On this exact date I’m celebrating my remarkable 25TH silver anniversary in the United States Air Force. Back on the 12TH of June of 1985 – a mere 6 days after my high school graduation and just a week removed from my 18TH birthday – I made my way via cars, buses, planes, trains, and shuttles from Northern Virginia (Fairfax County) to San Antonio Texas (Lackland Air Force Base) to enter Air Force Basic Military Training. It was the most grueling six-and-a-half-weeks of my entire life – then and now. I arrived as a boy. I departed as a man.
I’d do it all over again. It was the very start of a long and rewarding military and civilian career, and I am most greatful.
Fast forward 5 years later … 20 years ago this Summer I enjoyed the greatest, the wildest, and the craziest time of my life. I drove up to Tyndall Air Force Base in Panama City for two weeks of Aircraft Maintenance Systems Database Management school. I remember next to nothing about the actual school, but I remember a LOT about the fun that I enjoyed after school. Me and a buddy from class totally rocked our faces off on the beach at neighbouring Spinnaker Beach Club and Club LaVela. We partied hard – every night. We agreed that it was our own personal Woodstock Music Festival – 21 years later. It was the mother-of-all college spring breaks big and small all rolled up into one giant blur. Of course all of this occurred several years before Panama City Beach was eventually discovered as the North American continental mecca for Spring Break.
What a total blast it was. It was the greatest most outrageous two weeks of my entire military career exploring Tyndall AFB, Parker, Callaway, Springfield, Cedar Grove, Panama City, Panama City Beach, and the scenic U.S. Highway 98 corridor through the region in my red 1989 Geo Spectrum. If I could do it all over again – I would NOT. I simply could not survive another two weeks like that again, and it’s quite simply incompatible with my current new Life. I just have the memories to look back on, and sometimes that’s more than enough.
Here’s a hard rockin’ smash that took the free nation by storm back during that memorable Summer of 1990. It’s laughed upon today as cheesy sugar-coated hair-metal-pop, but back then it was the signature rock song of my two weeks on the white hot sandy beaches of Panama City. It’s twin bros Matthew and Gunnar Nelson with their megasmash “(I Can’t Live Without Your) Love And Affection”. It’s ‘Retro’ from my ‘Summer Of Fun’ in 1990. You know it !