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Jack Ables

Shortly after graduation, I, along with other recent graduates, was sent to James Connelly AFB in Waco, TX to fly the B-25. This was the aircraft we flew at Reese AFB, Lubbock, TX in advanced training. Our assignment was to fly cadets training to be "back seaters" in jet interceptors. We flew them around while they learned to chase another B-25 trying to escape them. They sat in the bomb bay section with an instructor using radar to spot and chase their target. It was great fun for a new pilot, flying first pilot, especially when we became the target aircraft and were licensed to do all the acrobatics we could to escape the would-be killer.

The assignment lasted about three months after which I, again along with others, was sent to combat crew training in the B-29 at the famous Randolph AFB. The training was intensive as we were required to learn the essentials of all positions while also learning to fly the beast. We were being readied to go to Korea for heavy bombardment. But the Korean war ended in July 1953, after which I was assigned to SAC in KB -29 Tankers at Walker AFB in Roswell NM. By the way, despite Top Secret clearance, I never heard of the famous alien landing alleged to have taken place in Roswell. How about that!!

Shortly after the KB-29 assignment, we transitioned to brand new KC-97s, where I served several tours in the Arctic-- Newfoundland, Greenland refueling B-47s, B-52s , and numerous jet fighters. A really fun assignment.

I left active service in December 1955, then joined the Reserve in my home area (New York City) flying the C-119, flying formation, using tactical procedures, dropping troopers and again having fun.

Transferring to Buffalo, NY on a new job assignment with the United States Rubber Company, I worked as a company-trained engineer although my training was as a high school science teacher not engineer. Transferring to the Niagara Falls AFB reserve C-119 unit turned out to be a very happy venture. After three years, I left industry and went to teaching science and math in a nearby Jr-Sr high school.

Following a Master's degree and a fellowship for doctoral studies, I was offered a principal's job in another school , then a pricipalship in an area high school. I also earned my doctorate along the way. Continuing flying the C-119, then the C-130, was a wonderful part of my life for the next 17 years. I retired on Dec 19,1980 with 28 years service as a Lt. Col. Along the way, my son entered and graduated from pilot training also at Reese AFB. He has also flown the C-130 with 6 ( yes 6) tours in Iraq. His son, my oldest grandson, graduated from the Air Force Academy in May 2008. he is waiting to go to pilot training. What an Air Force story huh?

Oh, by the way , after retiring from active education service, I went to Kodiak, Alaska as Assistant Superintendent at the age of 67. How about that too?