On leave, enroute to Pensacola, I returned home and Nancy Sue and I were married at Freeny Baptist Church by Rev. Smith Sanders, on Christmas Day, 1956. We headed for Pensacola Beach for a short honeymoon before I reported for duty. We lived in a motel on Pensacola Beach until the start of tourist season when the rates went up and priced us off the beach. We moved to a 1 bedroom apartment owned by Mr. Earle Waite near Saufley Field. After a few months, we bought a lot nearby from Mr. and Mrs. Hill and had a Jim Walter shell house built on it. We moved into the shell and continued finishing the inside for several months, thereafter. We lived next door to Ed and Polly Roy. He was a Navy hospital corpsman and we became very good friends and still maintain contact. Ed died on Dec. 1, 2001 and Polly lives with her daughter in New Mexico. We lost contact with most of the people we knew during that time except for the Roys, Anne and Gerald Woolard of Pensacola, and Bob and Anne Lynn of Burnsville, MN. Bob was my first married flight student at Saufley Field. I was an instructor at Saufley for the next 2 years and taught many young men to fly the T-34, but lost touch with them after they moved on.
In Dec 1958, I left active duty and we moved back home. I pondered going back to college for an engineering degree, on the GI Bill, but decided, with a wife and a baby on the way that we couldn't swing it. Looking back, I don't think it would have been that big a problem. We bought a house in Madison, MS, near Jackson and our first child, David Bruce, was born on April 13, 1959. I worked for Vickers Hydraulics for a few months and joined a Naval Reserve unit at NAS New Orleans, where I flew the F9F Cougar, a swept wing version of the Panther Jets I flew in advanced training. I was offered helicopter training if I would join a helicopter unit being formed. I went to helicopter training in Pensacola in late 1959. In the spring of 1960, I attended Johnny Dorr's Agricultural flying school in Merigold, MS and took a job as an agricultural pilot (crop duster) for the summer flying a Stearman. I was mostly spraying the cotton on the state penitentiary farm at Parchman. My daddy was then the farm manager there and had helped me get the job. I was working for Walter Crook's flying service in Ruleville and he had the contract on the penetentiary farm. I got a job as a Biology teacher at Provine High School in Jackson for the fall term and our daughter, Nita, was born on Feb 24, 1961. I flew a small surplus Hiller helicopter for the MS Forestry Commission on weekends until it had an engine failure and crashed in the woods. Fortunately, neither I nor the forester with me were seriously hurt, but that ended my part time flying job. The next summer, I continued my seasonal crop dusting job. I transferred my reserve membership to NAS Memphis and started flying FJ4s (F86Ds) with a unit there. I decided flying and the Navy were the best deal for me and applied to return to active duty. Next Page
Instructor Duty and Civilian Life - 1956-1961
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