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BIRTHDATE: September 15, 1936
SPOUSE: Sarah Smith
INTERVIEWER: George Martin
DATE: July 22, 2003
PLACE: Slocomb, Alabama
INDEXER: Nuite Sherman
DATE OF INDEX: April
GENERAL TOPIC OF
INTERVIEW: Military experience, attitudes, and
life story of Patrick Smith, who served in the USAF as a non-com and Lieutenant in
Germany, 1969-1973, then served 16 years in Reserves.
Date processed: 5-2005
Processed By: M. Olliff
of tapes: 1
of sides: 2
of tape: ca. 60 minutes
Introduction of the narrator and the interviewer.
Discusses his marriage to Sarah and their children Patrick III (nickname, Trey) and daughter Mindy residing at home and attending Wallace Community College. Family resides with his aging mother to provide continuing care.
Early Air Force career (enlisted), November 1969-1973. Heating systems specialist in support of B-52 Bombers. He did not serve in Vietnam. Provided support for the B20 Bombers while serving in Germany from August 1971-November 1973 in Germany.
Honorably Discharged from the Air Force, he continues his education in 1977-1980 by receiving two degrees from Auburn University (A degree in Secondary Education and a degree in comprehensive science and Biology).
Became a 2nd Lieutenant in the Air Force, attended Air Force Maintenance school in June of 1980 at Tyndall Air Force Base in Panama City, Florida for 3 ½ years. He was promoted to 1st Lieutenant in 1980.
Caught in a military reduction in force (RIF) and passed over for Captain, he separated from the Air Force and joined the 919th Civil Engineering Squadron at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. He resided there for 16 ½ years.
Description of job duties And responsibilities as the Aviation Officer in Charge of Component Repair Squadron and Deputy Commander for Maintenance Squadron.
Served with the 919th Civil Engineering Squadron from 20 December 1984 to 8 August 2001. Worked part time as a substitute teacher, sold insurance and owned a lawn care business.
Explains how the military GI Bill helped to provide compensation for books, tuition and a paycheck while attending college. Comments about his retirement from the reserves and his collection of retirement benefits at the age of 60.
Military training in the reserves hindered civilian job entry without additional training. He was a heavy construction operator for 6 years and an air conditioning repairman for 10 years. Reserve forces training was on the job training instead of formal school training.
Deployed more in the Air Force reserves than active duty military. Received slurs like other soldiers who went to Vietnam, even though he did not go to Vietnam. He spent 2 ½ Years in Europe and wanted to go to Vietnam. He feels that the soldiers who went to Vietnam received a slap in the face.
He states that regular conventional soldiers (active duty) may not receive adequate training for Iraq. Special Forces receive adequate training for this type of warfare. Different tribes in Iraq, every one of them want autonomy. Shiite, Sunni and Kurds have been fighting for over 300 years this issue will not be solved quickly.
No utilization of veteran hospitals or clinics at present. His wife works at a hospital and has provided the family with Blue Cross and Blue Shield. He cannot experience his retirement plan until he turns 60 years of age, which is 6 more years.
Discusses his family and if any of his children will join the military within the near future. His son has physical and emotional problems which places him on disability. His daughter has no interest in the military.
Pending retirement on 8 August 2001, the United States was attacked one month and three days later on September 11, 2001. He was placed on stop loss and called back to service. He has come off the stop loss and will retire from the service as a tech sergeant and will draw the pay of a 1st Lieutenant at the age of 60.
He was an only child, no brothers or sisters. His father could not serve in the military in World War II due to a hunting accident. He had two uncles who served in World War II and one cousin who worked with B17 pilots. He was never trained to fly airplanes.
Comments about saving money by cutting veterans benefits. He relates what other veterans that have told him about the satisfactory treatment they are receiving at the VA facilities. There are some veteran services that are not as good as civilian services.
He comments on the need for military base closings. He also states that some of the closings provided hardship to those that settled in an area to support the military and then lost their jobs while having families to support.
He discusses veteran loans and housing. He also explains that there is no help from the military at this time for people like him seeking advanced degrees using the GI bill. The GI bill provides support for an undergraduate education only.
Fraud, waste and abuse in the military. He tells how the government will airlift MREs (meals ready to eat) from a training exercise to a warehouse. The remnants of this totally edible food should be used for the homeless or by boy scouts.
End of interview.