9th AVRS - Frank Iava
I had just graduated from high school in June of 1950 when the Korean War broke out. After a few months into the war I began to think that I could be drafted into the Army soon. A couple of my friends wanted to enlist in the Navy. My response to that was, ďNo way will I enlist in the navy!Ē I went to see an Air Force recruiter and he assured me I could be leaving within a month. My parents were not too happy with my decision only because my brother had been in the 8th AF during WWII and flew many missions over Germany, etc. I could remember them worrying so much for him. I convinced them that if I didnít go in the A.F. I could very well be drafted and sent to Korea in the Army. That seemed to bring back memories to my Dad because he got drafted in WWI into the Army and fought in France.
My orders were to report to Lackland A.F.B. in December of 1950. About the time that I was ready to leave I was placed on hold because Lackland became over crowded with recruits. I waited for 2 more months and was sent up to Sampson A.F.B. in upstate N.Y. in March of 1951. This was a former Navy Training base in WWII, situated on one of the finger lakes. The Air Force, to lighten the load on Lackland in Texas, took over the base to train men. I made it through my basic training and all I can say about it is that I never experienced such cold weather. After basic I was sent to welding school ( not by choice; I wanted radio school ) in Prarie, Mississippi. It was part of Mississippi College Trade school. I completed the course there and was sent to Auto Mechanicís School in Longview Texas, Letourneau Tech. for 8 weeks training for auto mechanic. I enjoyed this school because I always messed around with my fatherís trucks and car. At least here I learned how to do mechanic work right. Our class finally graduated at the end of September 1951 and we were given a 14-day furlough and had orders to report to Camp Stoneman, California by mid-October to be assigned to overseas duty. I met up with my school group there and soon learned we were to be sent to Okinawa. However I believe about 8 of us were held back from the first group to leave. Finally after about 2 weeks I got my orders to go to Okinawa too. We were placed on a ship named USS Brewester, and I can remember being sea sick for 3 days ( see why I said no to the Navy?). We spent Thanksgiving on this ship also. Finally we arrived on Okinawa.
To my surprise I caught up to my friends who I had been training with. I was assigned to the 9 A.V.R. S. also. The only draw back
was that we had to bunk in our day room until our permanent barracks was refurbished for us. We lived there until after Christmas
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