My Second Detail
My Second Detail. Summer of 1960
By Johnny Minyard
I was only home a couple of months in the summer of 1960 when I received orders to go back to Florida for another 30 days. I’m trying to explain to my wife, “but honey, I have no choice, I have to go as it is part of the job”. “Sure,” she icily says. So off to Spokane I go merrily along. Somewhere between Oroville and Spokane , my detail was changed to Columbia , South Carolina .
Some of you had a hard time believing the statistics in “My First Detail”, wait until you read some of the following. I reported into an assigned Hotel and was met by a young Senior from Blaine , Washington . Over a cup of coffee with just a tab of sweetener, we decided what to do to accomplish the orders (to cover as many airports as possible, develop contacts, and try to prevent any airplanes leaving to drop pamphlets or other items on Cuban soil. After studying the map, we determined the northern route was about 245 miles and the southern route about the same. Both routes would cover most of the airports within our reach.
The Senior decided he would take the morning shift and cover the northern section. He would then turn the 1959 Ford Patrol Vehicle over to me and I would drive the other section. This meant we had the Ford serviced every 4 days. Maybe some of you remember those Ford Sedans but they were terrible on tires. We had to buy a new set every 3 weeks.
It was actually a pretty easy detail. There was never any time for personal pleasure but it was nice driving the routes. Some of the roads were straight as an arrow but had dips ever so often. One couldn’t see the dips as the roads were so straight, the center line looked like it continued on across the dips. One day I was driving along about 90 miles an hour when I approached a slower moving vehicle driving in the same direction as I was. I looked around the vehicle and no traffic was coming so I didn’t slow down. I pulled out to pass the vehicle and an oncoming car came right up out of the pavement and was so close I could not complete my passing maneuver. I hit my brakes and the wheels locked and the tires started sliding. I swear instead of slowing down, I seemed to go even faster. The hardest thing I ever did was to release the pressure on the brake pedal and push in down again. I kept pumping the brakes and saw I was going to hit the car in front of me and just about decided to hit the ditch when the oncoming vehicle passed me so I flipped the Ford onto the other lane and passed the vehicle. I slowed down for the rest of the day but it took so long to visit the airports, the next day I was driving 90 MPH again.
I was again extended for 10 days but this time it was for going to Charleston , South Carolina and find a suitable office for a Border Patrol Station. Carl Shults, an ex PI out of Oroville, Washington was selected to be the PAIC there. I don’t remember much about looking for an office. Carl had rented a house on the ocean shore and we visited him there and finalized the plans.
I was also detailed to Key West twice but that is another story.
John Minyard, BPAIC, RET