I got a notice from the draft board to go to Milwaukee for a pre-induction physical. On the overnight trip down I was in a Pullman Sleeper and on the way back I was in coach. After I got the notice that I was 1A, I decided to join the Air Force. My senior class in high school took the Air Force entrance exam as an aptitude test and I had high scores in all areas. While in high school I had thought about going in the Army and try to get into some kind of construction unit and learn how to operate bulldozers and graders and other heavy equipment. When LBJ and Congress decided to do a huge troop build-up in 'Nam, I changed my mind about the Army. I figured if I was to go to 'Nam, I would like to be in the service that gave me the best chance of coming home alive. I didn't consider the Navy because I didn't like their uniforms. Like I said I had taken the test for the Air Force, so about all I had to do was to sign the papers.
While waiting to go into the Air Force I got a job on the pipeline. It was with a sub-contractor that was clearing the right-of-way. My job was burning brush. It was easy as about all I had to do was to get the pile burning and then walk around and pick up pieces that the dozer missed and throw them on the fire. This was the first job I was fired from. I wanted to fix my car so I could out drinking Friday night and I lied about why I needed to take the afternoon off. When I went back to work on Monday I was told I was fired. That was the first time a so-called co-worker ratted me out to the boss. It didn't bother me because I was to go into the Air Force in a couple of weeks. When I went to get my paycheck, we were told that they would give us the checks next week. The checks didn't arrive before I left and I made arrangements for someone to pick it up and cash it at Old Charley's store and pay off my bill at the store. For some reason the check bounced and had to be redeposited or something. After hearing about the problems with the paycheck, I was glad I didn't work there very long. Because I didn't get my check before I left, I had to borrow $20 from my uncle so I would have money for food and cigarettes until I got paid in the service.
If working for someone else was being a wage-slave, being in the service at that time was more like being a slave. You got room and board and a small amount of money for incidentals and you could not quit.