Final Installment, The Talon, April 1973
While taking a leisurely stroll down the tunnels the other day, Pierre and I came across an old and molding manuscript lying neglected in the dust. It seems to have been written by one S. A. Trist, presumably a cadet back in the brown shoe days–or before. The manuscript consisted of five books, describing–as far as I can tell–the origins of the Academy and the laws and lineages of the same. A fine old document it is too, and so we thought that we’d reproduce some of it for your erudition. If you like it, we may reproduce some more (then again, we may regardless of what you think). Here then is the opening chapter of the first book:
"In the beginning the Air Force created the Academy. And the Academy was without form, and blank; and wildness was upon the face of the mountainside. But the spirit of the Air Force moved upon the face of the countryside.
"And the Air Force decreed: Let there be a Site; and lo, the State of Colorado donated a site, and the Air Force saw the site and decided that it would do.
"And the celebration and the merrymaking were the First Cost.
"And the bulldozers came and divided the grasses from the dirt. The grasses they called the Hay and the dirt, Site.
"And the surveyors and bulldozers were the Second Cost.
"And it was decreed: Let the marble and the aluminum be brought together into one place; and let long buildings appear, and it was so. The Spirit of the Air Force divided the living from the learning by a deep road; and the living he called Vandenberg Hall and the learning he called Fairchild Hall; and the spirit saw that it was close enough for government work.
"And the Spirit said, let there be grasses again, and let them form a parade field and a chapel mall and an air gardens each bearing seeds of its own existence, and the justification thereof.
"And the diggers and the fillers were the Third Cost.
"And the Spirit said, let there be lights in the buildings and on the terrazzo, to give guidance by night and to be turned off at reveille, or when the costs must be kept down. Thus decreed the spirit, and he made the stars also; the one to rule over the learning and the other to rule over the living and two or three to rule over them all. And the Spirit saw that it was good.
"And the furnishings and the salaries were the Fourth Cost.
"And the Spirit said, let the country bring forth abundantly moving creatures to service this Site: instructors, AOCs, barbers, and waiters in abundance, each after his own kind.
"And he decreed that their numbers should be multiplied, for, he said, we expect quite a turnover, especially among the waiters.
"And the parking lots and swagger sticks were the Fifth cost.
"And the Spirit said, let us make Cadets in our own image, and after our likeness; and let us have dominion over them, and let them be subject to the AOCs and the instructors and every living thing that moves upon the face of the Academy, save the waiter. And the Spirit saw the Cadets and saw that they were very, very good.
"And the moaning of the brass jugs being beaten into shape were the Sixth and Lasting Cost.
"Thus was the Academy finished, and the host of all those that inhabit it.
"And the Spirit of the Air Force surveyed all that he had made; and it was just what he wanted. And after paying the six bills he defaulted on the seventh."
The Secret Life of Waldo F. Dumbsquat
Premier Installment, The Talon, October 1973
NOTE: This column first appeared in Dodo, Volume 6, Number 12, 1962
Waldo F. Dumbsquat sighed. It had been a bad day. Very, very, bad. He had been ten minutes late calling for reveille, and there had been some kind of trouble with Security Flight not getting a report. “Dumbsquat,” his element leader had shouted, “you’re on SI’s for ten years!” Then with one minute till first call for classes his shoelace broke. His instructor had made him do board work all period for not having done his homework. At lunch the waiter had spilled ravioli all over his sleeve. Then coming back from lunch he had stumbled on a crack in the terrazzo, wiping out both shoes. After dinner he had gotten trapped into holding the door open for all the upperclassmen. Then he had a class meeting, organizational meeting, a meeting to decide when to meet again, a ring meeting, a meeting for all fourth classmen who did not have a meeting at the time, an honor meeting, a meeting to decide how to sort laundry, a meeting for minute callers, a tattoo meeting, a flight meeting, an element meeting, a squadron meeting, and a group meeting. It had been a very bad day indeed.
But Waldo F. Dumbsquat did not despair. He did not cry or become hysterical. He stood up bravely in spite of his life as a fourth classman. “Ho Hummm,” he sighed as he climbed into bed. “I’ll make up for it tonight.”
The alarm rang. Waldo F. Dumbsquat peered at the time. 2400 hours. Yawning, he climbed out of his bed. But now his appearance was changing. Proud, haughty, and with a look of independence, he walked down the hall to the elevator. He pushed the button that said basement. Switching on the lights for the tunnels, he strode down the cobweb way. He stepped into a room. Minutes passed, then from the door strode not C/4C Dumbsquat, but Colonel Waldo F. Dumbsquat. Pushing the button for the third floor, he fitted a cigarette into his silver-plated holder. He strode into Security Flight.
“Room attention!” the SOD shouted.
“I want a car immediately, mister!” Colonel Dumbsquat demanded.
“Yes, Sir!” The SOD promptly replied. He dialed for the motor pool, and got the car.
“I want this room straight when I come back at 0400. These windows had best be polished, the floor waxed and everyone’s shoes shined! Are there any questions?” Colonel Dumbsquat strode out the door.
“Gee,” The SOD remarked, “he sure looked very young!”
“Probably flew out of England and got rank fast.” The NCOD replied.
“Yea, but I would swear that he was about 19.” The SOD said while polishing the windows.
“Oh, Waldo!” Bell Air cried, melting into his arms. “It seems an eternity since last night!”
“Now, now, now, dear,” Waldo cooed. “You’ll wrinkle my uniform – Driver! To the Broadmoor for dinner!” He then shouted.
“Good evening, Colonel,” The head waiter syruped, showing them to the best table.
“We will have the same as last night, Charles, charge it to the BOQ at the AFA.”
“Fine, sir, anything else?”
“Ah, Yes, have the orchestra brought back.”
“And Charles, give each man a ten dollar tip and twenty for yourself.”
The evening slipped on into the morning. Waldo left the Broadmoor and headed for home.
“Good night, dear.” He said to Bell Air.
“Good night, Waldo.” She murmured with tears.
The car headed for the Academy.
“That will be all for tonight, Driver.” Waldo said.
“Room Attention!” The SOD cried tiredly.
“Much better, Mister, but those windows could do with some more work.”
“Oh, yes I want you to wake up all of 17th squadron and take them for a run immediately!”
“Yes, sir…” They were crying now.
“Good evening men.”
Back to the tunnels Waldo went, into the little room. A few minutes later once again C/4C Waldo F. Dumbsquat stumbled out, haggard.
It had all the making of a glorious day. He called minutes on time and made it back to his room without being caught for not wearing pajamas.
“Gee, Waldo, what a night,” his roommate remarked. “I couldn’t sleep a wink. Some squadron was running all night.”
“That’s funny, I didn’t hear a thing,” Waldo replied.