What's ATC?

Roddy’s introduction to air traffic control was different than mine—more in line with most of the other folks. He had joined the Army out of high school and completed basic training at Ft. Rucker, near Dothan, Alabama. He loathed Dothan. Even though close to home (Pensacola), he found it too hot, too sticky, too, er, Army to suit him. But there were still test batteries to be conducted and when all was done, a sergeant came into the room of 100 or so recruits and called out four or five names, among them Roddy.

They were ushered into a small ante office where another sergeant told them they had each scored high and would thus be offered the opportunity to go to ATC school at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi. The sergeant then left the room while the boys thought it over. Not a single one of them had the remotest clue of what ATC was.

“What’s ATC?” one of the chosen finally inquired of the others.

Another replied, “I don’t care if it’s Army Tomato Cropper—it’s not Dothan and it’s not an Army post. I’m in.”

Conceding the faultless logic, Roddy took the option and that is how he came to be in this tome instead of some Vietnam infantry retrospective.

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Last updated: 11 March 2009