Magazine

From the April 2013 magazine.

April 2013: Air Force Buddies

His hard-drinking pal flew off, and landed in a most surprising place

Stan and I were buddies in the Air Force. We were stationed together at a small base about 30 miles from Tokyo in the late 1950s. We drank together and spent many an evening stumbling back to the barracks from the Airman’s Club, or drunkenly roaming the streets of Tokyo. After a while Stan left the Air Force and returned to the States. As with many of my transient military buddies and drinking friends, I figured I wouldn’t see him again. Some years later, stationed in Germany, I was asked to end my military career after too many AWOLS and
drunken incidents.

After the service, I ended up in college and managed to graduate despite a lot of drinking and a few nights in jail. I got a job as a writer and editor for a government agency in Washington D.C. I even got married and had a son. Of course I still drank, but I didn’t seem to get into the same kinds of trouble I’d encountered when I was in the Air Force or in college. So I thought it must have been just the folly of youth. I recall one day saying to my wife Diane, “Sure I like to drink a lot, but I have a good job, and I take care of you
and Dan.”

-- John M.

Chesapeake, Virginia

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