How it all started...


My name is Gail Edward Anderson.
I am 59 years old, a Sergeant First Class in the United States Army Reserve, and I'm currently living in Lillian, Alabama
a small town, 10 miles west of Pensacola, Fla.

Prior to my enlistment, I worked for 14 years as a disc jockey for several commercial radio stations across the country. I’ve worked in various markets and have worked most all types of formats….including Gospel, Beautiful Music/Easy Listening, Country, Adult Contemporary, News/Talk, and Rock. During those fourteen years I held positions as an air personality, copywriter, Promotions Director, Music Director, Program Director, and Sales Executive.

Even with all that fun and experience, I woke up one morning feeling that something was missing in my life. Something that all the men in my family had done before me. Something that I’ve wanted to try since I was a young boy..……a tour of duty in the military!

I told myself: "You’re 32 years old, haven’t done much with your life, and you’re sure as hell not getting any younger, so if you’re gonna do it, better do it while they’ll still take you" ( I wasn’t even sure whether or not I had already exceeded the age limit for uniformed service). So the next day, I went to the recruiter’s office with plans on enlisting in the Air Force. A High School buddy tried to get me to enlist with him after graduation (1974), but I said "no thanks". In retrospect, I wish I had listened to him because I would be drawing my pension now instead of having to wait another few years!

I knew what I wanted to do in the service…I wanted to go to school at DINFOS and be a broadcaster for Armed Forces Radio (just like Robin Willliams a.k.a. Adrian Cronauer in "Good Morning Vietnam").

After listening to the Air Force recruiters’ spiel for about an hour, he decided that there were "no seats available in that school, at this time" but that he could enlist me in a "General Technical" field and I could work in that capacity until "a seat at the school becomes available". Again, I said "no thanks" to the Air Force, left his office, and walked two doors down to the Army recruiter’s office. I talked for about 20 minutes with SGT Jimmy Payne who told me, straight-up, "I’ve never put anyone in this MOS before and I’m not sure I know where to start, but I’ll do my best to get you in this field if that’s what you want."

I’ve NEVER regretted that day and I’ve never regretted my decision to GO ARMY!

Within 4 months of meeting SGT Payne I stepped off a bus at 2:30a.m. one cold, January morning in Fort Knox, Kentucky and although I had six Drill Sergeants shouting at me in a whole new language, I knew I was on my way to becoming a stronger man, an Army broadcaster, and a United States soldier!

After thirteen grueling weeks of boot camp I left for another twelve weeks of Advanced Individual Training (AIT) at DINFOS, the army's School of Broadcasting, located at Ft. Benjamin Harrison in Indianapolis. DINFOS has since moved to Ft. Meade in Maryland.

Upon completion of AIT, I received orders sending me to my first duty station...the Public Affairs Office at Ft. Polk, Louisiana. During my three years there, I served as a narrator for Command briefings, Change of Command ceremonies, Audio/Video documentations and hosted the Sports segment of the weekly TV show "The Fort Polk Digest". I also served as the Non-Commissioned Officer In Charge(NCOIC) of the 11th PAD (Public Affairs Detachment), a deployable unit capable of being "on the ground" anywhere in the world within 18 hours of receiving orders to deploy. Some of my deployments include "Operation Cold Steel" a mobility exercise with the 5th Infantry Division; "Operation Ghost Dancer" an illegal drug irradication effort, in conjunction with the Oregon Bureau of Land Management; "Operation Fuertes Caminos" an Engineer Brigade exercise which focused on village and road restoration in Honduras; and "Operation Just Cause" which ousted Gen. Manuel Norriega from power in Panama.

After my tour of duty at Ft. Polk, I was assigned my first tour of duty overseas...the American Forces Network in Frankfurt, Germany.

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