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Old March 2nd, 2009, 03:14 AM
BlackBat242 BlackBat242 is offline
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Default Real life "alternate histories"

The thread I started in the 'Pit has diverted to the sub-subject of the Presidential helicopter fleet.

This actually touches on me in a personal way.

In the spring of 1982 I was in the USMC, attending avionics "A" school at NAS Millington, Tn. I had just completed the course with a high-enough finishing score to qualify for the extended 6-month AFTA (advanced first-term avionics) course.

Then I was called to attend a meeting with one of the Marine training unit's admin officers. All the other Marines who had qualified for, but not yet started, AFTA were there... and we were informed that they had goofed, and assigned too many of us to the course.

Before they forcibly dropped some from the course, they asked for volunteers to give up the course in exchange for getting our choice of duty assignments.

They also had a couple of specific assignments available... and I was offered a position with HMX-1 (HMX means helicopter, medium, experimental).

I asked "green-side" or "blue-side"?
Green-side is the Marine helicopter test & development squadron... while Blue-side is the Presidential Helicopter detachment.

The answer was "Blue-side only", and I declined.

Crazy you ask? I understood that taking the assignment would mean virtually no private life (hard when the Secret Service, FBI, NSA, etc are watching you all the time), no personal privacy whatsoever (regular security sweeps, etc), and a very regimented "spit&polish" atmosphere in everything in my life.

I asked if I could get MCAS El Toro (southern California), and he said there were no open positions available. I declared I would keep my AFTA assignment, and in the end I was allowed to attend the school.

Upon completion, I was assigned to train for intermediate-level* test & repair of the FLIR/laser targeting/weapons-guidance system on the A-6E Intruder (brand-new tech at the time) at NAS Whidbey Is, Wa... and upon completion I would be assigned to Headquarters & Maintenance Squadron 13... at MCAS El Toro, Ca!!!

It was at Whidbey Island that I met the navy guy who introduced me to AD&D (Dec 1982), and shortly after arriving at El Toro a couple of the other people I worked with invited me to join their AD&D group... where I met the fellow who introduced me to Traveller (mid-1983).

I have often wondered what path my life would have taken had I accepted the "prestige-posting" and gone to Washington, D.C.

Would I have met gamers... and would I have dared to get involved in something that could be misunderstood as something that made me a security threat**?

How else would my life have changed?

Anyone else have something like that... a choice that could have led your life down a very different path?

*between squadron & depot levels, I would be on the same base as the squadrons but working in a air-conditioned, heated environment at all times.

**remember the "D&D leads to Satanic worship" craze? It was just getting going well in early 1982, and I would have been thinking of that public perception
"If there are Gods, they do not help, and Justice belongs to the strong; but know that all things done before the naked stars are remembered." Klingon proverb

Last edited by BlackBat242; March 2nd, 2009 at 03:20 AM..
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