Who is the Most Unique Person You Have Worked For?

Here is an interesting conversation that’s going on on Facebook.  I thought I’d post it here so those of us who are not followers of the social media site would have an opportunity to chime in on the conversation if interested.

Jeffery Glenn Scism
6:19pm Oct 27
The most unique person I have worked for was Eugene Bolka, AKA Obscene Gene. Worked with him at PSD, and for him at Osan. His hobby was collecting dirty jokes.

Josh Davis
6:19pm Oct 27
Also, SMSgt Kent. Man loves 2903. Never found a wrinkle on his uniform. And was very eager to mentor young airmen.

Robert Foley
6:39pm Oct 27
I had dozens of opportunities to talk with Chief Binnicker; what an amazing guy!  As an Airman, I remember going to the club on Friday afternoons. We (ALS) would sit around the table and listen to the old-timers tell stories and dish out advice. I missed that after the military decided drinking was a hanging offense…learned a lot during those talks. I sat down, kept my mouth shut, and listened.  That’s what I did with Chief Binnicker; we would sit down for lunch, dinner (whatever) and listen… I still miss him!

Jeffery Glenn Scism
5:33pm Oct 29
I had 16 years in Life Support, Great places to work, and really great leaders in the shops. Clyde T. Ross, Ed Mackenzie, James Scott, Byron Smith Youngblood and Yeager, and as NCOIC, Waymond McGee, Eugene Bolka, and Udo C. J. Fischer.

Erik Burney
9:12am Nov 9
John Nussbaum was my first superintendent followed by Larry Crawford and George ‘Andy’ Anderson. All were outstanding Life Supporters and excellent teachers. Nussbaum was crusty and smart as hell. Crawford was quiet, serious, but kind and Andy, well, he was Andy!!

The 479th TTW supported 4 AT-38 squadrons. In any given month we had 150 IPs and 200 students with each squadron flying around 40 lines a day.  This meant we had a shitload of post-flights to do. We had a dedicated post-flight subsection.  I’d been there about two weeks and was assigned to the early post flight shift which meant I had to open the shop and make the coffee.  My trainer, Skip Young told me “Sergeant Nussbaum gets here around 6 and goes straight to the coffee pot. You open at 5, flick on the lights and make the coffee. If it ain’t ready expect to get your ass chewed. Got it?”  Got it, I said

So I open up, flick on the lights and make the coffee. But I didn’t drink coffee and I didn’t know how to make coffee and the coffee pot was the one place in the whole shop that didn’t have an OI or some sort of instructions.
It was one of those old silver 55 cup percolators with the glass tube.  The aluminum coffee tray had graduated markings for how much coffee to put in so ignorant me filled it to the line that said 55.  An hour later John Nussbaum crosses the threshold.

Mornin’ Sar’n Nussbaum says I
I get a gravelly Mor’n back as he beelined for the coffee.  A few seconds later the stream of profanity coming from the breakroom was epic in volume and originality.  Airman Burney get your ass in here!!  So I did. Terrified.
He calmed down and asked, “Son, what the hell did you do?”
I explained my dilemma of not having any guidance and he said ok and showed me the scoop (half a styrofoam cup) and said “5 of these. That’s it”
From that day on we had a coffee OI, and I got to brief all the new airmen on how to make the coffee.

Steve Boyd
9:36am Nov 9
As for characters I would say Terri Spalding out of Langley Air Force Base my first assignment.

Robert Foley
10:46am Oct 27
As an old life Support troop I have worked with some incredible leaders and mentors…and some real characters!
My first Superintendent was MSgt Edmund Herbst; hung the phone up on Colonels, laughed like Herman Munster, always sounded like he was out of breath when he talked, and his farts would melt through a charcoal impregnated ACDE! But he was a great guy that cared about the people under him…
Anyone remember him?

Who was your biggest character?




  1. steven Weber

    Eugene “The Jeep” Bolka. Worked for him at Kusan in 1980. He so reminded me of that dog (jeep. jeep) on Popeye.

    • Michael A. Bryant

      I was stationed at Kansas from 81-82 and knew “Obscene” Gene in the 8th TFS. He was a character for sure.

  2. Eric Brown

    This may go back awhile, but I remember working for SMSgt William Leighton in Life Support at the 4550th Sea Survival School (TAC) at Homestead AFB Florida. A true patriot and professional.

  3. Larry Garcia

    I worked with most of these guys. They were all great to work with including Victor Sanchez. Thanks to them I ended my career in charge of the life Support Shop and the 1st Sargeant for the 310th at luke A.F.B.

  4. Alfred Reeves

    I had the opportunity to work for James Rooney in 1972 at McGuire AFB He was cool calm and smart treated everyone equality and trained us to be the best in life support

  5. Bill Neason

    I would place AL LOVING at the top of the list. He was not only a great friend, but instilled pride in everything he did. He paved the way for me later in my career for the opportunity to be a Life Support Instructor at Chanute. No only the basic course. But the Supervisor Course and ACES II travel team. Continue to stay in touch with him for 47 years. We worked hard and played hard…the best!

  6. Steven Weber

    My vote was Eugene “the Jeep” Bolka. 80th TFS, Kunsan Korea in 1980. Second choice was SMSGT Johnnie Damron, Edwards AFB, CA from 1981 – 1984. RIP.

  7. Cliff

    I would have to say that the most unique people I ever worked for were John Patti, Chris Bush, and Marilan Coley all while stationed at Langley. Each one had their own leadership styles, and they gave us “youngsters” the room we needed to evolve, all while flying cover for us, and had our “six”. But the one thing that struck me the most, was how they were able to stay so damn cool when the proverbial crap hit the fan. Only ONCE, did I ever see any of them loose it, and that was after the fact. Guess that’s because none of them was Irish. Lord knows my Irish temper got the best of me more than once. The one person that I really do miss the most and think of often is Chris Bush. I remember when Chris was the NCOIC of the 94th, and I was the new kid on the block, as NCOIC of the 27th. Chris as a MSgt, me a SSgt, and only six months out of MAC/McGuire, went through an IG inspection, and actually had the exact same discrepancies. Only three, and all paperwork too. He got an outstanding, while I got an excellent. I asked Chris what the BLANK was up with that, and he told me, that’s because you’re the new kid on the block. Room for improvement! And he was right. JP, you dog, (LOL), you were the best damn politician I’ve ever known. You run for President; you have my vote. And Marilan Coley, just never could, or would show his emotion or displeasure in public/work settings. As hard as I tried, I came close, but never mastered those UNIQUE traits. That damn Irish blood, I guess.

    • John Patti

      Thank you for your kind words, it was an outstanding assignment working with a great bunch of airmen! Cliff me the politician, well I learned well from my mentors one especially CMSgt Shields, but I had so many great mentors my friend. I enjoyed your crazy comments that would get me laughing especially when going through an IG inspection.
      Thank you and God Bless you and your family!


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