Welcome to my site!
My name is David K. Vaughan. I was a pilot and an English instructor in the United States Air Force for twenty years, from 1962 to 1982. I flew a variety of aircraft while I was in the Air Force, including the T-28, T-34B, T-37B, T-38A, KC-97G, C-130E, T-29B, and T-41B. I have also flown the Piper Tri-Pacer, Cessna 172, Cessna 177, Piper Archer, Piper Arrow, and Piper Turbo Arrow. (The picture shown above is of me flying solo in a T-38; it was taken by my pilot training classmate, Roger Myers, in the summer of 1963. He was also flying solo.)
I was raised on my grandfather’s farm outside of Oscoda, Michigan, in the north-eastern portion of the lower peninsula. The farm was located on the banks of the Au Sable River; my great-grandfather had been a landlooker (timber scout) during the lumbering period (1850-1900) along the Au Sable River. My grandfather had been a fireman and then an engineer on the Detroit and Mackinac Railroad in the early 1900s until some hot cinders from a locomotive stack flew into his eye, and he transitioned to the life of a farmer after his father died in 1911. My father was an English teacher in Oscoda High School, and my mother worked as a civilian at the local military airfield. My brother followed me through school six years behind me. The farm was located only a few miles south of the military airfield at Oscoda, so I was used to seeing military aircraft flying over our farm. The airfield, first called Camp Skeel, and then Oscoda Army Air Field (OAAF), during World War II. After WWII it was named Wurtsmith Air Force Base and soon became home to the B-52s and KC-135s of Strategic Air Command. This close proximity to a military airfield strongly influenced my decision to join the Air Force.
I am a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, Class of 1962. When our class arrived, the Academy had its first full complement of four cadet classes; the first Academy class to graduate was the class of 1959. Our class completed summer training at the temporary Academy site at Lowry Air Force Base, east of Denver, and then moved to the permanent site north of Colorado Springs late in August 1958. We were bussed to the academy from our final summer training site at the Lowry bombing range. Some higher-ranking individual thought it would be a clever public relations idea for all of us new cadets to hike uphill to the cadet area from the north gate in our fatigues and helmet liners carrying our full field packs and rifles. What a stupid public relations stunt that was!
When we moved into the permanent site, it was still under construction and the area around it was mostly deserted. It was possible to stand on the east end of the terrazzo at night and look to the north and south and see only one or two lights burning. All the rest was darkness; relatively few vehicles traveled Highway US 85, which was in the process of being transformed into I-25.
After pilot training, I flew the KC-97G aircraft in the Strategic Air Command (Selfridge Air Force Base, Mt Clemens, Michigan) and then transferred into the C-130E in Tactical Air Command (Dyess Air Force Base, Abilene, Texas). I then flew C-130s in Southeast Asia (1967-1968). Then began the academic segment of my Air Force career: I earned my Master’s degree in English at the University of Michigan in 1969 and taught in the Department of English and Fine Arts at the Academy for the next two years, when I was offered the chance to continue my graduate education. I attended the University of Washington in Seattle from 1971 through 1973 and received my PhD degree the following year. I returned to the Academy, where I taught English for the next three years. While I was at the Academy I maintained my flying proficiency first in the T-29B navigation trainer aircraft and then in the T-41B, in which I instructed seven cadets as part of the Academy’s pilot indoctrination program.
I concluded my Air Force career as a liaison officer with the Civil Air Patrol, first with the Maryland CAP Wing at Fort Meade, Maryland, and then with the Middle East Region headquarters at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, where I held the position of training officer. The Middle East region of the Civil Air Patrol included the states of Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and the District of Columbia. We flew civilian aircraft (under contract to the Air Force) as we visited the CAP units in these states; my favorite aircraft was a Piper Turbo Arrow owned by a doctor that we flew out of Baltimore-Washington International Airport.
After retirement, I joined the faculty of the English Department at the University of Maine at Orono, Maine. I really enjoyed my association with the members of the Department and University, but left in 1987 to accept a position as an instructor of Technical Writing at the Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio. At AFIT I taught courses in Technical Writing and the Literature of the Air Force Experience, and often took my classes to the Air Force Museum, located just down the hill from the AFIT facility, where they could see the aircraft that had helped to make Air Force history. I (and my wife Rosemary) worked for several years as volunteers in the Museum.
I retired from AFIT in 2000 and accepted a position as head of the Business Communication program at Sultan Qaboos University, located outside Muscat, Oman, where I instructed Omani men and women students for five years. My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed our stay in Oman. We found the Omanis to be a warm and friendly people and very accepting of Westerners. Rosemary and I enjoyed our association with a truly international collection of faculty members and spouses. Faculty members came literally from around the world: England, France, Australia, India, Thailand, Poland, Greece, and of course from the Arab countries of Egypt, Jordan, Iran, and Iraq. We were able to travel and see parts of the world we would not have seen otherwise: the United Arab Emirates, Thailand, Vietnam, China, Hong Kong, Egypt, Jordan, Kenya, England, Australia, Greece, Italy, and the Maldive Islands.
We returned to the United States in 2005 and lived in Ohio for ten years before moving to the San Antonio area. I continued to teach as an adjunct faculty member for Sinclair Community College in Dayton, and most recently for San Antonio College in Texas. I have taught also for Park University (home campus: Parkville, Missouri) at a variety of military locations (Fort Myer, Virginia; Wright-Patterson AFB, Dayton; and now Lackland AFB in San Antonio).
I mention all of these activities because my experiences, described above, have shaped my interests in the topics about which I write, many of which I have posted and will continue to post on this site. As the summary above shows, the primary activities of my life have involved flying and education. Most of my postings will relate to my military flying experiences and to my explorations of the flying experiences of others who have written about the topic. But I will also be posting discussions of more literary topics as well (however, given my background, these are more likely to be related to the literature of the military experience).
At present, this site is very much a work in progress.
I guess I should caution you: This site is the digital equivalent of an “I love me wall,” except that it consists of my writings rather than photos (though I intend to add photos as well).