Wisconsin Veterans Museum

Oral History Interview with Carla McAndrew

Wisconsin Veterans Museum


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[Interview Begins]

BOWERS HEALEY: Today is July 20th, 2022. This is an interview with Carla McAndrew, who served in the United States Air Force from May 1986 to September 2010. She entered the Air Force as Carla Mathias. This interview is being conducted by Ellen Healey at the Chelsea, Wisconsin for the Wisconsin Veterans Museum Oral History Program. No one else is present for the interview. Okay. As I've indicated, we've started recording. Carla, why don't you tell me a little bit about your background? What year were you born?


BOWERS HEALEY: And where did you grow up?

MCANDREW: I grew up in a little town called Potosi, Wisconsin.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. And would you spell Potosi?


BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. And how long did you live in Potosi, Wisconsin?


MCANDREW: I lived in Potosi since I was age seven.

BOWERS HEALEY: And where were you from before that?

MCANDREW: Before that, I lived in Woodman and Boscobel.

BOWERS HEALEY: Are both in Wisconsin.


BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. All right. And just generally, what did your family do as you were growing up?

MCANDREW: Um, my dad worked at Deeres, and my mom worked at Advanced Transformer.

BOWERS HEALEY: And you said deer. Can you spell that?

MCANDREW: Deere, John Deere.

BOWERS HEALEY: Oh, John Deere. Okay. Very good. And did you have siblings?

MCANDREW: Yes, I had one brother.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. Was he older or younger.

MCANDREW: His younger brother.


MCANDREW: I'm the big sis. [Laughs]

BOWERS HEALEY: And where did you attend school?

MCANDREW: I attended school in at Potosi, St. Andrew Thomas School at first for grades one through eight. And then I went over to the Potosi High School from 00:02:00nine through twelve.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. And when did you. Did you graduate from high school?

MCANDREW: Yes, I graduated from Potosi High School in 1985.

BOWERS HEALEY: And then at some juncture, you decided to join the military. Why did you decide to join the military?

MCANDREW: Well, I was going through school. I was, I actually was enrolled in art and music. And I thought maybe it's a change of pace to go into the military, to go see things and then just get away.

BOWERS HEALEY: When did you make that decision?

MCANDREW: I made the decision when I was a senior in high school.

BOWERS HEALEY: And did you explore various branches of the military?

MCANDREW: Yes, I did. I, I originally was going to go in the buddy system with a 00:03:00friend of mine and, into the Navy. And I see in the Air Force door. I kind of said to my friend, I'm going to go to Air Force instead of Navy because she want to just go to reserve. I wanted to go active duty, so I figured the Air Force was the best way to go. Active duty. And so I went to that recruiter.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. And you talked to the recruiter, both recruiters or just one recruiter?

MCANDREW: I just talked to the Air Force recruiter.


MCANDREW: I just seen the door and I just went toward that door.

BOWERS HEALEY: Did your family have any military experience or was there something in particular that led you to the Air Force.


BOWERS HEALEY: Than the door?

MCANDREW: My immediate family. No, they were not in the military. However, my uncle, my Uncle John. Oh, God rest his soul, he was in the Air Force. He retired as a lieutenant colonel. So I figured I'll see what he had that maybe other 00:04:00people would have. And and when the Air Force, you know, because he seemed to enjoyed it. So I thought, well, it's my turn to see if I can enjoy it, too.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. So when you signed up in the Air Force, what were the terms and conditions? For how many years and how soon did you go on active duty after you signed up?

MCANDREW: Well, originally my terms were a four-year commitment for active duty. So I. I signed up as a four-year active duty military for as an airman. So I just went in that route first because I didn't want to do six at first, because I wasn't quite sure if I wanted to go that route.

BOWERS HEALEY: So when you signed up, did you know what you were going to be doing or was you just kind of open contract?

MCANDREW: They they gave me different jobs that I could probably potentially go 00:05:00into according to my ASVAB test, how the actual score, what I might have for aptitude, what I might have. Be better into that position. So I looked at the material facility specialists, which is basically supply. So I went that route. I did have a couple other options that I was looking at. I was actually going to try to be a pilot, but since I didn't have 20-20 vision at the time, they didn't offer corrective vision. So I took another option. So that's why I chose to fly.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. So, back to when did you actually sign up? You said you looked into the Air Force in your senior year. When did you actually sign up?

MCANDREW: I signed up December 1985 for the delayed enlistment. It wasn't that 00:06:00long of a delayed enlistment because I entered the military in May 1986.

BOWERS HEALEY: When did you graduate from high school?


BOWERS HEALEY: 85. So what did you do between May and December?

MCANDREW: Well, between May and December, I was actually a housekeeper at the nursing home, did that for a while. And then I also was a diet, dietician. Ah, no decision, but a dietary aide right in the kitchen. And my mom actually worked there for a while too. So it was it was a great honor to work with her. She, she was the head cook supervisor, so she got to boss me around a little more.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. All right. So when you finally shipped off to the Air Force, when did that occur and where was your basic training or boot camp? What 00:07:00do you call it?

MCANDREW: It is basic training.

BOWERS HEALEY: Basic training.

MCANDREW: Air Force basic training. I actually entered into the military the 7th of May 1986. I went to Lackland Air Force Base. My family actually drove down there to see my graduation as well. And that was in June.

BOWERS HEALEY: Was your training coed or was it just women?

MCANDREW: It was coed.


MCANDREW: But we did have different flights that were separated, you know, the female flights and the male flights. But in, in all, the squadron was actually coed.

BOWERS HEALEY: And what are some of your memories about basic training?

MCANDREW: Some of my memories I the one that really sticks out the most to me was when my flight instructor had called me up to the front of drill and said, 00:08:00Carla GIR, Airman Matthias, didn't say Carla. Airman Matthias, will you show me a rear flank? So I went and showed them the rear flank and I didn't actually hesitate to do it. So he knew my background. I was in the marching band before I went into the military and all through high school. So we learned.

BOWERS HEALEY: Sand what is the rear flank?

MCANDREW: Where you actually step once and pivot to actually turn around and when you do the pivot


MCANDREW: And go to the rear type thing.


MCANDREW: So yeah, that was that was really awesome that he focused on that. So I was like.

BOWERS HEALEY: So he knew you had been in the marching band?


BOWERS HEALY: What did you do in the marching band?

MCANDREW: I played clarinet when I was in the marching band and in high school. And yeah, we learned a lot of different stuff, sidesteps, you know, left flank, 00:09:00that kind of thing. So.

BOWERS HEALEY: So was the marching band right rear flank the same as the Air Force used?



MCANDREW: Yeah. So, it was pretty interesting. It was pretty much the same way.


MCANDREW: So he says now everybody needs to follow what airman Mathias actually showed.

BOWERS HEALEY: So what type of things did you, other things that did you learn in basic training in the Air Force?

MCANDREW: Basic training? It was pretty interesting to learn the history of the Air Force and, go, going up through the ranks and learning on how to be a better leader as you go through the ranks and then, um. I mean, drill, we had a lot of drill and a lot of physical activity. So so we can actually be in bigger, better shape and be a better person.


BOWERS HEALEY: When you came in in 1986. 87. 86, yeah. What were the basic requirements for physical fitness test? If you had a physical fitness test.

MCANDREW: We had where we had to do a mile and a half run and we also had to do push ups and sit ups.

BOWERS HEALEY: And had you done a mile and a half run before that?

MCANDREW: No, I didn't do so. So it's quite interesting you had to make sure that you're well be, well-hydrated instead of, you know, like me. I was hardly ever drink water when I was growing up, but I did learn how to drink a lot of water and making sure that I'm well hydrated so that I can actually make the run.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. Um, before you came in, went on active duty. No one ever instructed you about 1.5 miles so that you run it.

MCANDREW: No, no, no. I just know there was a lot of physical activity that you 00:11:00had to do. You had to do a confidence course, too. So that was quite interesting in itself, too.

BOWERS HEALEY: And of what was your class size?

MCANDREW: We had 53, I believe it was 53 students.

BOWERS HEALEY: And worse, did they all make it through or not?

MCANDREW: There was a couple wash outs.


MCANDREW: And. I mean, as far as I know, there was just two washouts because they couldn't make their physical fitness. All right.

BOWERS HEALEY: And while you were at basic training, did you know or come to know what your military occupational specialty was going to be?

MCANDREW: Yes. Toward the end, they did tell us what we were going to do. And then at that point, they also told us where we were actually going for a 00:12:00technical training as well.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. And what were you assigned to?

MCANDREW: I was assigned to the material facility specialist and supply. Then they also told me I was going to the duty station of Lowry Air Force Base in Colorado.

BOWERS HEALEY: Let me go back just a little bit. You mentioned that your parents came out for your graduation. Yes. How did your brother come out also?

MCANDREW: Yes, he was there, too. Yup.

BOWERS HEALEY: And what did they think about the military and you being in the military?

MCANDREW: Oh, they thought it was pretty good because they they were really proud of me. I was like glad that they made it down and see my graduation. And we all marched on the field and did our pass by and slowed it and everything. And they were in the stands watching me.

BOWERS HEALEY: After basic, did you go straight to Lowery or did you have leave, period?

MCANDREW: I had to go straight to Lowery, so I got to be able to visit my 00:13:00parents, my brother, prior to going to training for technical training.

BOWERS HEALEY: And where is Lowry Air Force Base?

MCANDREW: In Colorado.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. And how did the Air Force get you between the duty stations?

MCANDREW: They flew us there.


MCANDREW: Commercial flights. So, yeah.

BOWERS HEALEY: So tell me a little bit about your materials specialist training. How long were you there and what did you learn about.

MCANDREW: We were there, I believe it was three months, if I remember right. We learned how to put everything in stock how to actually utilize the system. You had a supply system that you had to use. You do inventories. We did. Where we issued gear to individuals. Trying to think. Also, the main thing was trying to 00:14:00get people. Ready for deployment. So we had to pack everything into deployment containers and make sure that they knew the actual location of each part by indicating on a inventory sheet. So we had to actually break down everything in and add it all into one container and try to get. It's kind of like Tetris in a way. So where you had to fit the smaller things into, you know, even smaller hole or whatever the case may be, we had to make sure everything got into that container so they can go on deployments.

BOWERS HEALEY: At that time in '86, how much was computerized or was it? Pretty much just inventory sheets.

MCANDREW: At that time, it was pretty much inventory sheets that we had to go by. There was big binders that we had to use where we flipped by stock number. 00:15:00The stock number is like a part number, and it also had the part number in each binder and it has locations so that you know where to find the item, what to find. It had nomenclature what the item is. So then that way you can break it down even further. You had different binders for each item. We had location, binders. You had stock number binders, part number binders, and nomenclature binders. So you had a lot of paper that we went through at the time, and I can understand why we went to digital because a lot of paper got wasted.

BOWERS HEALEY: How many people were in your class or was it all just Air Force?

MCANDREW: Yes. It was an Air Force instructional base. I'm trying to remember how many people were in our class today. It was like 20 some.

BOWERS HEALEY: Or some of the same ones from your basic training?

MCANDREW: Yeah, there was a couple that I knew anyway from my basic training that went there with me.


BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. When you graduated, when did you graduate from your advanced training in materials specialist school?

MCANDREW: I graduated. And I just don't remember. I think it was in August because that's that's just before I went to my next duty station. So, yeah, it was August timeframe.

BOWERS HEALEY: We associate the technical things that you learned about the supply world. Any other or particular memories that you have from that schooling?

MCANDREW: Well, from that schooling, I, I was pretty fond of the instructor because he actually got down to the bare bones on how to do things and how to do it better. And he instructed us on the ways that we can actually make things so 00:17:00that they're easier to find, and also how to remember certain things. You know, creating locations, that kind of thing.

BOWERS HEALEY: Do you recall the instructor's name?

MCANDREW: No, I do not.


MCANDREW: I do not. Oh! It's been many years?

BOWERS HEALEY: Do you recall what his, his or her rank once was.

MCANDREW: Tech sergeant.

MCANDREW: Okay. Tech Sergeant. And some of the other things I remember from Colorado was actually getting on liberty leave where they allowed us to go off base for a couple hours. So I went down into the Lowry, into the mountains and everything, and I just loved the beauty because I'm a photographer. I started out just putzing around with cameras and everything. And just taking pictures. And I had my camera with me because they allowed me to take my camera. Just a small little camera. Just a point 00:18:00and shoot. And I took a lot of photos of the mountain area, so it was awesome in that case.

BOWERS HEALEY: And then what was your next studio assignment?

MCANDREW: My next duty assignment. They actually let us know. The way they did it is they told everyone is going to stay stateside except for two of yous. And like, okay, so they're like.

BOWERS HEALEY: Did you want to go outside of the States?

MCANDREW: I wasn't so sure at the time. I was kind of nervous about it. And then they were like, there was one other girl. I just don't remember her name either. And then me that was actually going overseas. So I went to a Comiso airbase in Sicily. It's part of Italy.

BOWERS HEALEY: Can I ask you to spell Comiso?



BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. And where is that? Roughly in Italy.

MCANDREW: There's Sicily. Basically, Italy is like the boot. In Sicily is an island. It looks like the football on the end of the boot.

BOWERS HEALEY: So that's where you ended up going? Yeah. When did you arrive in Comiso Air Base?

MCANDREW: I arrived in August 1986.

BOWERS HEALEY: And at that time, what was your rank or pay grade?

MCANDREW: I my rank at the time was Airman Basic.

BOWERS HEALEY: Which is what Pay grade?


BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. And what unit were you attached to when you were at Comiso?

MCANDREW: I was attached to the 487th Supply Squadron.



MCANDREW: And that was my first duty assignment as a short tour. So that was a twelve-month tour.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. So you knew you were going to be there for just twelve months?


BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. So tell me about what you did on a daily basis at Comiso?

MCANDREW: Well, on a daily basis, I worked in the individual equipment unit, and that basically is to issue out equipment to individuals that are first getting at the duty assignment, like, for instance, combat boots if they need them, or flak vests for a security forces. I mean, you had all kinds of different equipment that you actually had to hand out and. Some of the other things we had to do is get rucksacks all together for training purposes to get them ready for 00:21:00deployment. What, from there is considered forward deploying because we're already overseas. So when they go from that base to the next base is considered forwarding to another outside of the United States base, so.

BOWERS HEALEY: And was your work usually five days a week or they vary.

MCANDREW: For that particular duty assignment, it was normally five days a week. We usually started at seven in the morning and we were done really around 4:30, 5:00.

BOWERS HEALEY: And what were your living quarters like at that time?

MCANDREW: I lived in the dormitory.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. Share a room.

MCANDREW: I had a suite, mate. Basically, we shared a bathroom.



MCANDREW: So that was that was pretty cool. And I met a friend, got acquainted with a young lady, and we were we became real good friends. Her name was Shamika Young.


MCANDREW: Um. She, her and I would actually buddy up together. And we went to the swimming pool together and different things like that. And we also traveled around Sicily as well. So we had fun.

BOWERS HEALEY: Being in Sicily, an island, was your liberty pretty much limited to the island or not?

MCANDREW: Um, for us, yeah, pretty much it was limited to the island. I there are times that if if you had medical that they couldn't do at the clinic, then they had to fly you to Naples, which is in Italy. I pretty much stayed there unless I was also on a basketball team, a varsity basketball team. We got to go 00:23:00for a championship. We got to go to Ellinikon, don't ask me to spell that one. Greece.

BOWERS HEALEY: Greece? Okay.

MCANDREW: Yes. We actually got our championship there, so we had a really good time. We got to see the sights up in Greece as well.

BOWERS HEALEY: So was your friend. It was Shamika. Was she also on the basketball team?

MCANDREW: Yes, she is. Okay. So that's how we got to really get good acquainted.

BOWERS HEALEY: Other than your trip to Greece when you were in Sicily. Well, let me ask, how large is the base, if, you know, in terms of geographic size, in terms of number of people working there, describe that base a little bit.

MCANDREW: How that base was. Well, I think was kind of small. Oh, I want to say it was like 3000. But I can't I can't quote me on that because I can't remember 00:24:00for sure how many.

BOWERS HEALEY: And that's an estimate of how many Air Force people were there.

MCANDREW: They have more than just Air Force Base and Air Force people there, they had NATO as well there.


MCANDREW: That's, that's pretty much who wants it. And then they had people that actually lived in Sicily, Sicilians that actually worked on base as well.

BOWERS HEALEY: So you have quite a few civilians living on base. Learn any Italian.

MCANDREW: There. They were working on base. They didn't live on base, but Italian. Yeah, I learned a little bit of Italian.

BOWERS HEALEY: All right. And how did you get around? Not just the base, but also Sicily? What was the transportation like?

MCANDREW: We had actually done the bus tours.


MCANDREW: That kind of thing, you know, with the MWR. This, you know, warfare, 00:25:00welfare type trips that we went on.

BOWERS HEALEY: Looking back, how do you feel that that first twelve-month tour, if you do twelve months there, and how did that influence your desire to stay in the Air Force or your career, your learning, that sort of thing? What did you think about that tour?

MCANDREW: That that tour? It was a long way from home. And being eighteen years old, it was kind of scary at first, you know, because you don't know what's going to happen. I, I know what sense it was a GLICM on base, you know, missiles, dealing with missiles.

BOWERS HEALEY: What was the word you use?


BOWERS HEALEY: Can you spell that? Is that an acronym.

MCANDREW: It's more of an acronym.


MCANDREW: It was more of a missile. You can say missile base to. That's what it basically is. So because they had the silos and they had the missiles ready at 00:26:00all times at that point, because you get had the Cuba that was kind of messing with us then. And so yeah, they were keeping an eye on them and everything. So as far as things I learned there, I, I was getting good mentorship. I had a tech sergeant that was actually mentoring me and becoming a better supply person.

BOWERS HEALEY: Was that person actually an assigned mentor to you? Or was that person just a good trainer?

MCANDREW: He just took me under his wing.


MCANDREW: And trained me. And he also, you know, mentored me to see if I want to continue in the service. So at the time, I was still not totally sure if I wanted to stay in the military or not, because being the first assignment, being 00:27:00so far away for so long, it was it was kind of a scary thing at the time.

BOWERS HEALEY: Back in '86. How did you communicate back home?

MCANDREW: That was really interesting. The way we called, I called by using the click form. Basically, it counts for a minute and you hear it click every time that a minute went by. Okay. And you had to use Italian lira to pay the phone, basically. We also had morale calls where we had, where we can call home for 15 minutes at a shot. Otherwise you had to make sure that you summed everything up in that 15 minutes or you got cut off.


MCANDREW: Yeah, that was quite interesting.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. Anything else about Comiso that you'd like to add about 00:28:00your experience there or in Italy generally, before we go on to your next duty station?

MCANDREW: Well, the sites I really love the sites there. The water was really nice, crystal clear and greenish color. I took pictures there as well. I got a different camera at that point and I found my love and my passion as a photographer startin' then, and I became a little more interested in that. And, oh, also, while I was there, I was also in the country, Western Band.

BOWERS HEALEY: Oh, okay. And where did you play in the country? Western.

MCANDREW: I played a saxophone and alto sax.


MCANDREW: And they they actually hooked up with me and they wanted to because I got to become friends with one individual that was part of the band. And she found that I played saxaphone, she said that would be a good extra instrument to 00:29:00add to our Country West Band, she said. And so had me join and I'd done some solos with the country western band and we played it the Armed Forces Day, that kind of thing during that time. So it was really fun. Yeah.

BOWERS HEALEY: And how often did you meet with the band for practice, for performances?

MCANDREW: We did, probably couple of times a week, if I remember, right. Yeah, we did that. And I mean, that was something that broke up the work, you know, and made it more fun and more relaxing, I guess, if you will.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. Were some of the people there on three year tours or was it generally one year or two?

MCANDREW: It's just it was just a one year tour.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. So families weren't out there or not?

MCANDREW: No, no families because it was a short tour.


MCANDREW: Unaccompanied tours.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. So after that tour, where did you go next?


MCANDREW: Well, after that, I went to the 438th Supply Squadron at McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey. And that was in August 1987.

BOWERS HEALEY: You said New Jersey. New Jersey. Okay. Between duty stations, did you take some leave or not?

MCANDREW: I did not.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. All right. And when you arrived at in New Jersey at McGuire. By that time, what was your rank and what. Well, what was your rank when you arrived there?

MCANDREW: Oh, when I arrived there, I actually did get promoted and I learned that there's first duty station twice. Airmen and airmen. First class. Which of 00:31:00the three?


MCANDREW: So once I got there, I was Airman first class, I actually got promoted in May 1989 and then again May 1990. So '89 I became a senior airman. And then in May 1990, one year later, I became a sergeant, we called them a buck sergeant at the time.

BOWERS HEALEY: And that's an E-5 or.


BOWERS HEALEY: E-4. Okay. And were those time and grade promotions or were some of those meritorious promotions?

MCANDREW: Time and Grade Promotions.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. I mean, back then, the buck sergeant or sergeant, um, all that did is add supervisory abilities to you, where add just a star on the 00:32:00senior arm stripe is what that one did.

BOWERS HEALEY: Oh, okay. All right. And what was your what were your duties at McGuire Air Force Base?

MCANDREW: Well, my duties there, um, when I first got there, I worked the base service store and individual equipment unit. So I was kind of on both sides of that. So I started in the base service store. And what that is, is where customers can come in and they can get nuts, bolts, screws, paper, pens, you know, just the normal supplies like you would need in a office environment or a small maintenance type environment. They come to the base service store to actually get that equipment.


BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. So, go ahead.

MCANDREW: I was the main person that actually stocked the equipment and the paper and all that stuff. Um, because, I was considered the 2-SO of X1 so that is we considered the as the box kicker. And then they get the two XO. Just the, you know, the regular two X or the ones that deal we call them the pencil pushers at the time because they took care of the actual front of the desk issue, the actual equipment.

BOWERS HEALEY: Now, you mentioned McGuire Air Force Base, and you said you were for 438th squadron.

MCANDREW: Or supply squadron?

BOWERS HEALEY: Supply squadron. Okay. And is that part of a group or not?

MCANDREW: Yes, under the logistics group.

BOWERS HEALEY: And tell me a little bit about the Air Force base in terms of 00:34:00size and location and geography. Where is it located in New Jersey and how close to other cities?

MCANDREW: McGuire Air Force Base is by close to Burlington, New Jersey. Trenton's north of there. Then you got Newark, north of there. Philly to the west of there. And it's pretty close to like Toms River, which is more east. It is more inland from the shores. We had to drive for like an hour to get to the Jersey Shore.

BOWERS HEALEY: Did you have a car at that time at that time or not?

MCANDREW: At the time I had to come back for my car.


MCANDREW: Once I got leave I was able to come back to Wisconsin to take a little bit of leave and I got my car because it was in storage. And then I took that, drove that out with my mom and flew her back. [Laughs] So we so I had some 00:35:00company to go out to, back out to New Jersey to.

BOWERS HEALEY: And then by that time you were twenty years of age or what?

MCANDREW: Yeah, about that.

BOWERS HEALEY: I should have asked you when you signed up were you eighteen or seventeen.

MCANDREW: I was eighteen. eighteen, yes.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. All right. Well, tell me a little bit more about the liberty option opportunities that you had at McGuire and how long did you stay at McGuire?

MCANDREW: Well, McGuire. I was there initially. I was at McGuire from '87 to '90 initially. Um, because I actually went back to McGuire later on. Okay. So I'll just touch bases on that time frame. For liberties we got to do. Basically 00:36:00whatever you would like to do it, you know, when you get your spare time. Uh, at the time I was working individual equipment and they service stores, so that was a basically a 7:30 to 4:30 job at the time. There was times that I actually went into work early, just so I can get ahead of things and get caught up on orders and things of that nature throughout the day instead of training, stocking customers who were in the store. I didn't want to do that because then you're in the way. So at that point, I owe the colonel, Colonel Hood, at the time he was there and here he's seen me walking up and down the, going back and forth between the front office and where I was actually at the other end of the building. And he goes, "What are you doing here so early?" He always see me 00:37:00there early because he would be there early as well. And I thought that was pretty nice of him to say, you know, it's nice to have some, an actual airman that comes in early and dedicate her time to service. So, that was a special remark that Colonel gave me.

BOWERS HEALEY: In addition to your supply duties, did you have other duties like Standing Duty or not?

MCANDREW: At the time? I don't remember any additional duties at that time. Later on in my career, there was definitely other duties on top of it.

BOWERS HEALEY: And what were they? Where did you live when you were at McGuire? The first time.

MCANDREW: The first time I was actually living in the dorms.

BOWERS HEALEY: Can you call them dorms?, not barracks?

MCANDREW: Yeah, we call them dorms.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. All right. And what were the dorms like that were provided 00:38:00by the Air Force?

MCANDREW: Well, I mean, at first, you know, Maguire was a little rundown at first. They got better and made things more comfortable for new airmen coming in and things of that nature. But yeah, the first building that I went in at Maguire was from the the World War Two and that kind of thing. So there were little older buildings at the time, and later on that's when we got the newer dorms that we moved into at that point. So that was pretty good.

BOWERS HEALEY: In addition to Colonel Hood taking note that you came in early for work, any other memories that you or events that occurred where you were at McGuire for the first time?

MCANDREW: Yeah. Later on down the line and just before I left there, I actually went from the individual equipment unit from in the base service store to the D 00:39:00flight, which in turn I went to delivery. So I was actually driving a truck and delivering property to different squadrons. Whoever orders it, we deliver it. We called them red streaks and things of that nature, where he had to get them out to the flight line in 15 minutes or less. You know, this guy like the pizza thing got to get it there. But at that point, I was getting trained to be a tractor trailer driver so I can deliver larger loads. And I had a civilian train me and also a master Sergeant Marks. He was pretty awesome. There was one day I really remember. There was one day I was coming around the corner of the 00:40:00building because we had a long warehouse that I'd had to drive around the building to park on the other side of the building because there's only one way around there. And there was a bunch of NCOs and airmen standing on the dock that I parked in front of. And, here he came out. What are you guys doing out here? Look, we're just messing around for a little bit. I'm like, okay. Because he told me about this afterwards. And he says, "Watch. Sergeant Mathias is coming around the corner, she's going to show you up." And I'm like, "He was totally out lif line, and you told them that." And he says, "Watch her. She's going to be, she's the best driver that you could see for just starting and driving." And so I parked, parallel parked between two cars, a tractor trailer, and this is a 00:41:0045 foot trailer. And I got, I did it first time and I got off out of the truck and up on the dock and Marks started clapping for me. And he goes, "See. Told you, she's an excellent driver."

BOWERS HEALEY: Had you're driven tractor trailers before.


BOWERS HEALEY: Nothing but a car.

MCANDREW: Nothing but a car.


MCANDREW: Until I got trained. And Marks trained me and so did Danner, which is the civilian. They both trained me how to do it. And I just went with it. I got some other good recognition too, from even civilians that did it for twenty years because I also took loads of cargo up to aerial port squadron so it can get loaded onto airplanes as well. And I parked between two tractor trailers 00:42:00before that were just barely enough room to get into. And I had a twenty-year vet that was a tractor trailer driver. He says, How long have you been driving? I was like, six months. You looked like you were driving for twenty years. I was like, "Thank you, sir." So that was pretty interesting too. So, yeah, I had fun doing it as well, so.

BOWERS HEALEY: Good. Okay. McGuire, Air Force Base, you indicated you were there until 1990. So that must be about the end of your first enlistment?


BOWERS HEALEY: And did you have to make a decision where you were at Maguire as to whether or not if you were going to re-enlist?

MCANDREW: Actually, it was just before. It was in 1989. I had to make the decision. Um, it was just after I put on Senior Airman and they made that 00:43:00decision because they had the early out program where you can either get out of your enlistment early or you had to re-enlist. You didn't have any other option at the time. So I chose to re-up. At the time I was like, "Well, I'll, I'll go for a little bit longer and see what happens." I was starting to enjoy it. So that's why every year up at that point, because there was people that was mentoring me really good and and I felt more comfortable at being in the military. You know, I was the only female for a long time in my supply squadron, so I was a little scared on that side of it, you know?

BOWERS HEALEY: Why were you scared about that?


MCANDREW: Well, it seemed like a male. Oh, I don't know, a male society kind of thing, if you will. I'm just trying to think of a better word for it. But it was male dominant at the time, and I felt a little intimidated at one point. But then later on, like I said, sorry Marks, it's Colonel Hood. And they all made me feel welcome. So at that point, I felt that I can do this. I know I'm only female for a while. There'll be other females following me, I'm sure. So I'm going to do this, and I'm going to strive to do my best.

BOWERS HEALEY: When you say only female, do you mean in the supply area?

MCANDREW: In the supply area.

BOWERS HEALEY: But there were other females on the base?

MCANDREW: Yeah, there was other females in base. There was some like in the orderly rooms and things of that nature. However, at the group level, you know, 00:45:00it wasn't a lot of us at that time, but yeah, they started growing in numbers as time went by.

BOWERS HEALEY: So when you re-upped, how much did you re-up for and did you know you were were you do for another duty station or not?

MCANDREW: Yes, I re-upped for for four more years.


MCANDREW: Because they said I can go for four or five or six years. So I said, Well, let's go with the first. So I went with four years. And at that point. I was about to be selected probably in another year to go to another duty station because it was May 1990 that I actually I left McGuire.


BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. And where was your next duty station?

MCANDREW: Well, the next one after that, I was selected for a special duty assignment, and that was with the 37th supply at Tonopah Test Range in Nevada.

BOWERS HEALEY: Go ahead and spell Tonopah, please.


BOWERS HEALEY: And that's in Nevada?



MCANDREW: And that was a special duty assignment. And I had to get a top secret clearance to go there. This was working with the stealth fighter, the F-117A.

BOWERS HEALEY: And what unit or squadron were you attached to?

MCANDREW: The 37th Supply Squadron.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. And was that part of a group or not?


MCANDREW: It was a part of the tactical fighter wing.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. Was that your only option or is that something you really wanted to do? To go to Tonopah, Nevada.

MCANDREW: Well, that's just the assignment I got selected to go to for a special duty and. I just took and went with it and I took the assignment.

BOWERS HEALEY: And the special duty, something that you can expect in your career to have to do a special duty or not.

MCANDREW: You can actually get selected to do special duties, but not everybody gets selected to do all the special duties. Some people just stay in their normal career field and just go with that. But I guess I got put in from the colonel and and he says that's a good selection. So I went with that special duty.


BOWERS HEALEY: But you still work in the supply field?

MCANDREW: Yes, I still with the supply field, but it was still more governed toward the parts for the fighter F-117, a fighter recon stealth fighter.

BOWERS HEALEY: Tonapah, Nevada. That's the name of the air base, right?


BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. Not a real common airbase. Not not as well known as McGuire Air Force Base. Tell me a little bit about Tonopah in terms of where is it located and geography and the size of the base at the time that you were there.

MCANDREW: Yeah, the base was fairly small. I you know, I don't remember even what the numbers were. It might have been two or 3000 people. Maybe there was still a smaller base. It had an airfield and they did testing up there with the stealth fighter. It's located north of Las Vegas and Nellis Air Force Base.



MCANDREW: And we had to fly. To our duty station, basically from Nellis Air Force Base. So we flew to our duty on Monday and we stayed up there in dorms and we flew back on Thursday.

BOWERS HEALEY: Every week?

MCANDREW: Every week.

BOWERS HEALEY: So you didn't have a vehicle with you?


BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. And you were really at Nellis?

MCANDREW: Yeah. Yeah. Okay. And then we'd have a three day weekend, basically, because we worked 12 hour shifts. And, uh, we also, uh.

BOWERS HEALEY: Did you just work Monday through Thursday and you didn't?

MCANDREW: Just Monday through Thursday.

BOWERS HEALEY: Anyone in supply out there? Friday, Saturday, Sunday?

MCANDREW: Well, for me, I worked Monday through Thursday. But there was security 00:50:00forces and other folks that did work those other days as well, so.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. And the base itself, if you can say, was it who work there? Was it just Air Force or not?

MCANDREW: As far as I know, it's just Air Force.


MCANDREW: We have some civilians up there. Okay. Well, I'm not sure on anything.

BOWERS HEALEY: Everybody just says there are no. Everybody fly in and fly out.


BOWERS HEALEY: Every week.



MCANDREW: I did drive a tractor trailer from there before. Uh.

BOWERS HEALEY: Just around the base or did you leave the base?

MCANDREW: I left the base and actually went to Nellis.


MCANDREW: We had to take some equipment from there to Nellis. And so we drove a tractor trailer to get all those pieces of equipment down there. Uh, it's quite 00:51:00a few miles. Can't really say too far, but.

BOWERS HEALEY: Uh, were you permitted to tell your parents where you were based or just.

MCANDREW: Oh, I could say that I was at Tonopah test range.



BOWERS HEALEY: All right. Um, how long were you at Tonopah?

MCANDREW: I was at Tonopah from. Oh, Lord. Trying to remember everything. Oh. I was there from November 1990 to July, 1992.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. And how did you enjoy that duty station?

MCANDREW: I thought it was, interesting to meet different people. Of course, in my career field, you meet all kinds of different people and. I wish we had. We had fun in our spare time. And there was at one point. Of my suite mate down a 00:52:00Nellis Air Force Base. She said, Well, let's go and play some Pictionary just to get it out of our room for a little bit. I was like, Oh, okay. Reluctantly, I said, I'll go. I'll go out. See you have fun. And so we probably Pictionary. She had mentioned to me to meet some other people, and I was like, All right. And that's actually where I met my husband. We were playing Pictionary. We're on Earth. We're on the team together. We got paired up on that same team, and we did actually pretty good. And then afterwards, we just started talking and going out. And then before.

BOWERS HEALEY: He was in the Air Force, also?

MCANDREW: Yes, he was in the Air Force also. He got stationed there as well. So 00:53:00we both actually were stationed at Tonopah Test range.

BOWERS HEALEY: You just never come across him before?

MCANDREW: Well, this was, like, just barely before we got going up there.


MCANDREW: Because we had some time that we had to wait for clearance to completely go through before we can go up there. So. We had. Just wait until then. And I think it was a few weeks or something like that that we had to do other things and before clearance came back as we can go up. They just had to finish the top secret clearance.

BOWERS HEALEY: What was his military occupational specialty?

MCANDREW: He is maintenance. He's AGE. So, air, space, ground equipment. Maintenance guy.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. All right. And how long has he been in the service?


MCANDREW: At that time, he went in in 1988.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. All right. And. Well, I don't know. Did you happen to fly back and forth every week with was he on the same flight?

MCANDREW: If I had to go on the same flight with them back and forth before the end of my duty assignment. Uh, we got married.

BOWERS HEALEY: And where'd you get married?

MCANDREW: We got married at the Fowler, down in Las Vegas, we actually got married in a little chapel in Las Vegas. We had a couple of friends that actually just stood by us and witnessed it. We had a good time. We had seen shows at Bally's and things of that nature. So we had a really good time.


BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. And where where is his hometown?

MCANDREW: His hometown is Thompson, Pennsylvania.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. Right. Well, you were at Tonopah for about two years. Maybe a little shy of two years.


BOWERS HEALEY: Uh. Getting married, meeting your husband, getting married, that's certainly significant. Anything else about the duty or about liberty or.

MCANDREW: Another thing that was significant is the before we left, we actually had our son.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. And when was he born? What year

MCANDREW: He was born? In 1992.


MCANDREW: We got married in 1991, so. Yeah. And then he was born in 1992, in 00:56:00May. So that was just before I actually left there.

BOWERS HEALEY: And he was born in Las Vegas or Nellis.

MCANDREW: Or was born at Nellis Airforce Base. Okay. So and then a couple of months after that, that's when we left.

BOWERS HEALEY: Did your pregnancy affect your your duty status at all?

MCANDREW: Yes, it did. Okay. So toward I think it was like 38 week when I was 38 weeks pregnant, I couldn't fly anymore. So I can't even go to my duty station at Tonopah. So I stayed and they had me working at Nellis Air Force Base at the Supply Squadron. For the duration until I had our son.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. And so they were flying you up to 38 weeks. You were still taking 00:57:00the weekly flights.

MCANDREW: Okay. I was still good. So they were like, oh, you're still physically "good to go." So, um. Well, it was pretty close. 38 weeks, I think it was just under, uh, then, uh, at that point, that's when my husband and I got closer to having our son is, he had to fly back and forth for a while. They were almost every day for the last couple of weeks, so.


MCANDREW: Cause I was, like, overdue.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. Anything else you want to tell me about Tonopah before we go to the next duty station? around. Master Sergeant Castille was one of them. He was a real good mentor. And he just helped me become a better leader, 00:58:00supervisor. Because I was the supervisor at the time and they, he wanted to make sure that I actually continue on with a good path. So. We had fun there and we. It's like when we were there, we had where we played or worked hard and then we played hard. So we had our times where we actually were in the warehouse and would have these races back and forth, little rally races, and we'd have fun doing that. And then we also had where we'd pretend that we're doing a remote control with some bugs. We did weird things, but otherwise it was an awesome 00:59:00time. I met, really. I met another friend of mine and, Tami Gill. She was really awesome.

BOWERS HEALEY: By that time. Were you starting to see people that you'd met in your first and second tour of duty or not?

MCANDREW: No. They're not there. I didn't see anybody. I did run into a couple of people later on. Well, you know, we're like small world.

BOWERS HEALEY: Where you were in a couple of small bases and Sicily and Tonopah.

MCANDREW: Right. Well, Sicily being the first base and it kind of a smaller base. I didn't meet anybody at that point, you know, from tech school or, or basic even. I don't remember meeting anybody there, but. Oh. I know one person. 01:00:00Shamika was at Basic training at the same time as me, but we weren't in the same place.

BOWERS HEALEY: So when did you make your move to your next duty station? And where was that?

MCANDREW: Well, the next move that I went into was back to McGuire. At the time, it was 438th Supply Squadron. But then it transitioned over to the 305th, and then again transfers, transitioned over to the 305 Logistics Squadron or Logistics Readiness Squadron. We had a couple of changes while I was there during that time, and that was August 1992. And, I was there to September 2003.

BOWERS HEALEY: And what were your duties and responsibilities at that time?

MCANDREW: At that time? You know, I'm trying to remember what that was. Well, at 01:01:00one point I was in the Procedures and analysis section. That is dealing with writing procedures for supply. And also analyzing different data that we actually collected for the squadron, as well. So that was quite interesting too, where I learned on how to write different procedures in the correct writing of procedures. Procedures was not actually an antiquated-type writing style, so I had to learn a new way of writing. So, that's how I learned that. Maria Ott. Ms. Maria Ott, she was an 01:02:00awesome supervisor civilian at the time. She actually mentored me to going forward in that section.


MCANDREW: And then I'm trying to remember exactly. I was also in D-flight, too. I kind of moved around a little bit, uh, in there as well. So, I was in D-flight for a while in Storage and Issue, which what that is, is where you store many different pieces of equipment, aircraft parts, tires for vehicle maintenance, and you got bolts, nuts, and screws again. And then you got different other smaller parts, you know, like fuses and oh, there's we just had a large variety 01:03:00of inventory. And that inventory was kind of, I think. 10,000 line items for just the cherry picker. The cherry picker, what it is, is consisting of a. It's kind of like a forklift, but it raises a lot higher. So we had different bins where we had several pieces in each bin and it could consist of nuts, bolts, screws, washers, fuses, so on and so forth. And we just go up in that lift to pull those parts. That's why they call it a cherry picker. You just go up to that height and pick those parts and then just bring it down and have it all bags and everything and you bag it up and send it to a delivery. Delivery delivers all those pieces that you actually picked. There was also to the point 01:04:00where I drove forklift also in the main supply building as well and pulled tires, ailerons. In other words, pieces of the aircraft to take out to the flight line as well. Some of those parts were quite interesting. Get out of the get out of the supply building like the aileron is one of the parts that are really long. So I got to be very proficient in operating the forklift. And you had to maneuver inside and outside of the building to try to get the aileron out of the building onto the dock and then still maneuver it in the loading dock to get it on a tractor trailer, because that's a very long piece because we had the C141s out there at the time. And so those parts had to be tractor trailered to 01:05:00the flight line. So I was one of those individuals that had the license for tractor trailers, so I had to pull it, plus take it up to the flight line at the time until other people got trained as well. Then let's see. Also worked in. I'm just trying to remember everything I worked. I worked in the readiness center for a while, too. But that was more a, I guess that is more of an extra duty type thing. Just try to remember what we called it. But yeah, it was an extra duty that I had to do. So whenever they had opened up the readiness center, I would go over there and help for a little while to get things like maneuvers or 01:06:00anything like that done or get training for individuals or shots. Not necessarily me doing the shots, but I would actually make sure that their records were up today, and if they weren't up to date, you had to actually tell the supervisors they need to get over and get their shots all up to date, that kind of thing. So I learned a lot about shots, I think, when they're due, that kind of thing.

BOWERS HEALEY: So were you and your husband able to transfer at the same time to the same base or not?

MCANDREW: Oh, yeah. We did get the assignment together there that time that I went back to McGuire, though, I had orders too in Little Rock, Arkansas, and he had orders to McGuire.



MCANDREW: So at that time, that's when my chief because usually they try to keep you within 50 miles radius, if they could, if you're joint military. And so my chief at the time asked me where would I rather go or where would we rather go.


MCANDREW: And I told him, I said really I don't want to go back to McGuire again but if I have to for, for us to be there I'll do it. So we tried to get back because my husband was like, well, yeah, uh, he'd rather go to Little Rock, too. Oh, okay. So they looked at it and they were like, Well, we can't overman aerospace grown equipment, but we can over man supply. So what they did is. They 01:08:00said, okay, this time to go to McGuire then because we can't over man down there for maintenance for his career field. So I followed him to that duty station. So back to MaguireI went.

BOWERS HEALEY: And what did you and your spouse do for child care? Were you on your own to arrange that, or does the Air Force help with that?

MCANDREW: We were on our own to arrange it. So at the time we had met actually, we had met a friend of ours in. Or was it? She was. We met her at the commissary at one point. So that's how we got. She was a British gal. Julie Miller. She is 01:09:00a great friend of mine. And she had actually took Joe under her wings, which is our son, and she would watch them while we were at our duties.


MCANDREW: So she did that for a while and he she got to see him grow up more than we did, I think. But, yeah, I think. I think he liked her. Okay. He didn't say any different?

BOWERS HEALEY: Unless while you were at Maguire.

MCANDREW: Yes. That's why we were at Maguire. He was just a little, little guy then.

BOWERS HEALEY: While you're at Maguire, did you have to re-enlist, or is that a ways down the pike yet?

MCANDREW: From Maguire? I had to. Yeah, I had to re-enlist then. That's after I became a staff sergeant and I was promoted to staff sergeant in January 1995. 01:10:00That's when I tested for staff and I made staff.

BOWERS HEALEY: So explain a bit about the promotion and you said tested and staff sergeant is E-6 or what?


BOWERS HEALEY: E-5, okay. And what sort of testing do you need to do to make E-5?

MCANDREW: So we have to take a promotional. It's basically the PME guide, which is a promotional, you know, dealing with education history. Different avenues that you had to actually learn. And those are the things that you get tested out of. What's in that pretty good sized book.

BOWERS HEALEY: PME Is that primarily military education or does that stand for?

MCANDREW: Promotional.

BOWERS HEALEY: Promotional.

MCANDREW: Yeah, I'm just trying to remember what exactly it stands for. I am so 01:11:00used to acronyms that I always forget the standing.

BOWERS HEALEY: Understand.

MCANDREW: Yeah. What it actually stands for. It's been a long time. So yeah, the acronym sticks my head instead of everything else.


MCANDREW: Yeah. But that was a guide to get you prepared for promotions.


MCANDREW: So that we read and we had to study it. And then also our performance reports would actually the evaluations would be counted toward it, too. Plus, your time and grade time and service also have bearing on it and also any kind of achievements. Combinations, that kind of thing, and make sure you get good conduct medals, make sure you had good standing in the military, as well. All those were factors in making rank.


BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. You mentioned Julie Miller, a good friend of yours who took care of your son. Any other memorable people or memorable times from your for your second tour of McGuire.

MCANDREW: Well, during that time, just really. Oh, boy. So during that time there was just a lot of people that I got to know and.

BOWERS HEALEY: Starting to see people that you met before your career or not.

MCANDREW: There was a couple maybe that I actually ran into. I mean, noone that became real good friends or anything, but just more acquaintances, I guess.


MCANDREW: But, you know, ran it well. Small world. Seen you at Tonopah. You know, that was one person. There was one person from there. Ray Moody. Yes. That was 01:13:00interesting. Yeah. And, uh. Then I also got to know some other people from there and. We had lit. We moved into our house in 1995 on Browns Mills just a few miles from, uh, McGuire Air Force Base. That's where we moved into when we first got back. So that house was built for us. And we met the guy.

BOWERS HEALEY: From the a house that you bought.

MCANDREW: Not? Yeah, we bought it. Yeah, we bought it. We figured we'll probably end up being McGuire for quite a while, so we were really like at least three years, so we figured we'd have a good equity in that then once we were to leave again. So we actually became real good friends with a person that was across 01:14:00from us, kitty corner to us. They had the same house, basically the same people that built their their house as a built our house. And they moved in and we got we got well acquainted. He was military and his wife, were awesome hosts. They were they were funny. Our son got to know Am really well. His name was Am Mocadi. And then Rosie. He, our son called him, uh, Mr. Oh, good Lord. I heard he had, uh, because he was considered cause they. He called him Dennis because he could get in a little mischief, so he was called Dennis, like Dennis the Menace and the he was Mr. Wilson. Our son called him Mr. Wilson at that time. They used to run around in wheel barrows. He'd go in the wheelbarrow and push him. It was pretty, pretty good. He had he had a good time and and they're really good friends. And they moved to Texas and we stayed there. So, um. Yeah, cause he retired.


BOWERS HEALEY: How long were you at McGuire that time?

MCANDREW: So we were at McGuire from, uh.

BOWERS HEALEY: Was it 'until. Did you say September 2003. Okay. Where'd you go for Maguire?

MCANDREW: Well, my husband stayed on Maguire at that point, and I basically have the fence and went over to. To the U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center over in Fort Dix. And that's still New Jersey. So basically, I'm just jumping the fence.

BOWERS HEALEY: Are they actually adjacent to each other?



MCANDREW: They actually became a mega base because they combined 01:16:00with also Lakehurst as well. So that was toward the end of our time there.

BOWERS HEALEY: And what was your assignment at Fort Dix?

MCANDREW: My assignment at Fort Dix was. Being in the. Oh, Lord. Basically we' were the training facility that train people. For deployments, like you had Red Man suits that you wear. Uh, the.

BOWERS HEALEY: What'd you say? Red Man, red man.

MCANDREW: Suit man. So basically, it's like, a lot of cushion. I usually just do man on man combat kind of thing and just hit each other. At least you had the 01:17:00cushion to actually hold that.

BOWERS HEALEY: Did you train? Train in Red Man suits or training other people?

MCANDREW: No, we issued that out. So basically I was still doing supply stuff, but it wasn't in a Supply Squadron. So we were training, considered a training squadron. So like that we're considered the, we were under the U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center. Which we were the 421st tactical, training squadron as well. Excuse me. We would issue out, things like Myles Gear for field training conditions. We would issue, well, we would help with weapon issues. Um. We would issue out vehicles, 'cuz our main thing was vehicles, in the back there. Because we got Humvees. We had deuce and a 01:18:00halfs, we had tractor trailers, so we did a lot of issuing those type things and flak vests, helmets. clips. I mean, a bunch of different things like that. And we had where we had an assembly line where the people that went out to the field conditions would issue their Myles gear basically our Myles gear is a vest and they put a Myles clip on the end of the weapon. And it basically sounds like alarms if you hit somebody.

BOWERS HEALEY: Is Myles an acronym?

MCANDREW: No, I don't think so. I think he's just called Myles Gear.


MCANDREW: And that was their one way of training and seeing if they can hit each other from different. I don't know from different angles and different maneuvers. And, you know, I guess we were actually part of that at some point and we were training and as well. And because I mean, obviously, supply has to go out there, too, sometimes, you know, to help out. And. So we, we actually transferred vehicles also from McGuire to Lakehurst, New Jersey. In the end, we do Cowboys. So, that was interesting.


BOWERS HEALEY: How far away is Lakehurst?

MCANDREW: Boy Oh. He was like, twenty-six.

BOWERS HEALEY: It's not really important. I just wondered how long convoys were.

MCANDREW: Well, I think it was roughly took us like forty minutes to get there, 01:20:00if I remember. Right. It's been a while.


MCANDREW: But, yeah, we'd do Cowboys, that was that was pretty cool. And then we issue also night vision goggles and those type things. Go get them. People going through the lines and stuff. There is people that I've actually seen before at other bases that I met going through the lines. I remember, you know, I'd say their name. Wow. You remember? You know, so they thought it was pretty interesting. I remember, you know, certain people that actually I've seen throughout my career and they came there for training. So it was different bases all across the United States that actually came for that training to our installation of Fort Dix. So I thought that was a really interesting assignment because I've got to do different things other than normal supply avenues that I 01:21:00actually encountered.

BOWERS HEALEY: Here at Fort Dix for about three years, or not.

MCANDREW: Or not. Yeah, I was that well, four years.


MCANDREW: 2003, I was there from October 2003 to August 2007.


MCANDREW: And at that point, I actually got promoted to Master Sergeant. I was tech sergeant before I hopped the fence. I got promoted to Tech Sergeant in December 2001.

BOWERS HEALEY: And Tech Sergeant is an E-what in the Air Force.


BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. And then you were promoted to Master Sergeant where you were at Fort Dix?

MCANDREW: Yep. And then I was E-7.


MCANDREW: And then I got promoted. February 2006. So just a little over a year 01:22:00before I left there, I got promoted. But I think that's what triggered me to get in my next assignment.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. And your next assignment was what?

MCANDREW: My next assignment was at the ninety, as a chief of supply at the 95th Reconnaissance Squadron. And that's in RAF Mildenhall, England, United Kingdom.

BOWERS HEALEY: Did you go accompanied with your husband or not?

MCANDREW: Yes, when accompanied, as this was a considered a long tour. Okay. So it can be accompanied.

BOWERS HEALEY: Did your request that or did that just happened? Or was it part 01:23:00and parcel because you needed to duty assignments or one?

MCANDREW: Well, it was to the point that. He was able to accompany with me, you know, and got his assignment as well. Okay. At the same time, um. Then we. We just went with that and. Because we thought it was a good thing. He followed on with me to this assignment. I had orders to go to this assignment.

BOWERS HEALEY: Expected to be a three-year tour. Yes. And is that what you spent in Mildenhall?

MCANDREW: Well, we were there from August 2007 to our retirement. Which was September first 2010.

BOWERS HEALEY: Both retired at the same time, and.

MCANDREW: We both retired the same day. We actually did our retirement ceremony 01:24:00on June 10th of 2010. And it was also the same day as our son graduated from high school. Okay. So we had an interesting day to do our retirement first. Then we went to his graduation.

BOWERS HEALEY: And what type of school was he attending there?

MCANDREW: He was going through the Department of Defense School.


MCANDREW: Which is a really good school.

BOWERS HEALEY: Hm-Hmm. What type of work that you do at Mildenhall?

MCANDREW: At Mildenhall? I worked with the Recall Reconnaissance Squadron with the KC-135. Um, they do require the reconnaissance. So what I did there, I was supply still. I was the chief of supply at the time. Um, they had me. We had a 01:25:00small warehouse, so it was pretty small where we had kept parts for the reconnaissance missions, for the that, those aircrafts that we dealt with. Things like radar and nose cones. You know, some of the items are fairly good size, too. So we had to figure out good ways to do our Tetris thing again to fit into those locations. We also had where we did forwarding, forwarding base as well. So we had to put together any kind of bins that we figure was going to go on to another forwarding location to help for deployments. So we had to do our little inventory that I was talking about in tech school that we learned how to do by instituting a inventory sheet, plus trying to get whatever parts they 01:26:00possibly needed into that container and made sure that the inventory sheets actually reflected those so they can find the easy, easy locations for those parts dealing with our aircrafts that went from England to, gosh, I think it was Sudan. I 'm not exactly sure. But there was another forwarding location that we went to as well. So, um, we had to make sure that we had plenty of parts that went along with those aircrafts. So if they ever needed 'em, you know, if the plane broke for some reason, then they had parts to fix it.

BOWERS HEALEY: But you were in the Air Force for 20, how many years?

MCANDREW: Twenty-four years and three months.

BOWERS HEALEY: Twenty-four years. During that period of time, did they the how 01:27:00how did the supply world in the Air Force change? Um, did it get more computerized or not? Or did it change?

MCANDREW: It changed really a great deal from the time I went from tech school where we had all those binders that we had separated by different, like stock locations or by stock numbers, part numbers, so on and so forth, to computerized where you can just do a search, an inquiry, if you will, where you can do an inquiry their locations or stock numbers or part number. You try to do a part number inquiry so you can get a stock number or vice versa. So that the way we went to computerize it was an awesome turnaround because it was easy at your fingertips. And we had where we can actually issue from an actual computer where 01:28:00we can do an issue of print out a piece of paper. They'll sign for their part. And then we just take that paper and we send it to document control I mean, dog control actually took care of the responsibilities of keeping track of parts and things of that nature. They had where when we do that, we didn't have to worry about going on paper and decreasing it by one or increasing it by one because we received the part. It did it automatically in the computer, so decrease it in the fear. So we knew exactly on how much we had. And we still had to do inventories. But that is to make sure that the paperwork got done in accordance 01:29:00in the actual manner that it should have been, because maybe something didn't get processed, maybe that's why we have one over or something to that effect. So.

BOWERS HEALEY: That's made to be. In supply, did you have inspections and and were those stressful times or not?

MCANDREW: No, I didn't think they were really that stressful. I mean, I was an inspector at one point in my career and I got to go to different sections and inspect them as well. So, really I looked at inspections as a way to help the section to become a better section and learning the proper technique or proper way of doing the procedures or to that effect. So then that way each individual learned on the right way, if they if something went awry or something to that 01:30:00effect, you know, so then that way they understood why we we had to ding 'em

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. But did you personally have stressful times during your twenty-four year career?

MCANDREW: Well, when I was in, I don't think there were that stressful. But when I actually retired, it felt like. A huge weight was lifted off my shoulder. So, I'm pretty sure I had quite a great deal of stress. It just didn't show it. You know, so until I got out and then that's when I realized the stress came off.

BOWERS HEALEY: Now, you mentioned you were chief of supply and while you were at Mildenhall, how is that a billet that is typically held by a master sergeant or not?

MCANDREW: No. Is not ability for that. Usually it's an officer that holds the chief of supply title.

BOWERS HEALEY: Why did you get that billet?

MCANDREW: But we were a small squadron and I was the highest ranking for the 01:31:00supply position, so I was able to hold the chief of supply.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. I was going to ask you, what was your most enjoyable phase? But I haven't asked you what you what your liberty was like in when you were in Mildenhall, England.

MCANDREW: Oh, well, now pretty much we can do anything once we get out of duty. And we. Me and my husband and our son. We went to the beach. I mean, not necessarily on the beach, but we had fun by the boardwalk and like we had.

BOWERS HEALEY: To get around England. Did you have your own vehicle or public transport?

MCANDREW: We we bought a car over there.


MCANDREW: We didn't take a vehicle over. We could have. The military would have actually set, shipped one over for us, but we didn't know what to expect over there. And we were seeing that the roads, we 01:32:00did our research, the roads were kind of narrow and stuff. So we had we had a truck. We were like, we ain't taking that over, because it's bigger. And since the roads were a little bit smaller, we were like, "It's probably not a good idea." So, when we got over there, we just figure we'll just get a basically a beater car and drive around while we were there. And so we did that and we drove like to different places like North. And so the United Kingdom was basically like an island, too. Mhm. And we get around, we got all over England, we got to see the sights, we got to go to the beaches, we got to see the sea lions or something like that from a distance.


MCANDREW: Oh we got to go to Buckingham Palace and see that as well. I got a lot of pictures so my photography just kept going. I just love taking photos. I 01:33:00mean, of family. I'm not hardly in any photos. I wonder why. But yeah, we got all over. We got to see some ruins over there and things of that nature. So it's quite interesting.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. I asked you about changes in the supply, and you mentioned a lot of computerization where things are at your fingertips. Any other changes, good or bad, that you experienced or observed in the Air Force during your twenty-four year career?

MCANDREW: Well. Well, the good I thought was going into the computer age, um, that did definitely put a good impact on things trying to go paperless. I know 01:34:00the military for a long time, they were saying that we're going to pay less for quite a while before we started going paperless, but I don't think they're going to go away totally paperless because there's times that you have to have paper for certain certain transactions. So I think that was one good move. Reorganization was another. I think that was a really good move as well. Some squadrons, you know, there were smaller so trying to reorganize and tie in different bases as well in those mega bases. Some places needed that. There's other places. Maybe not so much as far as bad stuff. Oh. I don't know. I can't really think of any real bad stuff, I.


BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. While you were in. Of course, this nation was at war. And Afghanistan and Iraq were orders to Iraq or Afghanistan, anything that you or your spouse ever came close to getting or not?

MCANDREW: Oh, well, actually, I didn't mention that, did I? Um, actually, I served as I went to Saudi Arabia. Okay. Um, I went there. And hat timeframe. 1997 is when I went to Saudi Arabia.

BOWERS HEALEY: And you were you there for a short period of time or a long period of time?

MCANDREW: I was there. Three and a half months.


MCANDREW: And that was actually during my second tour at McGuire that I got 01:36:00deployed to Saudi Arabia. So that's how I, I got my classification for the VFW is the Veterans of Foreign Wars. So that Saudi Arabia was a good thing. I worked in the document control section. When I was there. So in other words, I did a lot of paperwork. And my husband, he he actually got deployed to the United Emirates. Once there, he got deployed to Turkey. So when 911 happened, he had deployed to Turkey two days, I think it was two, two days prior to 911 happening. And at that time. We can. Neither one of us could get a hold of each 01:37:00other. So, we didn't know what the status was, if we were okay. So that was a tough time.

BOWERS HEALEY: And you were in McGuire at that time. Okay.

MCANDREW: Maguire At that time, um, yeah, that was a little training time at that point. You know, 911 was not good for the United States. And being that McGuire, being in the middle of all that was. A lot of anxious anxiety, if you will. The Pentagon getting hit, the Twin Towers getting hit. And I know at one point that they were saying something to the point that McGuire was even being targeted. But I don't know if that stands true or not. But we're right in the 01:38:00middle of all that that was happening in that one plane crash and in Pennsylvania as well. And. You know those families. I really have a lot of empathy for those folks. I knew a person that actually worked in the Trade Center. And I was wondering if she was there or not. You know, she was a real good friend and. Then not knowing if my husband was okay. He not knowing if I was okay. At the time the base shut down, we couldn't go on or off the base at the time for a little while. So Julian got to be very acquainted with our son for a little longer because I asked her to grab him from school and. And. And. 01:39:00Having them overnight because I had to stay on base for the night.


MCANDREW: Yeah. He got deployed at one other station, too. I'm just trying to remember where that was. He got deployed more than I did, obviously.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. Well, you've already talked about retirement. Before we start talking about what you did after you left the military retirement, is there anything else about your military service that you want to talk about that we haven't talked about or discussed so far?

MCANDREW: Well, the military service while I was at the U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center and Fort Dix, there was one significant thing that happened there. And other than me making master sergeant.



MCANDREW: So, I got coined from a four star general. I was given a briefing to the general and his staff at Lakehurst about our training program and how we would go about it, how we get the supplies out, that kind of thing, and deal with the vehicles as well. So I gave a briefing at that time and he came up, shook my hand. He coined me at that same time. So I got a four star general coin and his name was General McNam, McNab. And I really thanked him for that. Because that gave me a lot more pride in what I did and what what I did to the point up to her actual retirement.


MCANDREW: So, I had fun out there, you know. And that's actually one of the 01:41:00places that the Hindenburg went down, too, is Lakehurst. So we got to learn a little history as well as being, going out there for training.

BOWERS HEALEY: I'd forgotten that. Glad you mentioned that. Yeah.

MCANDREW: So that was pretty good. And also, I had at Mildenhall also, I was in the 2009 showcase, artist craft and photography. I got achievement first, first place. One of my photographs that I took and I also got a coin for that. And that is one of my prized possessions, I guess, if you will, because it was something that meant so much to me that taking that photo and.

BOWERS HEALEY: What kind of a photo was it? Can you describe it? Is it a landscape or people or what?


MCANDREW: It was more of a landscape.


MCANDREW: Because I love landscape, but I love taking pictures of people as well.

BOWERS HEALEY: Do you take color?

MCANDREW: I take color.


MCANDREW: And, this landscape, we had the mountains and some flowers in the foreground and things of that nature. So it was the nice landscape with nature in it and it brought cheer to everybody that seen it. So it brought their smiles even bigger. So I felt that very personal and it was very touching on how they presented that to me. It was.

BOWERS HEALEY: And is you took the time to wear your Air Force uniform today. Explain what uniform you're in and maybe touch upon some of the ribbons that you have.

MCANDREW: Okay. I'm in my Class A uniform, which is a full service dress. I got 01:43:00my actual jacket, slacks, and I don't have my skirt on 'cuz that's what a lot of females usually wear is a skirt. And then I got in a blue shirt underneath with ribbon rack, my ribbon rack on it. And basically all my ribbons was, dealin'. I got the basic training ribbon, my promotion, the PME ribbon, which is going to school and like I went to leadership school. That's what these ribbons are for, it's for leadership school for as I was a buck sergeant at the time. And then I also went back as a technical sergeant and for more leadership training. And then after that, I got an achievement medals. This is Meritorious Service Medal, that one I got twice.


MCANDREW: And then I got my achievement medals, which I got three of those. Then 01:44:00I got oh. For my good conduct, sorry, for my good contacts I got three of those. Good lord, I am like messing up here. Okay. So I got my Air Force Commendation medal, my bad, my Air Force Commendation Medals, this one, and then my achievement, Medals are these right here. And I have three Oakleaf clusters on my achievement medals as well. And then I got Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards because I was in some of the best squadrons. Okay. And then I got in, I got seven oak leaf clusters because some of the most of those were from McGuire. And then the Air Force Organizational Excellence Award, which that one came from the 01:45:00U.S. Air Force, the Warfare Center. And National Defense Service Medal. My Air Force good conduct medals. Then I got Global War on Terrorism, Service medal. And then I got my overseas. Long tours and short tours medals, or ribbons, actually, no medals. And I got a Longevity, my longevity service medal. And I have the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal as well. And that's one of the ones that holds higher for getting into the Veterans of Foreign Wars. So, that's one of the things.

BOWERS HEALEY: And what's the devices that's above your ribbons.

MCANDREW: Oh, that's my badge for supply.



MCANDREW: For being the seven skill level. Okay. Because it's got the wreath, the star. All right.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. Thanks for describing that and for getting into your uniform today. That's great. After you retired and you retired from Mildenhall, um, obviously you came back to Wisconsin. What made you and your family decide to come back to Wisconsin?

MCANDREW: Well, we , um, my mom was here for a long time, we were closer to his mom and dad because they're from Pennsylvania, and we were in New Jersey for quite a while. So we got to see them more than my mom. Uh. So we actually decided to come back here, not only that, because the jobs a little bit better 01:47:00in Wisconsin. So we figured where the jobs are, that's probably the better place to go. So we decided to come back here and get jobs here.

BOWERS HEALEY: And you told me that you initially located in Lancaster?

MCANDREW: Yes. Initially, before we retired, we were able to get some leave to come back, look for houses. And one of the houses was on the market is the one we're currently in in Potosi right now. But at that time, it was a little more than what our budget can actually afford. So we were looking around a little bit more. The day before we were ready to go back. There was a house that came on to the listings, came up for sale. And so we looked at that real quick and we got that house, and that house is located in Lancaster. So we lived there for since 01:48:002010 to 2018. So eleven years we were actually there.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. Wow. Okay. And you've mentioned a couple of times during this interview are qualification for the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Are you participating in the VFW or any other veterans organizations?

MCANDREW: Yes. Um, but originally before we got out of the military, Ken's dad, my father-in-law, paid for our membership for the American Legion. So we were part of the member, a member of the American Legion, both me and my husband for in Pennsylvania, the Susquehanna Post 86. And so we stayed that member in dedication to my father-in-law, Joe McAndrew. And, God rest his soul, he was the 01:49:00one that actually got us interested in it. So once we got out, we were out for a while before we even came in contact with my current commander of Post 5276 in Potosi VFW Post and. He asked us if we wanted to become lifetime members. So we're like, well, so we went ahead and we became lifetime members of the VFW Post 5276. Uh. Because of our status in the military were both deployed in. Support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Operation Iraqi Freedom. So I went to 01:50:00Saudi. He went to all those other places, and so we were able to join the VFW because of that. And now I am the commander of the third district. So I have sixteen posts under under me as being the commander for third district under the state of Wisconsin.

BOWERS HEALEY: Is that primarily in the southwest part or where? Yes.

MCANDREW: Okay. Southwest corner.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. When did you take over as commander of the third district?

MCANDREW: I became commander on June 11th of this year, 2022.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. And how long are do people usually hold the post?

MCANDREW: Well, they have it. We're we're two year now. Okay. At first it was one year, but they voted. So we be in the command position for two years.


BOWERS HEALEY: All right. Okay. You spent twenty-four years of your life in the Air Force. Is that something that you would recommend to other people? And what do you think about your twenty-four years in the Air Force?

MCANDREW: I would recommend it to other people, I think. I think everyone should be in the military at some point to experience it. My. Ah, well, our son is actually in the military right now.

BOWERS HEALEY: Oh, what branch?

MCANDREW: He's in the Air Force.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. Hard a decision for him? Right.

MCANDREW: He followed mon and dad's footsteps. I think he. He wants to be a lifer. Um.

BOWERS HEALEY: How long's it been in?

MCANDREW: He's been in since 2015, so.

BOWERS HEALEY: And what does he do in the Air Force?

MCANDREW: He is. God, what does he do. He's in personnel.



MCANDREW: The basically TMO, transportation office. Um. Okay. This. He deals with people's household goods and things of that nature.

BOWERS HEALEY: So he took a while before between high school and joining the Air Force.

MCANDREW: Oh, yeah. A little bit, yeah.

BOWERS HEALEY: Come back to Wisconsin with you.

MCANDREW: Yeah, he did. He lived with us for a while. All right. Then he met his wife. Well, he met his wife over in England, actually. That they became good friends and things of that nature. So. Yeah, and then then they got married in 2014.

BOWERS HEALEY: And do you keep in contact with some of the folks that you met in the Air Force?

MCANDREW: Yes, I do.

BOWERS HEALEY: A lot of them or a few.

MCANDREW: Or a few. A few of them.

BOWERS HEALEY: And how do you do that contact?


MCANDREW: Sometimes with phone and sometimes for a while there was Facebook.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. And what sorts of things other than being commander of VFW district, which I know is a big job. What other sorts of things do you do here in Potosi, Wisconsin?

MCANDREW: Well, we have plenty to do that our current house in Potosi we have, almost fifty acres of land. So we have a lot of yard work to do and we're currently remodeling our house, so there's plenty to do there. And we also try to get out in our community and help people and.

BOWERS HEALEY: You keep in contact with anybody that you knew, you know, twenty-four years ago or not? Oh, are they mainly moved on?


MCANDREW: I think a lot of them just moved on. I think I met I still can stay in contact with, like, Mr. Wilson.

BOWERS HEALEY: Oh, you will.

MCANDREW: Oh, and Rosie. Every now and then, we'll touch with bases with each other, because they're still in Texas. We're up here. So we.

BOWERS HEALEY: I should ask you to let the viewers know how largest photography.

MCANDREW: Oh, photos is like 711 people. Okay. Well, I have changes here and there, but obviously it's somewhere in that ballpark.

BOWERS HEALEY: So how did you learn about the oral history program done by the Wisconsin Veterans Museum and what motivated you to do this?

MCANDREW: We learned about it when I went to the state convention for the Veterans of Foreign Wars. We went there. At that point is when I was getting 01:55:00installed for becoming District commander, too, the same week in any way. But our state commander, Michelle Rathke, she she says, well, let's go, you know. We all a few of us got into her truck and we drove to the Milwaukee Oral History area , you know, where they're doing oral history. Oh, okay. For for that. They were doing interviews, I guess mock interviews for that at that time and doing a photo shoot in Milwaukee. So we went over there and actually did a little bit of oral interview and got a photo shoot. It was fun.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. Who did that oral photoshoot and oral history? You know.


BOWERS HEALEY: If you don't, that's fine.


MCANDREW: Your main guy.

BOWERS HEALEY: Luke Sprague? Okay.

MCANDREW: Luke Sprague is one of the main people there. The photographer was really awesome. I can't remember his name now. Um, but we had fun with the photo shoot, and it was something that actually gave us a little bit more fun time for that duration that we were at the state convention, you know, somethin' out of the realm of what we were doing. So I thought we, us girls had a really good time.

BOWERS HEALEY: How much do you hear from your son and his maybe his spouse in the Air Force? Um, so email, Facebook, phones?

MCANDREW: We do Facetime and okay, we call and we text. We do all, you know, like that. We actually go out and visit, too, with my husband. I've been out 01:57:00there a few times visiting and we have two grandkids too, so one seven, one four. And so we got to visit, you know, for grandparents, now, so, yup.

BOWERS HEALEY: Oh, yeah. Okay. Well, before we wrap this up, I do want to ask you, is there anything. I know you brought some notes and we talked before. Is there anything that you would like to cover that we haven't covered?

MCANDREW: Oh. Well. My husband and I have been married for thirty-one years now. I know. I know. One of the things we sure couldn't get married, by a priest at the time, and he thought we didn't know each other long enough or don't even know each other.


BOWERS HEALEY: You said you did or did not get married by a priest.

MCANDREW: We didn't get married by a priest.

BOWERS HEALEY: You didn't, because you got married in Vegas.

MCANDREW: Justice of the peace, yeah. Because of that one priest that said that we didn't even know each other, so.

BOWERS HEALEY: Oh, so he wouldn't marry you. Oh, I see. And I got it.

MCANDREW: So now I can say, "Hey, we're still married." Yeah. So, yeah, we had. We had our ups and downs, like any marriage, but. We have a lot of fun too, and we actually get stationed together. So we got to enjoy our times in the military and got to say high five and give high fives as he's going out and coming in. Or so I'm going in and I'm going out to that point. I think our son learned from us as far as how the military works. And I think that's the reason why some of the reason why that he went in. He'd seen that we had success, so, he wanted to 01:59:00actually join that success and serve for our Navy, our country as well, and stand for freedom. In. Dealing with the flag of the United States and actually saying that that's what our flag that's what we're doing for our flag of our United States is, we're fighting for that freedom. We're fighting for everybody. day of freedom and everybody's day of freedom of speech, freedom of press. We just want to make sure that everybody knows that we are there to serve, and I'm still continuing to serve. I love, I really loved doing what I did. I kind of miss what I did. And that's the reason why I went into the VFW, so I can 02:00:00continue to serve and help those veterans or those soon to be veterans that are in the military now. Help them, guide them into a good transition and also help those veterans that need help in our community, or around our community since I'm district now. So yeah. I also had fun in the military, others than the military, on the side dealing with my paintings, artwork, my photography. I love doing that, I still do that. I am a designer photographer right now. And, um, I just have the passion. Just like I had the passion in the military. I did 02:01:00everything to the best of my ability. And sometimes I went above and beyond that expertise and helped others to get to that point.

BOWERS HEALEY: Okay. Well, that's a good note to end on. And I do want to thank you for, on behalf of the Veterans Museum for doing this oral history. Um, it's a good contribution to the oral history program, which people will be able to look at for decades. And, and also thank you for the service that you did and continue to do for the country.

MCANDREW: Thank you. I'm honored.

BOWERS HEALEY: With that. That concludes this interview. Thank you.

[Interview ends]