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Airman B.J. Ondo George AFB, CA.-USA 1973


USAF Service: June 1973 to April 1977. I enlisted in the United States Air Force a month after I graduated High School in May 1973, one of the first "All Volunteer" enlistments as the Viet-Nam War was coming to an end. I finished basic training at Lackland AFB, TX., then went to Security Police Training School. I was now a Security Specialist, AFSC 81130. My first base was George AFB, CA., a C-Priority base for the training of forgien pilots, mostly F-4C's but we had one active Wild Weasel Squardon, using the F-105 Thuds. After less than a year, I was given orders to, RAF Upper-Heyford, outside of Oxford, England. Our Planes, were F-111-E's, we guarded a VA Area and a Nuclear Storage Area, this was a base with a very serious mission! I progressed to the rank of Buck Sargent, (E-4). My daughter was born with a "heart & lung failure", I went back home on Emergency Leave. I put in for a "Umanitarian Reassignment", was assigned to Lowry AFB in Denver. Lowry AFB was a "Training Command" (ATC) most all of the "active" post were 115% manned and they had "no need" for a Security Specialist. I pleaded to be "laterly transfered" to a Law Enforcement Specialist, (81250) but instead I was "forced-trained" into a "Training Specialst" (AFSC 75132), a pure "paper pusher" job, which I absolutely hated! So much so I left the active duty USAF early to go into the Air National Guard under a program called "Palace Chase", to finish out my "6 year" service commitment and go back to being a, "Security Specialist" at Buckley Air National Guard Base, Denver, CO.

Naval Service: Aug. 1977 to May 1979. After being out in the civilan world for a few months, I decided I wanted back in the Air Force. I went to Air Force recuriters and was informed, that even with having a excellent service record and had been in a "critical career field", I still could not re-enlist. I was walking out of the AF recuriters and a Navy recuriter asked me if I'd "give the Navy a chance". I signed up for a "2 year enlistment", went thru OSVET (Other Service Veteran) School in San Diego, CA. The plan was, to get me into a "new program", called "Master At Arms", basicly a Navy Policeman but the program was discontinued before I could get into A-School! I was assigned to Anti-Submarine Warfare Squardon, VS-21 at NAS North Island as a "Airman", E-3, with no Rate (Naval Skill). I worked my way into Aviation Supply and become a Aviation Storkeeper. I got my E-4 back, I was now a Petty Officer, AK3. VS-21 was then assigned to the USS KittyHawk (CV-63). After serving on board the ship for a 2-week Sea Qualifacation Run, we were getting ready to set to sea for a "West-Pac Tour". I needed to "re-enlist" or take a "early out". I didn't re-enlist because of two reasons: 1. My "first wife", hated being a "Navy Wife" so badly she threatend divorce! 2. In my soul I still felt I should be, "Air Force"! For those reasons I left the chance of a Naval Career & Military Retirement and returned to civilian life.

I'm considered a, Viet-Nam Era Veteran (Feb 28, 1961 to May 7, 1975), I was never in Viet-Nam. When I joined the USAF in July 1973, there was only a "very slim" chance, I'd be assigned to a Air Force Base in Viet Nam, the war was coming to a close. I'm also considered a, Cold War Veteran,(Sept. 1945 to Dec. 1991), I spent many night's, guarding Nuke Loaded F-111-E's or perimiter guard at the Nuke Storage Area at RAF Upper Heyford, England. While in the Naval Service, I was assigned to a "Anti-Submarine Warfare Squadron", our job was to "hunt and spy" on the movements of Soviet Submarines on the west coast of the USA. In the Veteran status, we "ERA and Cold War Vets" seem to be looked upon as, "second class" to those that actually "went to war"! Even with that, I still beleive it's the BEST accomplishment of my life and I was and still very proud of my Military Service.
My wife JoLynn is a "Army Brat"! Jo tried to join the Army in the late 1980's, to follow in her father's bootsteps but due to a medical condition beyone her control, couldn't pass the physcial! Jo wrote the poem below in (November, 2006) to the memory of her father: SFC. James Edwin Perse Sr., 20+ year Army and "3 tour Viet-Nam Vet". We thank him for his service, his mission is complete, GOD Speed, Rest In Peace, Dad.

JoLynn placing a VFW Poppy, Memorial Day 2006


I remember when I was very young, my father standing so "straight and strong" in his uniform. How he always saluted our flag with "pride and respect", I was too young to understand, I was just an American Army Brat

As I grew to learn of GOD, the Pledge and our Nations Song, I also learned to except that my father was to be gone, this I did not like, I was just an American Army Brat

When my father and his friends were sent away to war, I understood the price some would pay, they might not all come home, I prayed with all my heart and soul each day for their safe return, It's so hard being just an American Army Brat

Now I'm to old to "SERVE" myself but I can say without any doubt, I'm proud of all those who served our countries needs, I'm so proud to this day to be just an American Army Brat

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