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After my family left Bermuda, we moved to Belgium. My father, who had grown sick and tired of having a megalomaniacal boss, was willing to take PCS orders for anywhere, even places like Bahrain or Iceland. He never mentioned Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, which is usually an assignment for DODDS personnel who had royally fucked up. Gitmo, in reality, is not a fun place to be in the scheme of things, as people stationed there — civilian and military alike — cannot leave the Base, to to hostile relations to the Castro Regime. The only comfort, however, was the being closer to the states, because a space-available military flight is much shorter than, say, a passenger flight from Korea, Japan, or England.

In Bermuda, my father had taken his first position as high school principal (Roger B. Chaffee High), and in DODDS, transferring from a secondary school to an elementary was largely seen as a demotion. My dad didn’t care. So, he ended up at Florennes, Belgium. The base was home to 485th Tactical Missile Wing. Basically, it was the home for ground based, nuclear capable, cruise missles — all of which was part of President Reagan’s idea of nuclear deterrence. Florennes was sad place to be. For a kid, it was boring, set in a dull landscape of Belgian farmland. So, my dad sucked it up in the endand commuted most of the way, and we set up home about a 45 minute drive outside of SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe). There was a fairly large high school aboard SHAPE, and not to mention an Elementary school where my mother took a teaching job.

This was to be stint of two years, ending, largely, with my brother graduating from high school and moving to Huntington, West Virginia. As for the reason why we had to move: President Reagan and Premier Gorbachev signed the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which spelled an end to the objectives justifying the existence of the 485th Tactical Missile Wing. Florennes AFB was turned over to the Belgian Air Force, and my family moved to The Netherlands.

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