Photo of USTDC courtesy of Les Duffin

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Enlisted Aides and Drivers

The USTDC Chief of Staff -- USAF Brigadier General Burrows, in my day -- had an enlisted aide. By regulation, an aide's job was to help maintain the general's quarters, assist at receptions and other social events, and pretty much do whatever else the general needed to have done. I wouldn't call them butlers, exactly, but that's probably close to how many of them served.

I don't recall the name of General Burrow's aide, but I remember him as a tall, thin, bookish looking guy with horn rim glasses. He once told me that his main job was to drive the general's wife wherever she needed to go. To avoid any possible legal or diplomatic issues resulting from an accident, he explained, she was not to drive anywhere in Taiwan.

I don't remember if General Burrows ever drove himself anywhere, but I do know that he was assigned a ROC enlisted man as his driver. Throughout the day, whenever the general had an appointment away from the building, BMC Gagne (or whoever was standing watch) would be alerted by the flag office via the squawk box to tell the general's driver to bring the car alongside. The driver was a nice guy who was pretty fluent in English, which I'm sure was a prerequisite for the job.

Anyway, back in those days the number of enlisted aides that any general had was based on his number of stars -- an aide for each star. The Air Force changed that rule a few years later and the officer then had to be a major general (two stars) before he got one aide. I don't know what the rules are today but I suppose they're something similar.

I assume the admiral (Vice Admiral Beshany, in my day) also had enlisted aides but I don't remember much of anything about them. He also had a ROC driver.

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