©2013 - Patrick L. Groleau

All Rights Reserved

Clearly, as much as it may so appear, it would be erroneous for you to form the impression that for the 463 fraternity all was fun and games!  Once I had earned promotion to NCO rank, one of my duties included “posting publications.”  Every day the “Suspense” basket was filled anew with technical manual and check-list pages containing recent changes.  Some changes, like corrections to spelling, or revisions involving alterations such as:  “On Page 2-22 change ‘Stencil DO NOT BRACE’ 3/8” below centerline of mounting bracket,’ to, ‘Stencil DO NOT BRACE 1/2” below centerline of mounting bracket,” were allowed a period of several days to be posted into the appropriate manual.  Other changes, usually outlined in red, sometimes hand-delivered by courier, were the notes such as, “Post to page 1a-3 ‘Warning: Failure to insure proper torque of the flanglasting bracket my result in detonation of high explosives!”  Of these changes immediate compliance to the posting order was the absolute rule.  In addition to all of the manuals visible in the photograph, there was also a secure file containing all the Classified and/or Restricted Data technical orders, publications, and checklists.  These files, and the detailed maintenance histories we kept for every weapon, item of handling equipment, and special tool, were often the first stop for visiting ORI or Stand Team inspectors. A single posting error involving safety, security, or weapon reliability could result in the shop being decertified and the entire air wing being “failed.”  No, if this happened heads didn’t actually “roll,” but, for sure, within hours some very sorry-faced soldiers would find themselves stepping off a plane onto the runway of their new duty assignment, most often located in a very far-away, isolated, often bitterly cold land!

The red-striped publication on the lower shelf of the cabinet was our shop’s “Emergency War Order,” the plan which delineated the sequence and chronology for everything we were to do should the alert klaxon sound for real!  Of course, ignored completely by the EWO was the reality that should, indeed, the alarm be genuine then the next sound would be that of numerous running feet, followed by a rather loud noise indicated that our shop, the WSA, and most of Loring AFB had been landscaped by the enemy into a very large crater which would be quite easy to find in the dark!  Truth is, considering that at 30,000,000 degrees Fahrenheit the bad guy’s thermonuclear weapons were just as warm as ours, to me the whole “Cold War” thing seemed just a bit silly.

ADDENDUM 2013:  My sources tell me that all these manuals have now been replaced with iPads!


CJ & I visit, 2011:  The TO Publication desk was in the back left corner.  The steel blast/security door leads to the maintenance bay.  What looks to be some sort of observation window wasn’t there when we worked at “The Plant.”