I'm proud to have served four year in the United States Air Force, 1951-1955. It was a defining time in my life. I was just out of college, and the USAF weaned me away from the family hearth in many ways—in other words, I did a lot of growing up! I was assigned an interesting job, worked with a great group of guys, and came home with the GI Bill in my pocket and a different direction in my life as I returned to civilian life.
However, I’ve never thought of myself as a "vet." To me that title should be reserved for those who risked their lives in a combat theatre. I served during the Korean War—but in the US and Europe. (As the world has gradually learned, USAFSS Airmen did lose their lives in pursuit of their mission: “The Price of Vigilance.”)
I served in the United States Air Force Security Service (USAFSS) in an intelligence gathering enterprise. After training in San Antonio, Texas, I was assigned to the 6910th Security Group in southern Germany. Our training and work was highly classified, and we could never tell our friends and family what we did. I’ve especially regretted never being able to tell my parents. However, as the 20th century ended, we’ve watched as many of the “secrets” we guarded so carefully have been revealed in books and movies, or been officially declassified.
I'm proud of my small part in defending our country, and immensely proud of the men and women with whom I served. In the American tradition of "citizen soldiers," most of us served only four years, but we did our jobs well, and, we would do it again in a heartbeat, if called on.
A/1c Ray M. Thompson - USAFSS 6910TH SECURITY GROUP