The invitation to train as a flight engineer came after I had been an airplane mechanic for two years. In the spring of 1952, a few of the mechanics were given qualification tests to take on-the-job (OJT) training as B-29 flight engineers. I had taken algebra in high school and qualified. About 15 to 20 of us were sent to March AFB in Riverside, CA for two months to review B29 mechanical, fuel and electrical systems.
March field was very hot. I spent every spare moment in the swimming pool to keep cool. At night I would take a cold shower and go directly to bed. The sweat would be flowing before I could get to the bed. A couple of buddies and I would go in my '42 Buick over to Santa Anna on the weekends. One of the guys knew some girls there, so we ended up with dates. At night we had to find a place to sleep, so we drove into an orchard of orange trees and slept in the car. The nights were so warm we didn't need blankets. The girls would ask "Where did you stay last night?", and we would reply "Down the road at the Orange Grove Motel."
We visited Knot's Berry Farm because it was a tourist attraction. There were square dances there in the open air under a large Live Oak tree. I met a couple girls there that were square dancers, so had dates for some of the trips to Santa Anna.
After the brief training at March Field, we returned to Travis AFB and spent six weeks learning how to manage fuel consumption on the B-29. The Flight Engineer training resumed after the Christmas break.