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John Purple
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I was in Schenectady , New York, where I grew up. I was trying to re-integrate into the fabric of the USA.
I had spent four years in the U.S. Navy. I got my draft notice during the Vietnam conflict.
Ron Clapp and I got “early outs”.
You just had to say you were going to college and they gave you an early out.
We flew commercial air to San Francisco.
Clapp was from North Carolina, I was going to New York.
We spent the night in a sleazy section of San Francisco and went for a steak dinner at some crumby restaurant. We didn’t know any better.
We sold the remainder of our commercial air tickets and went to the Air Force base to get a “hop”.
We both opted for a hop to Dayton, Ohio which would get us both nearer to our destinations.
“Can you fly a T-51?”, the guy next to me asked.
“Are you a pilot, can you fly a T-51?”
“”Well they have a T-51 they need to get to the East coast. I could fly it but I need a co-pilot.”
“Can you teach me?”
“Maybe, it depends on how fast you learn.”
“I’m pretty quick, so they tell me.”

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