As spring turned into summer in 1989, I had completed my deck and “climbing rose arbor” along with a finished railing and upper lattice triangles to weave the roses through.
One day when I discussed possible assignments with the Air Force Personnel Office, the Personnel Officer said you can be an “ECO” at Hahn AB, Germany.
I said, “I’ll take the job…just tell me what an ECO is;” and he said it was an “Electronic Combat Officer” – and I took the job immediately.
I told my fellow Instructor WSO’s that I was going to Hahn AB, Germany, to work with F-16 pilots – and they couldn’t understand why I would want to do that.
I said the F-16 was the most current fighter in the Air Force inventory and soon the F-4 and F-111 would only be sitting on pedestals – plus they needed my help at Hahn AB.
I also said I missed USAFE and being a part of NATO – and wanted to be back on the “tip of the spear” again in USAFE…and little did I know how the world was about to change and the future was about to unfold.
I was the most proud of having instructed future WSOs during my time at Mather AFB; who would soon participate in the Gulf War and beyond – in the most challenging environment ever – and do a spectacular job.
At the time, many of my fellow Instructor WSOs couldn’t grasp that the world had changed; and that the Air Force would begin a long process of encouraging WSOs to separate from the service as their cockpits were going away for good.
I figured out that a single seat fighter pilot needed all the help that they could get – so I was determined to do all that I could to give them that help – and they appreciated all the help they could get.
I spent three months in approved self-study in the EWO squadron at Mather AFB, getting up to speed on what I had to know; and was determined to be the best ECO that I could be.
I had just finished getting our back yard up to speed when we put the house on the market – and my wife and I began the process of preparing for another PCS (Permanent Change of Station) move.
After the movers left with our household goods, I flew with my wife and son to Germany to drop them off in Bruch at my wife’s parent’s house; and then I returned to Mather AFB to complete my PCS move and enroute training.
I had TDY (Temporary Duty) orders to attend a 10 day course with the 162nd Fighter Wing at the Arizona Air National Guard in Tucson, AZ – and enjoyed spending time in the beautiful Arizona sunshine.
After completing the course with the 162nd Air National Guard in Tucson, Arizona; I returned to Germany in August of 1989 – where my wife and her father had found a house for us to rent in a small village called Monzelfeld – east of the Mosel River in the Hunsruck region of Germany.