Biographical Notes re

Charles A. (Chuck) Stone

Page 3 of 4 Pages, of Chapter 7,


I came to believe I had been brought over there to support the growing view of many of the education psychologists and this group seemed especially grateful for the thrust of my presentation. As the years have slipped away, I have the impression that this opinion was the one that prevailed. If nothing else, the people I worked for at Lincoln had additional reason to think I may have something worthwhile to say, at least once in a while.

The new Division Commander called us all together in the theater and said the emphasis from here on would be flying airplanes and filling squares. General Power even came in and gave us a pep talk. The new Commander had periodic meetings, he called “John Paul Jones” meetings. He explained how John Paul would gather his men together on the ship, pull his sword and slam the point into the deck and have some straight talk with the crew. Little did I know that one of these meetings would initiate another shift of gears for me.

At one of these meetings he called us together and with charts and graphs was pointing out our strong and weak points, asking for input. When he got to the dregs “ground training” he looked at the status of small arms training accomplishment and said is was very poor. “What are we going to do about, THIS?” Both wings were present and the 307th training officer didn't raise a peep. Somehow the spirit moved me to rise from my chair and declare for all to hear “The marksmanship program was failing because the program was designed to fail. The base training officer has the academic training at one end of the base on one day and the shooting training at the other end of the base on another day, and your crews, maintenance, and administrative people don’t have time to waste running back and forth.” I went on to say that if he would allocate 1/3 of the academic and range training space and time to the 98th Bomb Wing, and give me authority over their training staff during that period, I would set up a shuttle program that would pick people up at their work place, move them through the program in the shortest possible time and get them back to work. The room broke out in stomping feet, loud clapping and whistles. The Commander looked around and asked “Does anyone else have a comment?” There being none, he pointed at me and said “You’ve got it.”

Our Bomb Wing people jumped right on the wagon and we proceeded to do it with remarkable enthusiasm at every level of management. The shooting range was an indoor range, designed more for pistol shooting. It only took about a week before our carbine shooters had shot the back wall right out of the range and I had to go to plan B, if I could figure out what it was. I discovered there was an inactive Army rifle range within driving distance. We got permission to use that range and finished the job with time to spare. Soon after that exercise, our Base Training Officer disappeared from the base to some unknown location and my phone rang with the caller being from Division Headquarters. He advised me that I had just been appointed as the new Base Training Officer.

I made the move and developed a productive rapport with the base training component staff members. It was really the first time I had ever had people to supervise and it was a great learning experience for me. In the process, I became acquainted with the Director of Ground Training for 2nd Air Force. We hit it off from the start and he was kind of surprised at my enthusiasm for ground training issues when there was so little of it in the general 2nd AF population. [Note: I might mention here that when our Air Division was established at Lincoln, we were under the 8th AF Commander. The decision had recently been made to realign the SAC numbered Air Forces geographically. 8th AF along the Eastern U.S., 2nd AF down the middle and 15th AF in the western states. Our experience with the 8th AF Commander was that we had to call his staff for permission to go the bathroom. Our new Commander was General John P. McConnell and his philosophy was “Get the hell to work and I’ll let you know when you're doing something I don’t like.” Once we got used to the change, we thrived on his leadership.

One of my extra duties was pulling periodic Aerodrome Officer (AO) duty at Base Operations. For a 24 hour period, you take over management of local administrative and transient air services. I always enjoyed the work, but it was hard on my aching back being on my feet so much. In the midsummer of 1959, I had just finished an extra duty assignment as base project officer for the Iowa Civil Air Patrol organization. It was a most enjoyable experience and we had done a good job of hosting their group. I even had the joy of rewarding their top cadet with a ride in a T-33. It was as much fun for me as it was for him. My Base Training Staff was performing well, so I was able to be involved in other productive base activities, especially Base Operations.

Soon after we had sent the Iowa CAP group on their way, I pulled a tour as AO. By three or four in the morning my back was turning into big knots of muscle. As soon as I could arrange it, I went to the Base Dispensary and found the Base Surgeon, a full Colonel, in his office and I laid my problem before him. Being part of the Base Support Group had taken me out from under the wing of the 98th BW (so-called) flight surgeon. Previously, while carrying my medical records to another hospital, I was poking through the paperwork and discovered a note from this Flight Surgeon that identified me as a fellow who really wanted to get out of the service. At this meeting, I brought this to the attention of the Base Surgeon and he immediately ripped that document out of the file, threw it in the waste basket, and proceeded to see what might be done to help me.

[Note: It is worth pointing out that my problems with this 98th BW assigned doctor were not just my own. A well respected Operations Officer for one of the other bomb squadrons had been having headaches for months and had never been taken seriously by this worker of medical magic. Finally after being asked, repeatedly, if he had hidden fears of flying at high altitudes, discomfort with wearing a helmet and mask, etc., etc., during an especially bad attack where he could hardly walk down the halls of the operations building, his wife lost her temper, grabbed him by the hand and lead him into the office of the local Neurosurgeon, Dr. Louis Gogela. Doctor Gogela checked him over for about 15 minutes and told him “I believe you have a massive brain tumor.” The doctor called the 98th Wing Commander and told him to fire up a KC-97 and immediately airlift this man to the USAF Hospital at Lackland AFB.. They did that and within 24 hours had removed a baseball sized tumor from his skull. He was returned to the base, assigned to duty in the Wing Control Room, and was provided a bed to lay down on whenever he might feel the need to rest. Although it was unspoken, we soon realized the man was dying from cancerous tumor material that they could not remove. Chuck Vollmer died, striving to the end to do his assigned duties.

Briefly, one added example: A B-47 A/C, one of the finest friends and officers I came to know in my Air Force career, had complained to the doctor of upper chest, shoulder and neck problems for months. Going through a similar exercise as did Chuck Vollmer and myself, he was progressively documented as a malingerer. In the meantime, a fellow officer at SAC Headquarters, who knew of Les’s professional qualities, had been trying to get him transferred to SAC Headquarters in the Division of Material. The 98th Bomb Wing had consistently sidetracked these requests because they did not want to break up a trained B-47 combat crew. Soon after, while he and his family were on a two-week vacation, Les was selected to go to B-52 upgrading and be stationed at Ellsworth AFB, SD. When Sam learned of this, he arranged for an orders change so Les would be transferred to SAC Headquarters. After Les had moved his family and was settled into his new assignment, his medical problems began to multiply. Les continued to keep his flight rating currency in twin engine admin aircraft flying SAC Headquarters support missions. This, in spite of his increasing pain and discomfort.

When he finally went to the local base medical resources for help, the Offutt AFB medics reviewed his records and shipped him TDY for psychological evaluation at Sheppard AFB. Further identified as a malingerer, he was sent back to duty with many bottles of medication. His work supervisor well understood the integrity and dedicated spirit of this man. After observing Les’s growing discomfort over a period of time, he became angry and called the hospital commander, advising him he was sending this Maj. Les Brown over for a careful physical, and if they didn’t take care of him properly, this supervisor would soon arrive at the hospital and began the disassembly of the hospital, brick by brick, until there was nothing left but the basement.

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