When I left Boot Camp in Fort Jackson, South Carolina for missile systems training in El Paso, I thought that I was heading to a town with dirt streets and hitching posts for horses. Yeah, I had watched one too many TV Westerns. I flew in at night. When I saw the lights in the night sky I wondered what they were. The next morning I got a surprise when I saw that those lights were scattered over the Franklin Mountains, the southernmost part of the Rockies. I would spend many days hiking those rocks.
When I graduated from training, I served my remaining years at a missile firing range in New Mexico just 20 miles north of El Paso. Several times a month I would support the test firing of Nike missiles by Army personnel who came to NM for their annual service practice. It was an amazing experience for a young man from New York.
During my time in El Paso I developed technical and interpersonal skills that would last me a lifetime. I met my first wife Ellen. I got outside of my comfort level in a major way as I learned to live away from home and family. In the end, I wonder what my life would have been like if I had not been drafted to serve my country. Probably a lot different. ツ
... a place that I have been to ... part of the A to Z series.