Gene McCaffrey

12/29/10 – After I graduated from Belknap in 1968, I received my “Greetings” and instead of waiting to be inducted into the Army, I enlisted into the Air Force. I went to Basic at Lackland AFB, TX and then to Sheppard AFB, TX for Tech School. I graduated with honors as a Medical Service Specialist, Medic, and went PCS to Westover AFB, MA. I was assigned to the Medical Ward at the Base Hospital where I helped care for patients who did not require any type of surgery. Later, I was assigned to the Emergency Room at the Hospital where I learned how to suture, do EKG’s and other types of emergency work. I volunteered for the ATH, Air Transportable Hospital, the AF version of a MASH unit. We were on stand-by 24/7, 365 in case the AF needed us to fly anywhere in the world without notice. Every week, I would drive down to the Flight Line and wait for a C-9A Nightingale an Aero-Medical Evacuation Plane, the Military version of a DC-9, and wait for the plane to land so we could welcome home the wounded who were coming home from Vietnam. I met so many hero’s coming off of that aircraft. In 1970, I was transfered to RAF Lakenheath, UK, where again, I was assigned to the ER. As a Medic, I saw things that I thought I’d never see, gun shot wounds, knife wounds, and unfortunately, and occasional self inflicted M-16 gun shot wound. I don’t have to discribe what that outcome was. Often times, I would work the 4:00 PM to 7:00 AM shift at Lakenheath, and I would be what is called the NCOIC, or Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge. I made Staff Sergeant (E-5) in 2 1/2 years and when it was time to be discharged, I was encouraged to re-enlist and go for my Tech Sgt, stripes. I was Honorably dischaged at the end of September 1972. I don’t regret any moment of the time that I served my Country.



I honestly feel that Belknap played a role in making me a good Airman and a Junior NCO in the Air Force. Gene McCaffrey. Class of 1968.

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