My father brought me a copy of Flying Magazine, a very thick special issue with photos and articles of U. S. Army Air Force airplanes and operations- January 1942, actually on the news stands at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack. I was four years old, learned to identify every airplane before I learned to read. I started building models, and my mother had to read the instructions to me. That was before die stamping, and I had to cut out each wing rib and body former with an Xacto knife. Amazingly, I still have all my fingers.
In 1958, when I was in college, I began flying gliders, at Arlington Airport north of Seattle. My instructor was the famous aviation historian Peter Bowers.
For five summers, 1954 to 1958, I spent my summers on Guam, where my father worked for the Air Force, as Planning Engineer for Anderson AFB. I saw Anderson evolve from B-50, to B-36 and B-47 bombers. Unfortunately it was a SAC base and I could not take photos. The last thing my father did before he died was the facilities for the B-52s that bombed Vietnam. One summer a friend of his in Honolulu took me on a tour of Oahu in his Stinson L-5.
In 1960 I graduated in Aero Engineering, was commissioned in the Air Force and went to Tuscon, where I was in a group overseeing the Titan II missile base construction. I flew with the base Aero Club, got my license and about 200 hours of power flying. One of the fighter pilots on the base taught me aerobatics in the Beech T-34, basically a Bonanza converted to a military trainer.