I entered the U.S. Air Force in 1967 at the height of the Vietnam War.

I was sent to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio for Basic Training. Part way though Basic, a group of us were marched to the Green Monster (testing center) and our group was taught: A di-dah, T dah, N dah-dit and E dit. We were then "tested" on those characters. Of course we were being assessed to see if we had an aptitude for Morse code. My short exposure to code in the boy scouts, and in my family, made me a natural candidate.

I was sent to Tech School at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, to become a Morse intercept operator. We were taught to use a typewriter to copy the code, and to this day I still have a hard time taking down code freehand. If the code is high speed, I'll bring up a word processor and copy it that way.


For 6 months I spent 6 hours a day, listening to, and testing out on, code tapes to increase my proficiency prior to being assigned to the field. I became very good at code.

Code operators were nicknamed "ditty bops". Any other ditty bops out there?

I was assigned to Germany for 2 years after which I spent the remainder of my time in San Antonio, Texas. I left the Air Force in 1971, as a Staff Sergeant, after serving 4 years.

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