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REFLECTIONS: Military Career - Leon Buford Sexton

Washington County News
Leon Sexton

(Submitted to The Heritage of Washington County, Florida by Leon Buford Sexton)

My Air Force career began 27. August 1952 and ended 31 December 1982....thirty years later. I married Myrlene Cook 5-23-1970 (b. 9-2-1934) d. 3-7-2001).

Basic training was at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas where I spent eleven weeks learning such things as Air Force Customs, and Courtesies, Air Force dress codes and dozens of other tins needed to become a good airman. And don't forget Marching and K.P. (Kitchen Police). My drill sergeants made sure I had plenty of that too. I never knew anybody could be so particular how a bed had to be made. If there was the first wrinkle or a quarter wouldn’t bounce, they threw it on the floor. I remember this oncer that my T.I. (Tactical Instructor) even let me clean the doorsteps with a toothbrush...my own toothbrushes!

My first P.C.S. assignment after basic training was James Connally AFB Waco, Texas where I worked as a security guard and base police. Back then we were still guarding the old B-25 Bombers although they were obsolete.

Eighteen months later I was on my way to Korea. At K-55 Osan my job was base defense/security. The Korean conflict had just ended so there was no real action going on. From time tome a couple of MIG Fighters would fly over the base and we would all take cover in for holes. I was the BAR Gunner; however, before I could get off any shots to speak of, our F-86 fighters would scramble chasing the MIGs back across the 38th. Parallel but above Inchon. 

Upon returning to the States, I was assigned to the Atomic Energy Commission out of Sandia Air Force Base, NM. After receiving my Q Clearance (above Top Secret) I was assigned to the 1095th Base Support Squadron Bossier Base, LA where I saw National Security as never before. From then until I completed my first hitch I lived and ate security like it was some kind of delicacy.

After a short break I was back in the Air Force going to such places as Japan, China and elsewhere in the Pacific. In the Atlantic I had Europe, Africa and the Middle East. And I saw most of the United States.

The experiences and knowledge I gained far out weighed  any dollar value. While learning more about my job, the Air Force was sending me to school. I cam in as a eighthbrader and left with two college degrees. I was certified by the State of California as an Engineer in Safety.

But advancements in rank and responsibility really began when I switched to Accident Prevention in 1968. I went from E-5 to Chief Master Sergeant (E-9) the top enlisted rank faster than it took me to make the first four.

In Air Force Communication Command I was Superintendent of Safety. At Headquarters 12th Air Force (TAC) I was the Director of Ground Safety over all TAC bases from the Mississippi River to California.

After retirement, I serves as County Veterans Service Officer and Director of Emergency Management. In 2005, I married the former Martha Jean Washington.