Girl Scouts and Brookley Field
The City of Biloxi and the First Presbyterian Church were at an all time "High". The Church had a membership of well over 400 and our Pastor, Rev. Victor Augsburger, a former Colonel and Chaplain at Keesler, was assisting in its growth. The church was sponsoring several Boy and Girl Scout Troops, I was helping Marie, and others in the Scout Activity.
The first activity that took place was that the church wanted to have a kindergarten and first through the third or 4th grade. They had the building space, and the teachers and administrators, and applied to the City of Biloxi for the permit. However, in this instance, the City had to turn them down, because, the church did not have five acres of land, as required, and that the neighbors nearby objected to the idea, because they thought it would be to noisy, and a traffic problem. This item is worth knowing.
The Second Activity is that Marie was a Girl Scout Leader, and was involved in making preparations to take 18 or 20 of the Girl Scouts on a Special Two Weeks Tour, through the Smoky Mountains. This took place while I was transferred to Brookley Air Force Base in 1961. So, two years prior to this the scouts started collecting newspapers and magazines, to sell to paper buyers, at so much a 100 pounds. Each week I used my pickup truck to pick up the papers at the church, that had been collected, and at the end in 1961, we had collected about $500 to $600, and I was sort of glad since my truck was getting worn out (Smile). This was considered enough since Marie and I had talked to two other families to help with the supervision and transportation, as well as additional funds. Each Girl Scout was to be given $20, by their parents for their spending money. So, Mr. and Mrs. Harry Gautier, and Mr. and Mrs. Joe Gautreau, volunteered with their vans and Marie I had a 4 door Impala Chevrolet. I managed to get 2 weeks leave right after being transferred, from Keesler to Brookley. Out daughter Ann was able to make the trip, but Helen had the mumps, and stayed home, to take care of Margie.
The trip was planned to start off where the girls would experience from primitive to tent, to cabins to stay in overnight. The primitive would be in the open, in designated church camp areas, in sleeping bags; the tent would be on camp cots, in tents prepared by the girls, and next to the selected cabins, where they slept in sleeping bags. The tent and cabin areas would be in church camps such as the Methodist Camp Junaluska, in North Carolina. The real drawing card was that everyone had a prepaid ticket to see the Great Play, "Unto These Hills", by the Cherokee Indians, at Cherokee, North Carolina. The first night was at Cloudland, Georgia, the 2nd and 3rd was at a tent area and then on to the cabins furnished by the Methodists and Presbyterians. The cabins at Junaluska the first night were well remembered since skunks were running loose, and it was not safe to be outside. I thought this was real good, since we did not have to check to see if the kids were outside (Smile). The trip ended up in Alabama for the last night, and then back to Biloxi. This was a real two weeks of excitement and holding your breath, but all in all, was most enjoyable. And, as the saying goes, I was sorta glad to get back to the office and rest some. (Smile)
Upon arriving at the Personnel Office at Brookley AFB, I was interviewed by a Mr. R . C. Carl , and after the interview, I was at once accepted as an accountant in the 510 Series and they were glad to get me. This at first was hard to understand, but they told me I would be put in a one year training period, and if I passed the time, I would be promoted to a GS-11. Next, Mr. Carl told me that the comptroller there was a Col Trummer, and that did it. I at once went to see him and he was a real friend, I had served under his supervision, and had spent my reserve training periods as a Captain there at Keesler, doing special projects for him. Col Trummer had just returned from a two year tour in China. I was at once put in a several month training period, by the Chief of the Accounting Division.
Brookley Air Force Base was, at that time, the "Warehouse Center" for all the Southern Area, and several Air Bases in England, France, Italy and the Carribean Islands Areas. It serviced bases, battleships, planes, and submarines, and was a major force on the Air Material Command. At that time the base employed no less than 8 to 10 thousand Civil Service employees. I wished I had been there much earlier, but am sorry that my family had to put up with my moving from job to job. But being with t he Government one has to follow or go where "The Money Is."
While we lived at Theodore, Ala. we had the pleasure of knowing Mr. and Mrs. Willard. They owned the house we rented and most of the houses in the area and they helped us in any way they could. Mr. Willard plowed a garden area back of the house and we planted a garden. After the first year Mr. Willard passed away and then Mrs Willard managed the property. Marie used to go with her to count the black angus cattle she owned. Mrs. Willard had a little store in the neighborhood and it was managed by a Mrs. Barnickle. She also had a larger store that was managed by her son-in-law, for a while.
Helen and Ann were in the Girl Scouts and Marie helped manage the troop they were in. And, I used to go with them when they sold t he Girl Scout cookies. And while this was going on Bill was at Mississipi Southern, going to college.
My first assignment was with a Mr. Taylor, who I thought was a special friend. He even managed to get my travel and transfer money for me when transferred from Keesler. However, he managed to get in some kind of trouble and I was transferred to a Cost Accounting Unit, where I was detailed to help them get caught up with vouchers and this I did in a short time. Then I was put in charge of a Tenant Naval MISA (Military Industrial Supply Accounting) Accounting Division, to straighten it out. After a short time I found out that the unit had been mismanaged. The Naval Officers did not know anything about the vouchers they were signing and so I arranged a meeting with them, the Navy officers, and told them of their mistakes. Slowly the unit was in good shape. Then I heard it would be transferred to Virginia, so I managed to get a ex- naval officer to take over , because if not, I would have to go to Virginia with the unit. I was then transferred back to my Brookley Accounting Division, and was replaced by a Mr. Bell, who thought he had managed to push me out of my job only to find out that in doing so he had to go to Virginia with the unit. I must say that this was a very interesting situation. The Navy had made a generous offer for employment, but I did not want to leave my assignment with the Air Force.
Next, I found myself checking in with Mr. Ed Morevac, my Division Training Officer, and he placed me in charge of Accounting Unit No. 1. I was replacing the chief of that Unit 1 who was sent to Unit 2. Since I had full authority I replaced one of the persons in the Unit and sent her to Unit 2. She was the cause of most of the trouble. With the help of the Major in base printing, we managed to invent a new system of Graphic Presentation that I had learned while in management at Keesler. To make the charts useable to office and base personnel, I ordered new large 24 inch typewriters. At the printing office they were made small to be used in monthly reports. Using different small colored tapes, I introduced the tapes to compare the costs to USAF Standards, and budget monthly and prior year costs. That made it a very interesting and useable chart. One could just about tell what was going on by using the charts as a guide in management, whereas previously there was nothing. For this presentation I received a Commendation "The Avanti Spirit Award" from General of the Base, Gen. Emmit B. Cassidy. Soon after that I received an award from the U. S. Treasury Department for having all of my personnel take out a War Bond from their salary each month for a year . Needless to say, after the year was up, all of us did not renew the war bonds (Smile).
The next thing that happened at the office was that the base would be closing some time soon. This was because of two things. One: the General had failed to go the railroad station and meet the special train to greet Mrs. L. B. Johnson, the President's wife, and the wife of the senator from Louisiana. Two: the warehousing of materials in huge warehouses, after WW2, was rapidly becoming not necessary because the manufacturers could send the needed shipments direct.
It wasn't long before most of us were advised we would be sent to Warner Robbins Air Force Base in Georgia. I was to be sent there with a promotion to a GS-12. Later on I was to be sent to Wright Patterson AFB, in Ohio as a G S-14. This was a very hard decision to be made because my wife and I had been traveling for a long time and wanted to get back home to Biloxi. So it was decided to ask for a transfer to the Civil Engineering Division there on the base since they would be the last division to be kept in service, and then ask for a transfer to Keesler AFB and in doing so I would have to give up my promotion to a GS 12 and to a GS 14. This procedure was worked out with the assistance of Col. Topper, Comptroller, since my immediate supervisors were not in favor of releasing me from the program.
So, after my transfer to the Engineering Division, I was invited back to the Accounting Division I had left to watch Ray Robinson be promoted to a (my) GS 12 and to accept control of the Division I had just left . This was a hard thing to watch, but that's what I had asked for. However, I had a full year or so ahead of me at Brookley in the Engineering Division.
Meanwhile back at the Ranch: Bill had given up his studies at Mississippi Southern and was in the Air Force as a "Sparky" or electrical engineer of t he C-130 Program, and Helen was in her second year at Erskine College at Due West, South Carolina, Ann was finishing up high school at Theodore and was planning to go to Perkinston Jr College over at Perkinston, MS. and from there was going to Auburn University to study to be a pharmacist. While all this was going on in Theodore, Marie was at the Theodore High School with Mrs. Haskew as a substitute teacher. Without Marie as a monitor we would have never made any progress.
At one time later on I was going evenings, to South Alabama University, there in Mobile, to get a Masters or Teaching Degree. We had both Marie and Helen taking courses there, for the same thing. I am proud to say this was an industrious family. Actually it was the only way to make any real progress for the whole family. After two years at Erskine, Helen transfered to Belhaven College in Jackson, MS, and received her BA in Teaching.