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 607th AC&W October 52 - April 53
 I enlisted in the Air Force shortly after the start of the Korean War. After Lackland I went to radar maintenance school at Keesler AFB, Mississippi. Attended instructor school and taught TPS-1B sets until the TPS-1D came out. Went to factory school, then taught the 1-D until August 1952 at which time I was given orders to go to Korea. Upon arriving I was assigned to the 607th AC&W Squadron as a crew chief, radar maintenance. Other than the extreme cold day by day life was routine except---

    Going up and down the mountain was always an experience, you never knew what to expect at the next curve. One day while going up we met a Papa-san coming down with a honey bucket wagon. The place we met him had a drop off of about 500 feet straight down and very little passing room. The papa-san, being the wise man that he was, much wiser and faster on the draw than our driver, immediately went to the mountain side of the road causing us to pass on the open side. As we passed I looked down only to see the outside rear dual wheels of the 6X hanging in mid air with rocks and gravel falling down the mountain side. To this day I will never understand how we made it. Only the Lord knows.

    The day that lingers in my mind the most happened on December 23, 1952 my 24th birthday. Upon arriving back at the squadron I was handed a telegram from my wife Dodie stating that I was now the proud father of a 8 1/2 pound boy!!!! You talk about being happy and homesick at the same time.

     My last day there 8 April, 1953 was almost my last day on this earth. I was sitting in the back of the 6X on the driver's side as we were coming down the mountain after the night shift. We had almost made it to level ground when the steering system broke causing us to go down an incline and off the road. The truck traveled about 200 feet then flipped over on it's passenger side throwing everyone out. I landed on top of a radio man breaking some of his ribs, and dislocating my hip, twisting my knee, breaking my leg, ankle, and most of the bones in my foot all on the right leg. Had the truck turned over on it's back it would have crushed and possibly killed several of us.

       Several times while in Korea I came close to death's door. Each time after much shaking I managed to shrug it off with the indifference of a 24 year old. It was only on May 1, 1955 that I realized that each time God had been trying to get my attention. I had been brought up in Church, but had never taken God serious in my life. It was then that I realized that had I died I would have gone straight to Hell because of my sins. On May 1, 1955 I realized that I was a sinner without Christ. Rom 5:12 "Wherefore as by one man sin entered into the world and death by sin and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned."

As a sinner my punishment would be an eternal death Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death: but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord"  But, God has provided a way of excape!! Look at the last part of Romans 6:23 BUT THE GIFT OF GOD IS ETERNAL LIFE THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD. Then in Rom 8:9&10  "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness: and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."  Where will YOU spend eternity? For more information about your soul's destiny either call me at 850-763-9718 or e-mail me at and I will be glad to explain it fully to you.

        After leaving Korea I was sent to McDill AFB in Tampa, Florida for continuing treatment and hospitalization where I spent the next 6 months. Upon discharge from the hospital I was assigned to the 305 A&E Squdron, 305 Bombardment Wing, SAC. A very unhappy airman doing paper work, I was discharged from the Air Force in July, 1954 with a medical discharge.

         My wife, son, and I returned to Panama City where I spent the next forty years in electronics and part time teaching electronics at the local junior college. I retired in 1989 and now am 100% disabled due to the injuries that I suffered while in Korea.

Skip Beach
1058 W 11 Court
Panama City, Florida 32401

Vernon J. Copeland

Korea  1952-1953

I joined the USAF October 28, 1950.  The Korean War was in full swing, and I was about #7 on the local draft board list, so I decided to join the Air Force instead of waiting for the draft.  I discussed this with a couple of buddies of mine, and they decided to wait to be drafted instead of enlist.  They ended up staying in the States for the duration of the war, and I ended up on the Mountain in Korea.  I have never regretted the experience one bit.

After Basic training at Lackland AFB, I went to the Radio Technician School At Scott Field Illinois.  From there I spent a couple of years working in a maintenance squadron at Edwards AFB in California, then in November 1952 I was transferred to the 607th AC&W Squadron in Korea. 

When my tour was over in Korea, I was transferred to an AACS squadron in Grey AFB, Texas.  Grey was a storage facility on the outskirts of Ft Hood, Texas. In fact, when the Air Force closed the base several years ago, it was transferred to the U.S. Army.  My tour at Grey ended with my discharge after serving 4 years in the Air Force.  When it was time for my discharge conference with the Squadron Commander, he tried to talk me into re-enlisting.  He asked me why I wanted to get out of the military, and I told him I wanted to go to college.  He told me he had been talking to the Base Commander about me and that the Base Commander would sponsor me into the first class of the Air Force Academy if I would re-enlist.  I told him that I would accept his offer, and when we checked on the acceptance criteria for the academy, it said that the applicant must be less than 22 years of age.  I was 6 months to old, and the college would not waive that requirement, so I told the Air Force adios and took my discharge. 

After Service, I attended College and obtained a BS degree with a double major in Math and Physics.  Later on, I received a MS degree in Aerospace Systems from the University of Southern California.  The majority of my working career was spent at Vandenberg AFB working on the Ground support systems for Range Safety for the Western Missile Test Range.

When the Space Shuttle program came along, I was worked for over 10 years on the ground support systems that were going to be used to launch and land the Space Shuttle At Vandenberg AFB.  After the Shuttle crashed during launch in 1986, they decided to shut down the West Coast Shuttle Operations, and so I spent the final couple of years before retirement working on large space boosters.  I retired from Civil Service working for the DOD in April 1988.

I am currently living in Kingfisher Oklahoma. 

Vernon J. Copeland
P. O. Box 104
Kingfisher, OK 73750