I become an Air Force Pilot
How it took me 10 years and 17 attempts to enter Pilot Training
My route to becoming an Air Force Pilot was a long and arduous one. I have to regress a bit to start this story --
1955 Attempt #1 occurred when I applied to, and was accepted for, what would be the second graduating class of the Air Force Academy. It was quite a process, requiring Congressional nomination, letters of recommendation, etc., but I did it. In the Application Packet you were allowed to list your top three choices of career fields. I put Pilot, Pilot, Pilot.
1956 Since I knew where my college education would come from, I did not pursue any scholarships. During my Senior year the school had a 'College to Career' day, wherein Seniors could skip a day of school to visit a nearby college.
Skipping a day of school sounded like a good idea to me. I literally picked a bus at random. The college I visited was La Verne College (now the University of La Verne). It was a fun day, getting to see a college campus. When I returned, I threw away all the materials I had received.
I was tentatively scheduled to start at the Academy in the summer of 1956, after graduating from High School. You can imagine my alarm when, just days after High School Graduation, I received a letter from the Air Force stating that the size of my incoming Academy class had been cut and I was being dropped.
Zounds! There went my life plan, up in smoke. It was too late to apply to other colleges -- I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do. Then, out of the blue, came a letter from La Verne, noting I had expressed an interest in attending there (Hah!) and stating they had an academic scholarship which no one had applied for. If I could qualify, it was mine. Was I interested?
Was I interested? Does a duck quack? Suddenly I had a burning desire to attend La Verne College. Which I did. It helped that La Verne had an excellent reputation at a training source for teachers. My life plan was back on track.
Other events: After driving a series of American convertibles, I purchased my first foreign sports car -- a 1951 SM Roadster, manufactured by Singer Motors, it was a knock-off of the English MG. In fact the only visual means of differentiating between was that the Singer's doors opened the opposite of the MG, the spare tire was under a fairing and there was what was charitably called a rear seat.