1989 Part VII (Shame)

I was relegated to a work station in the maintenance backshop area, CRS Supply, at the opposite end of base.  It was located much further away from the dorms, a 20 minute walk as opposed to the 5 minutes I had been walking toJ79_Front Red Section Supply on the flight line.    The NCO in charge of the shop was a ditzy staff sergeant who always seemed about a mental step behind of the world.  She was capable enough at her job, certainly fit for military service, but without a clue where intelligent life forms were concerned.  She called me Rona Kasperee throughout my tenure at CRS Supply (my maiden name is Kasperek.  My dear friend Matthew calls me Rona to this day.)  Another airman named Christine worked at CRS.  She was fun to work with, helpful and kind.  She was my age, perhaps a bit younger.  Both my supervisor and Christine realized the pain I was in as a result of losing my position on the flight line and the shame I felt surrounding the hot water I was in with Colonel Grubb and just the whole circumstance dating back to the way I entered the base.  They tread lightly with me, which I was able to appreciate even given my dull sense of awareness.  The office was attached to the jet engine backshop, which I found no small coincindence.  My father was a jet engine mechanic in the Air Force.  I was more than a little intrigued by the enormous hunks of intricately crafted titanium.  I slipped into the maintenance bay at every opportunity, getting to know each of the mechanics and, over time, each of the engines.  The F-4 J-79’s were my favorites.  They seemed to have the most character, as did the mechanics who worked on them.  As I got to know them they allowed me to do little things like fetch tools and even safety wire on the engines (there is a vast amount of safety wiring to be done on a J-79!)  These small maneuvers made me feel close to my Father.  My despair shrunk for these moments.  It was a healing of sorts, short-lived but welcome.

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