Not the Party in the Story but Same Location – Squadron Party, Laredo Air Force Base, 1983. A former Oklahoma cowboy enthralls his listeners with his tales.
It was 1953 in the base photo lab at Laredo Air Force Base in Texas. I came around the corner from the lab into the washer/dryer room and found a Second Lieutenant looking at the photo prints circulating in the washer. He gave me a long hard look and then said “You guys sure know how to party!”
The party pictures he was looking at were from a pseudo-homosexual swim party of young men in compromising positions on the beach of one of the local lakes.
Trying to keep a straight face at his remark, I escorted the officer back to the front office and asked if I could help him, being careful to get his contact information.
T-33 jet trainer, Lockheed’s Shooting Star, Laredo AFB, 1953 – Photograph by Jerrold Foutz
The time was 1953 and the place was Laredo Air Force Base, Texas. I had just walked onto the flight line when the Air Police pulled up and asked me to place my photography case on the ground and step back.
The problem was that a Staff Sergeant and myself (an A/3C) were making nearly as much or more money each month than the Base Commander. To compound the problem, we were making all of it by selling pictures to the the cadets that the same Commander was responsible for training to be jet fighter pilots
One of the cadets complained that we were charging excessive prices for the photos and that started the investigation.
K-O-T-E-X was a Clue
Kotex has something to do with it. I’ll explain.
In 1953 I was an Airman Third Class (one-striper) photographer at Laredo Air Force Base, Laredo, Texas. My assignment was to photograph, for the base newspaper, a dance being held at the Officer’s Club. I place my Speed Graphic camera at the end of the bar and the bar tender, an enlisted-man who worked the gig for extra money, ask what I wanted, it was on the house. They say you can’t smell Vodka on the breath, so I ordered a Vodka Collins and turned my back to people-watch and plan my photographs. I didn’t observe the making of the drink and it must of been a double-double judging by what was soon to happen.
A/3C Jerrold Foutz, Laredo, TX, 1952
Airman Second Class K was well liked and well known. He refurbished a “woody” station wagon that he kept immaculate and his tall, thin body drove it with authority all over the sprawling Laredo Air Force Base in 1952. He played the trombone in a band that played for the Officer, NCO, and Airman clubs on the base. He loved enchiladas. After tasting his first one he never ordered anything else. Growing up in rural Indiana, his only fault was that he was incredibly naive and the target for constant practical jokes.
I was never one for practical jokes, but working every day with K in the base photo lab tempted me into my first and last practical joke. It almost got me a court-martial.