My Story

EC-130 1595
Me, TSgt. Roger Phillips, in front of one of the squadron's best loved EC-130H aircraft, 1595.

My story goes all the way back to March of 1977 when I entered the U.S. Air Force. After basic training I was sent to the Defense Language Institute at the Presidio of Monterey, CA to study basic Arabic to become a 208X5A, Arabic Cryptologic Linguist. After completion of language training in Monterey and technical training at Goodfellow AFB, TX, I was assigned to the 6931st Electronic Security Squadron at Iraklion Air Station, Crete, Greece. I spent three years on "The Rock" before returning to Monterey to study Intermediate Arabic for eight months, then it was back to the "31st". Another three year tour and then I went back Stateside for an assignment at the National Security Agency (NSA), at Ft. George G. Meade, MD. Here I worked primarily as an analyst in the Iraqi Air/Air Defense department. While there I studied the Iraqi dialect of Arabic.

Then an opportunity presented itself. The Air Force opened up several new slots for German linguists, so I applied and was accepted to cross train. I was back to Monterey for a third time, this time to study German and Russian. When I finished more technical training again at Goodfellow, I was assigned to the 41st ECS at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, AZ. Not exactly Germany, but it was the only flying assignment available to me at that time and I felt it was very important to my career to get in some flying time. Only a short time at D-M and there came a chance for me to transfer to Wiesbaden AFB in Germany to be assigned to the "Berlin for Lunch Bunch", flying intelligence gathering missions on C-130's out of Rhein-Main AB. This was a dream assignment, one highly coveted by all German linguists. I couldn't believe my good fortune!

But just before the orders were finalized, history conspired against me.....

The Berlin wall came down and the communists were rousted out of East Germany. Their Russian clients soon left and Germany was reunited. All this meant that there weren't any more "bad" Germans out there; no one to listen to, to worry about. So I and dozens of other German linguists were out of a job. Since I had been an Arabic linguist and things were always hot in the Middle East, I was drug kicking and screaming back to being an Arabic linguist. It wasn't long before a certain nut case in Baghdad would make waves that would seal my fate.


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