After graduating from high school in May of 1965, I went to Burlington Wyoming to stay with my grandparents helping out on their farm while I awaited my notice to enlist in the United States Air Force. I enlisted at Fort Douglas in Salt Lake City on September 15, 1965, about as naïve as I could possibly get. I joined the Air Force to travel to new places and meet a lot of interesting people. Getting off the plane in Dallas Texas on my way to basic training at Lackland AFB I almost fainted due to the heat and humidity. My six weeks in “basic” was a jolt. I didn’t do discipline well. I managed to graduate on time and as squad leader, but it wasn’t easy.
I spent my entire enlistment at March AFB in California working in communications. I started out working on the base switchboard on graveyards. The chow hall would send us all sorts of baked items if we would make calls home for them. I moved on to teletype machines receiving and sending messages. It was working there that I was first aware of the significance of the war in Vietnam. I seemed to have a front row seat to classified information that was never released to the public and was very descriptive.
I was the first enlisted female to work in the 15 Air Force Command Post learning the early Cobalt tape computer system. At the time I did not understand how important this boring technology was at that time. March AFB received a large number of young men returning from the Vietnam War. At the time their stories of what was going on there seemed unbelievable. I fell in love with Southern California. In those days it was safe to camp out on the beach, we could go skiing at Big Bear, and Mexico was just an hour away. After waiting for an overseas assignment which never came I decided to go home and do something else.
We honor you, Katharine Haworth.