Last week I told how I was conned into signing a volunteer statement on which I opted out of Air Force regulations that protect men and women from having to serve in unfair or improper ways. So there I sat in a classroom on Sampson AFB, learning Mandarin Chinese while I awaited shipment to Yale, after which — nobody had bothered to mention — I would learn Chinese and be shipped to a lousy assignment in the Far East where nature would no doubt insert the tube if the Earth ever needed an enema.
And I’d be there far into the distant future.
However, when I got wondering where I would be stationed after I left Yale, dug the truth out of an Air Force manual, and went to everyone on base, including the base commander. I got the same answer — “Can’t help you. Program has the highest priority in the Air Force.”
We took a daily test in that cursed course. First the professor taught; then a two-striper airman monitored the test. One day, as he passed out tests, the two-striper looked at us and said, “You guys better be motivated about this stuff, or you better get out of the program because when you get to Yale it’s going to be rough!”
I finished that test as fast as I could write, took it up to the two-striper, and said, “Hey, buddy! I was listening to you when you talked to us before. I’m not motivated about this crap!”
And guess what?
He wrote, “Take this guy out of the Chinese Language program,” on a little strip of paper off the bottom of a sheet, tore it off, handed it to me, and told me to take it to a three-stripe airman, who looked at it and asked me what I wanted to do instead.
“I’ll go to any school that gets me off the base today.”
“No can do, but too bad you weren’t here yesterday.”
“There’s a school on base. Class started yesterday.”
I didn’t have a clue what “G.I.S.” stood for, but I talked him into filling out the papers and letting me see if they would accept me a day late. I then talked my head off at the school, and — bingo! — I was in General Instructors School learning to teach!
And guess what? Air Force regs said that once you were enrolled in a tech school only Air Force Headquarters could take you back out of it!
Of course, the two Yale professors discovered my escape, came looking for me, and had me called into my squadron commander’s office to face an interrogation, but I had an answer to all their questions.
“I was conned into signing a paper which I was told only said that I volunteered for your course, but which actually signed away my rights to fair treatment under Air Force Regulations. If you think I’m going to be quiet about it if you try forcing me back into your program, think again. I worked for the newspaper back home, and I’ll call them, tell them what you people are doing, and inside of a week the whole nation will be reading about it.”
They never bothered me again.
Six years later some creep tried the same old unread “volunteer statement” trick on me again. Guess where I told him to put it.
If you decide to don a uniform, read and thoroughly understand anything before you sign it!