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Aiken, Dave (1989-1993)

Profile Added: 4/16/2012 8:58:48
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Home Town: Conneaut, OH
Unit at Loring: 42 OMS Tanker Red Flight
First Day at Loring: My introduction to Loring was a 17 hour bus ride from Springfield, MA that dropped me off a the bus stop/gas station jst up the road from Yusef's restaurant at around 2300 on a brisk night in January.  I stayed the night at the apartment of a couple of FMS jet mechs because my sponsor had moved from OMS to FMS and had not handed me off to anyone.  My first real day was being delivered, first to Jet Shop, then to OMS (after everything got straightened out) where I was met by then SSgt Michael "Cheeks" Griffing who took over as my sponsor and one of the best flight chiefs that I have had the pleasure of working for, MSgt Les Norris.  I was also greeted by SMSgt Bobby Burgess who asked me what year I was born.  When I told him 1970, he laughed out loud and told me that he had been squatting in the rice paddies of Viet Nam when I was born.  Loring remained an amazing adventure for the rest of the time that I was there.
Most Memorable Experience: It is hard to pick just one.  Carving a parking space out of the snow pile in front of my place on Hickam Drive (we lived at the back of a horseshoe) because the plows had pushed through the front yard to make a fire lane to our front doors.  Watching a Thanksgiving weekend storm dump more than 3 feet of snow in 24 hours and the drift covering our back window.  Coming home from a TDY and being held in the pattern while Entomology chased a family of Moose off of the runway so that we could land.  Watching ice fog roll in on a windless night and the smoke from the H-1 heaters stop rising a few feet above the exhaust stacks.  I still tell these and a thousand more stories to the kids that I work with.
Last Day at Loring: My family and I stayed at a friend's place in Wherry housing while we got ready to head out to Offutt AFB, NE.  My last view of Loring was through the rear window of a Ford Festiva with most of our lives to that point packed in a car-top carrier that weighed almost as much as that little car.  I arrived at Loring in the snow and below-zero windchills, and that was how I left there.  But don't get me wrong, if they had not closed it down, I would have been happy to stay 20 years.
What did you do after Loring? I gave 17 more years to Uncle Sam here at Offutt as a -135 Crew Chief, Phase, MOCC, Tool Crib, and Safety guy.  Retired April 1, 2011 and am now the Wood Crafter at the Arts and Crafts Center on base.  I was fortunate enough to literally see the world, including a 'round-the-world run via Alaska, Russia (with an overnight stop in Moscow!) and Mildenhall, England in 10 days.  Even there, I tended to remember my start as a Cold War SAC vet watching the F-15's scramble out on "Bear" patrol and being an Alert junkie.  Irony can be a beautiful thing.
If you agree, people can contact you at (email): aikendave@hotmail.com