1951 to 1954: Aircraft Mechanic General to becoming a U.S. Air Force Inspector!

Keith about mid 1950's

Keith about mid 1950’s

The Korean War started on 25 June, 1950 and this meant three more years at the U.S. Naval Air Station for Keith. This halted the closure of the Naval Air Station at Sandpoint in 1950. Keith worked in the Overhaul and Assembly Department during this time as an Aircraft Mechanic General. The Korean War ended on 27 July, 1953 and the process to close the U.S. Naval Air Station began a new. This meant that Keith had to start looking for work.

In the last post I described his auto mechanic interests and his auto log which revealed to me the trips we had taken and when. He took us to California on a trip but he also did some job hunting while we were there. I was too little to understand and just thought it was all a big adventure.  I remember the Red Woods and that tree you can drive through. I do not know where we stopped at that interested him. Another time he drove us across Washington State and visited some air fields.

Lumberwagon Auto Log, by Keith.

Aug. 15, 1953 – pg. 41 Ale…..can’t read, Portland, Madreas, Oregon, Chimult, Diamond Lake, Crater Lake, Kalamath, Medford, Ore., Calif., Mt. Shasta, Red Bluff, CA, Alameda?, Park & San Jose, Hayward, CA, Hayward Motel $8, August 21. Hayward to Frisco, San Rafel, Lakeport, Uriah, Aug 26 Eureka, Arcata, CA, Trees of Mystery, Cresent City, OR, Oregon Cave Junction, Oregon Caves Aug. 27, Umpqua OR. Eugene, Toledo, WA, Rainier, WA Home Friday Aug _______. 

June 21, 1953 Lake Wenatchee St. Park, Lke Chelan, Entiat Gas, Spokane Greger fld – Fairchild, Greenacres Spokane Lake Rowan, Clarksfork.  (Was he looking for work?)

NOTE:  As far as I remember we did not visit any family in California which was unfortunate because a cousin Robert R. MacDonald a descendant of Duncan was living in Eugene and maybe northern California at the time of our trip.  Duncan was a brother to Mary McDonald Keith’s grandmother.  At present I know Robert’s daughter who is in her middle 90’s.  There were also Barclay cousins living in the San Francisco area.

During 1951 to 1953 he sent out letters seeking work.

August 1952 Job Hunt

August 1952 Job Hunt 85th Squadron Paine Field

There is a 4 page form letter send to him on November 8, 1952 titled:

Aircraft Inspector, Department of the Air Force, Western Air Procurement District, Boeing Airplane Company, Seattle, WA, GS 1872-8, BO-808, Quality Control Branch, Flight Area & Mod., Section. 1. Nature and Purpose of Work. 

This form letter goes into detail about the Job Duties 2.5 pages, Scope and Effect of Work, Supervision and Guidance Received, Mental Demands, and person work contacts. Notice the title of the job position – Aircraft Inspector. Things are getting very interesting.

On the 25th of November 1952 a letter arrived titled Headquarters of the 4704th Defense Wing, Central Civilian Personnel Office, McChord Air Force Base, WA.  Referring to this application to Paine Field. In the event you are interested in employment at this installation, it will be necessary that you file and receive eligible rating in order to be certified for employment.  They enclosed a form for Aircraft Mechanic, Ordnance to be sent to Board of U.S. Civil Service Examiners in Seattle: Forms 57, and 5001 ABC.

In 17, June of 1953 he received another form letter suggesting he update his application and return it to the Central Civilian Personnel Office, McChord Air Force Base, Washington.  He had 20 days to complete this task. This AFB is still in existence but it is now titled Lewis-McChord as of 2010.


On the 4th of August, 1953 he received a letter from Fairchild Air Force Base regretting to advise you that we currently have no vacancies for aircraft mechanic and do not anticipate any in the future. The Maintenance Depot was deactivated three months ago. This base was located 12 miles southwest of Spokane.

In 5 August, 1953 he received a form letter from the United States Air Force, Central Board of U.S. Civil Service Examiners, McChord Air Force Base, Washington titled Applicant Supply File Notice of Eligibility. On the form was  the location of Larson AFB, Washington.  This base was located five miles northwest of the central business district of Moses Lake, Grant Co., Washington.

Oh dear, just think I could have grown up there in the eastern part of the state. I am sort of partial to trees not desert. The Genealogy society did not survive in Grant County because I visited a museum there once and they had the remaining collection? Larsen closed in 1966 and became an airport.  Life would be so different.


Meanwhile the U.S. Naval Air Station was closing down.

In April of 1953 he had to fill out a Tool Box sheet, he writes in 1970 that it is a souvenir. He probably received another one closer to the end.

Tool Box Check list

Tool Box Check list

The U.S. Naval Air Station Closure:

The U.S. Naval Air Station issued a General Notice letter of Reduction in Force on 29 April of 1953. It stated that positions in your competitive level will be terminated at the close of business on 30 May 1953. Specific notice will be issued to you prior to the effective date of this action. The name of the station and the status is changed from Naval Air Station, Seattle to a Naval Air Reserve Station.  Keith writes at the top in 1970 that this was the first notice of closure.  Signed by Cecil B. Gill.

This following announcement was apparently attached to the above Notice.

April 2 1953, Reduction in Force

April 2 1953, Reduction in Force

Two form letters came on 1 October, 1953 from The Naval Air Station.  The first letter explained what applicants needed to do to find a new position.  The second form letter stated that Keith would be terminated on 27 November 1953.

The United States Civil Service Administration sent him a Notice of Rating with an Exact Title of Examination – Inspector, Aircraft, date of examination 1953. Your rating is GS-9 and GS-8…Eligible. This was signed October 27, 1953.

On November 25, 1953 he received an extension of his final date, instead of 27 November 1953. He would be terminated on 29 December 1953 because of the workload in your department.

Well it didn’t quite work out because on December 6, 1953 he received the Navy Department Notification of Personnel Action:

Nature of Action: Separation – Transfer (To: Dept. of the Air Force, San Bernardino Air Materiel Area), From Aircraft Mechanic, General U.S. Naval Air Station Seattle, to _____________. Competitive Status, Performance Satisfactory, Loyalty completed 2/4/18. All annual and sick leave to be transferred to the Department of the Air Force, San Bernardino Air Materiel Area, Los Angeles Civilian Personnel Branch, P.O. Box 3849 Terminal Annex, Los Angeles 54, CA. 

Another form followed from the Air Force

The Department of the Air Force, San Bernardino Air Materiel Area, Los Angeles Civilian Personnel Branch, Notice of Personnel Action, Date of Appointment: December 7, 1953:

From _____ To Metal Parts QC Inspector, Pos. No. BO-807, Quality Control Div. Plant II, Boeing Airplane Company, Seattle, WA, Headquarters: Oklahoma City Air Materiel Area, Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Field. Signed by Margaret M. Conklin, Personnel Assistant, LA Civilian Personnel Branch.

So on December 7, 1953 Keith B. MacDonald became an U.S. Air Force Inspector at Boeing in Plant II.  HE DID IT!

He survived the closure of the U.S. Naval Air Station and started to work for the Air Force at Boeing and would continue in this capacity till retirement, with a little change in title through the years. Plant II would be in his home base.  He would work all the shifts day, swing and night.  He did take his birthday off regularly and 3 weeks in August for our family camping trip.

The following March of 1954 he received a promotion – Indefinite. This changed his title from Metal Parts Quality Control Inspector to Aircraft Quality Control Inspector and he got a raise.

In June of 1954 he enrolled in a course at Edison Technical School called Production Control which involved 72 hours of instruction.

On November 21, 1954 he would receive his 20 year service certificate for faithful Federal Service from the Department of the Air Force and signed by J.F. Zoechler a Brigadier General, USAF. Commander, Western Contract Management Region.

Keith shaking hands with the man on the left, receiving his 30 year certificate

Keith shaking hands with the man on the left, receiving his 30 year certificate

30 years of Federal Service

30 years of Federal Service

The man I knew was always a U.S. Air Force Inspector at Boeing.  It has been interesting to see how it all evolved for him.  He was still with airplanes and that was what he loved and now he was back with the Air Force which he loved as well.

About BJ MacDonald

Interested in travel, really into genealogy and researching my family history, classic novels and movies, fantasy and science fiction, photography, history and more... Here is a tip. Make sure you are commenting on the blog you were visiting and the post you were interested in. My blogs are listed by hovering over my pictures and clicking. Clicking one of them will take you back to the correct blog. You can try me here: bjmcdonell@gmail.com
This entry was posted in Boeing Aircraft Company, California, Fort Lewis, Keith B. MacDonald, McChord Air Force Base, Naval Air Station at Sandpoint in Seattle, Paine Field, Washington State and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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