USAF, JWILL SIMS

                        

 Joined the air force in 1951 & was in Air Craft Landing Ground Control Approved

                                        BARKSDALE AFB 1952                         

During my junior year I talked to my parents about going to Searcy, Arkansas, where Harding University is located, and completing my senior year at their academy and then attending the university.  They agreed to this and I graduated from the academy as valedictorian and received a two-year scholarship to the university.  Harding is affiliated with the Church of Christ and, at the time, I desired to become a minister for the church.  I majored in history and Bible.  During my second year there I met and became engaged to Elizabeth Russell of Dallas.  We decided that I would go back to Minden and complete my B. A. at Ruston.drivng back and forth.  Liz went home to Dallas and, while working for Southwestern Bell, also took courses at SMU night school.  When the Korean War started in June of 1950, Liz and I decided to marry and did so on September 2, 1950.  I continued in school and she worked at the La. Ordnance Plant in the security department.  I finished my degree work at La. Tech in July, 1951.  I had a student deferment from the draft but as soon as I graduated I was reclassified 1A.  I had already decided to enlist in the air force, and when I received my orders to report for a physical, I went to Shreveport and enlisted.  I had always wanted to be a pilot but they were not accepting married men for flight training at that time, so I requested that I receive training to work in some field related directly to flying.  I was sent to Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi, where I went through the Control Tower Operator school and then went to the Ground Controlled Approach school.  As a GCA operator I was trained to land planes with radar by talking the pilots in to a landing.  My first duty station was at Barksdale Air Force Base, where I served from July, 1952 to April, 1953, when I received orders to go to Korea.  I was sent to Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta, Georgia, in May for advanced combat training and then reported to Camp Stoneman in San Francisco in June, 1953.  Liz went with me out there and I boarded ship for Japan and then, subsequent to that, Korea.  I was at an air base between Pusan and Taegu, Korea where we had the 17th Bomb Wing.  These were World War II bombers which were used for night interdiction.  They began flying at sundown and continued until sunup.  We vectored them out on their missions and then brought them back in on radar. 

                          

                                                        KOREA -1953

 
I located a Church of Christ in Pusan.  This was a congregation composed of Korean refugees from North Korea.  On the Sundays that I did not have duty I would meet with them for worship services.  I learned some Korean and they learned some English, and I was able to teach to them from the scriptures.
 
I came back to the United States in 1954 and was stationed at McGuire Air Force Base at Trenton, New Jersey, until my discharge in November, 1955. (To read the entire story - See Life after after the Drummer Boy under Stories)