WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Right off the farm, one Kansas teenager found a job at a foundry.
Timothy Britt said it was during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and they were making huge rollers that were being used on missile silos.
That’s what Britt said motivated him to sign up for the Air Force.
On most days you’ll find Britt working at Four Seasons Dry Cleaners.
It’s a much different job than the one he enlisted to do more than sixty years ago.
“When I got into basic training, I realized this is a whole different type of world that I was in,” Air Force Veteran Timothy Britt said.
Britt said there was quite the fleet of B-52’s and many other aircraft for the corrosion control guys.
“I had never seen a spray gun, I mean, I milk cows and I threw bails of hay, and that is all I did,” Britt said.
He did learn quickly the importance of a respirator.
“Then I noticed, that my eyelids were sticking together and I was having trouble breathing and my skin felt funny, so I came out of there and they were all out there laughing at me,” Britt said.”
He said despite the jokes, the Airman took protecting the aircraft and crews very seriously.
“To protect them, in case we did have to go and launch missiles and drop bombs with nuclear stuff in it, and so the airman would be protected, up until they did their mission,” Britt said.
Life has slowed down some for Britt, but he remains on a mission.
“It didn’t look right, I felt uneasy about it,” Britt said.
One day while making his rounds, Britt even found a suicide note in the pocket of a JROTC uniform.
“I had tears in my eyes, because I didn’t do it to get one of these things,” Britt said.
Britt was talking about the award he received for coming forward, but says that’s not the real reward.
“They got him some counseling and he is doing fine,” Britt said. “I think he is already graduated, and most of the kids who go through this ROTC program end up in the Army, with a career.”
He said when the students come in the Dry Cleaners he is always encouraging them to get jobs in the military, that they can someday use in the civilian world.
“It makes me feel like I am part of the program, when really all I am doing is doing my job,” Britt said.
He said he is so encouraged by the discipline and drive of some of the students.
“You see something in a person, that you know they have a chance, to go out into the world and that’s what our country needs,” Britt said.
Britt’s father was a sailor, before signing up for the Air Force.
He was born during his time in the Air Force, so he is actually an Air Force baby and veteran.
He said he remembers going on to base as a child and hearing the roar of aircraft engines.