Story Musgrave

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A Passionate Life.... By Anne Lenehan /Page 2

"The home life and the school were fantastically narrow. And so I was looking to go out there and go do something - I felt the urge to expand my horizons and to see the other worlds. So I think, number one, that is why I joined the Marines - it was an adventure, it was a journey and it was a way out."

Story's love affair with the airplane world really began with his role as aircraft mechanic and technician in the Marines. In his first taste of real independence, he was posted aboard the USS WASP and left on a tour which would take him to Japan, Korea and Hawaii during 1954-55. The discipline of the military services was also important in laying a foundation for future work.

Story loved the roar of the airplane engines; he loved the mechanics which were an extension of his work with farm machinery. Although not trained as a military pilot at this point, Story was learning as much as he could about the flying world. Having spent the early part of his life on a farm, having to use and fix a variety of farm machinery, Story was very much at home with the mechanics of this occupation and he loved the responsibility of preflighting the airplane.

“In the Marine Corps, you ran the engine up before you gave it to the pilot... I would run it full bore...And, of course, I'd back it off and there's no mufflers. You've got 33 hundred horse power; it just makes an outrageous noise. The pilots are drinking their coffee, waiting to fly and they see this young kid out there. ... so they said, we have to fly this kid or he's going to wreck our airplanes!"

He wrote of his experiences in a series of poignant letters to his mother and brothers, documenting the joys and challenges of his new-found career. He expressed his excitement about his various aircraft adventures and the fascinating nature of the new cultures he experienced.

At the same time, Story was beginning to form ideas about his future. Not having achieved his High School Diploma, he heard through a friend about the opportunities at Syracuse University, NY for servicemen. He applied and was accepted after almost two years in the Marines, and began what was to become a long and fruitful journey through the world of formal education.

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