concur, Sgt Jones has done an excellent job in the maintenance section. I recommend his promotion."
In the facts supporting his promotion, the record reflects his "outstanding performance as a supervisor and manager. He insists on only quality maintenance from the various specialists that are used to maintain his aircraft. He has an outstanding knowledge of the various aircraft records, technical orders, and directives that are used to maintain the aircraft and he keeps abreast of all the latest changes of the technical orders and directives. With long and demanding hours as an aircraft mechanic, Sgt Jones finds time to assist the lower grade airmen in better understanding their job through the use of technical publications and on-the-job training. Sgt Jones has been lauded by his supervisors for his outstanding performance and the ability to promote a harmonious atmosphere in any situation. He has the determination to succeed in every task he is given. His military bearing and dress are of the highest standards. OTHER COMMENTS: Sgt Jones is one of the most outstanding young NCO's that I have had the pleasure of working with. He should be assigned the duties of crew chief to further his knowledge and responsibilities as a supervisor. I recommend Sgt Jones be promoted well ahead of his contemporaries. This duty was performed in Southeast Asia."
I can't think of a better review of Dad's military service to read.
In June 1970, Dad was assigned from Udorn to Travis Air Force Base as part of the 601st Organizational Maintenance Squadron and 60th Military Airlift Wing in California. The following March he was promoted to Staff Sergeant. During this time my parents lived in Vacaville, California. Dad was released from active duty in December 1971.
Dad remained in Air Force Reserve status until 3 March 1974. At some point between 1972-1974 my parents moved from California to Houston, Texas. My Nana and Gumpy later moved to Texas, and Dad also entered school at Sam Houston State University. He was honorably discharged from the Air Force on 14 March 1974.
I may have more to post in the near future on Dad's time in Texas and Thailand. I previously posted some photos my Dad took while in Thailand in 1969. There are many more in the same album. I also have an album of photos from 1968 while he was in Texas.