Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Frank Houck, April 15, 2022

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries


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00:00:00 - Introduction

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Partial Transcript: Today I am honored to be with Frank Houck

Segment Synopsis: The interview opens with introductions and Houck gives a brief overlook as to what he is doing now in retirement.

Keywords: Mechanics

Subjects: United States. Air Force.; Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation; Vietnam War, 1961-1975; Veterans

GPS: American Leigon 602 located in Spring City, PA.
Map Coordinates: 40.17851989314909, -75.54610695514803
GPS: Veterans of Foreign War Chapter 106
Map Coordinates: 39.97349353042319, -75.59152878759348
00:04:35 - Early life

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Partial Transcript: Where were you born and what high school did you attend?

Segment Synopsis: Houck talks about his childhood and teenage years. he recalls what it was like being in high school as the war started and continued to heat up. He talks about how he could not wait to join up once he completed high school. Houck also talks about other members of his family that have served.

Keywords: Football; High schools; Family

Subjects: Delaware County (Pa.); Vietnam War, 1961-1975

GPS: Delaware County Memorial Hospital
Map Coordinates: 39.9546554, -75.283437
GPS: Ridley Township High School
Map Coordinates: 39.89131239759311, -75.33422484068127
00:11:35 - Joining the Air Force / Support for the War

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Partial Transcript: When you were in high school how did the people around you feel about the Vietnam war?

Segment Synopsis: Houck recalls the support felt for the war in his area. He discusses how people felt it was their duty to serve. He talks about how he wanted to serve and there was no pressure on him to do so. He also brings into focus the support he got from his family when he, as a seventeen year old, joined the United States Air Force.

Keywords: Enlistment; Anti-war

Subjects: Vietnam War, 1961-1975; United States. Air Force.

00:17:04 - Bootcamp / Basic Training

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Partial Transcript: Where were you stationed for basic training?

Segment Synopsis: Houck talks about being shipped to Texas for bootcamp and his unique experience whilst there. He talks about the ins and outs of spending his birthday and many other holidays away while the military built him to become the man they wanted him to be. He also talks about what it was like becoming a soldier, how it tore down his mind and built up his body.

Keywords: Selective Service; Bootcamps

Subjects: Drafts; Texas; United States. Air Force; Vietnam War, 1961-1975; Basic training

00:24:55 - Career / Becoming a heavy machinery mechanic

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Partial Transcript: Moving along to your ten year career as the heavy equipment mechanic, when and why did you chose to go into this profession?

Segment Synopsis: Houck discusses his career and the many stops he has had along the way as a member of the Air Force. Houck discusses what his job entailed and he also talks about his time working internationally in Germany and Thailand. Houck also talks about how most of his job required him to be overseas because that's where the work was.

Keywords: Heavy Equipment Mechanics; M.O.S (Military Occupational Speciality); A.F.S.C (Air Force Speciality Code)

Subjects: Thailand; United States. Air Force.; Vietnam War, 1961-1975; Germany

GPS: Fort Belvoir, Virginia
Map Coordinates: 38.717337956152456, -77.15406898666588
GPS: McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey
Map Coordinates: 40.040418438842835, -74.58351162515693
00:39:56 - Time abroad

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Partial Transcript: When you were overseas in both Germany and Thailand what are some of the things that you would do for entertainment?

Segment Synopsis: Houck discusses entertainment in Germany while the Vietnam War was going on as not all soldiers going overseas were going to the war zone. Houck discusses having his wife with him in Germany and his isolated tour in Thailand. He breaks down his responsibilities while overseas. He quickly touches on when he was in an active combat zone in Granada in 1983.

Keywords: Active combat zones; Granada; Music; Entertainment

Subjects: Thailand; Vietnam War, 1961-1975; Germany

00:51:06 - Perception of soldiers

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Partial Transcript: How did the civilians at home perceive you?

Segment Synopsis: Houck discusses the difficulties in knowing what was going on in America while overseas. He transitions into talking about the media, both their involvement and how the military was perceived by them. He also talks about Agent Orange and the affect it had on soldiers then and how it is still affecting vets.

Keywords: Civilians; News; Media

Subjects: Agent Orange; United States; Vietnam War, 1961-1975; Tet Offensive, 1968

01:06:01 - Leaving Thailand and coming back to the United States

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Partial Transcript: You were in Thailand for eight months, so you got out of Thailand in September of seventy-four?

Segment Synopsis: Houck talks about leaving Thailand in late 1974 and his return to the States. He stops in He moved to Sacramento before having to move once again and landing in Mississippi. He also talks about how his job started to change until he was ordered to go up to Alaska. Changes in his personal life led to a career change as well. Frank talks about how he advanced quickly through the ranks of being an air crewman.

Keywords: Air crewmen; Air crewman

Subjects: Alaska; Mississippi; Sacramento (Calif.); United States. Air Force.; Thailand

01:17:52 - Retirement and life after the Air Force

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Partial Transcript: Why did you choose to retire?

Segment Synopsis: Houck talks about his retirement and what his reasons were for retiring after twenty years in the Air Force. He also talks about some health troubles that he faced as he neared the end of his career. He talks about the events that led up to the end after having a heart attack and knowing that his days in the service were ending. Houck then talks about the opportunities he had back home so he packed up in Arizona and headed home. He also tells in detail the many different jobs he had from being a mechanic for a landscaping company to becoming a loadmaster for UPS.

Keywords: C-17; Flight Status; Heart attacks; Landscaping; Retirement; UPS; C-141

Subjects: Arizona; United States. Air Force.

01:39:34 - Traveling outside of the Air Force

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Partial Transcript: How much traveling have you done in retirement in the last six or seven years?

Segment Synopsis: Houck talks about his traveling post retirement from the Air Force but not before listing all the places he has been before. He says he was stationed in all four corners of the United States. He then gives insight to how traveling has been after retirement.

Keywords: Retirement.; Travel; Europe

Subjects: United States. Air Force.

01:43:18 - Post-retirement life / Conclusion

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Partial Transcript: Are you comfortable and satisfied on living today so close to where you grew up?

Segment Synopsis: Frank talks about his life now with grand kids and great grandkids. He mentions how he spends his time now in retirement as well as how he is happy with his choice of where he is living. He talks about the things he found interesting in his life so far, focusing on things he encountered in the United States Air Force. He then makes some closing comments and the interview ends.

Subjects: United States. Air Force.