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Learning to Be Prepared

This piece was submitted by Howard Richardson:

Back in 1960 when I came home from a 13-month tour of duty with the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers in Korea, I had a 30 day leave, and in that time I bought a 1957 Ford so I would have a way to get to Fort Belvoir, Virginia.

I had never had any trouble with the car, but I decided that the best thing I could do was to have some spare parts and be prepared for any trouble that I may later encounter.

I could not buy all the parts I wanted so I decided to buy some each time I got paid.

I first bought a used carburetor and rebuilt it, and I also got a distributor and put a set of points and condenser in it.

I put the carburetor on the engine and got it adjusted so if I needed it all I would have to do was change it. Later, I got a starter and starter relay and a generator (what is now an alternator), then a set of spark plugs and plug wires. After that, I got a fuel pump and a water pump. Later, I got a master cylinder and four wheel cylinders, after that a brake drum for the front and rear wheels, also 2 oil filters and a case of engine oil. Finally, I got a battery and a ground and hot cable.


I had a tool box, and an ignition timing light, a dwell meter and a RPM meter 2 flash lights with batteries, 2 fan belts an ignition coil, a gallon of antifreeze.

I did this because most of the time when I was driving from Fort Belvoir to Rockingham, NC was at night and I had to be able to take care of any trouble I had because I could not be late getting back to post. I was lucky I did not have any trouble on the road but if I did I was prepared for it.

One night I went to a movie on post when it was over I started to leave and the starter would not work. I had to replace it, but I had one and was prepared to change it out.

This is the way I learned to be prepared for any trouble.

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