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Roseville veteran spent 20 years in military, served during World War II and Korean War

By: Sydney Maynard, Press Tribune intern
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Veterans Day events

What: Assemblywoman Beth Gaines Salute to Veterans Pancake Breakfast

When: 8:30-10 a.m. Monday

Where: Roseville Veterans Memorial Hall, 110 Park Drive in Roseville

Info: www.RosevilleVFW.com

 

What: Veterans’ Day celebration

When: 11 a.m. Monday

Where: Roseville Veterans Memorial Hall, 110 Park Drive in Roseville

Info: (916) 783-7267 or www.RosevilleVFW.com

 

What: Veterans’ Day ceremony

When: 2-3 p.m. Monday

Where: World War II monument, 114 Vernon St. in Roseville

Cost: Free

Info: www.rosevillehistorical.org

Every year, Veterans Day comes around as a reminder to celebrate and be thankful for the veterans who have fought and are currently fighting for the United States.

Roseville resident Richard Black, 88, is one such veteran.

Black had only completed two years of high school when he joined the Army at age 18 (he later got his GED).

It was World War II and Black was an ammunition truck driver. He spent four years in the Army and applied for pilot training. When the war ended he returned to civilian life, but finding the available jobs boring, he went back to the military.

Black joined the Air Force and advanced from aircraft commander to instructor pilot to flight examiner to test pilot. It took him five years from the time he began flying to become a test pilot.

After retiring from 16 years in the Air Force, Black began freelancing for television stations and became a camera man for NBC News. During his time working for them, he traveled with Robert Kennedy, covered Gov. Jerry Brown during his first stint in that office, the Watts Riots in 1975 and the Roseville bomb train explosion in 1973. He eventually opened his own production company, Video Visuals, which is no longer in business.

He also became a senior appraiser for the American Society of Appraisers and is now retired.

1. When did you know that you wanted to join the Army?

Around the beginning of WWII, (but) I wasn’t quite old enough yet.

2. What made you want to go into the Air Force?

When I was 7 years old, my mother took me out for a plane ride. I was scared to death until I looked down as the airplane took off. The minute that airplane left the ground my future was sealed. I loved flying. I still do.

3. How did you feel being away from home for long periods of time?

(I had) mixed emotions. I loved flying, I really did, but I did miss my wife and children. It was probably about a 50/50 trade off. I was gone about half the time. I was always home when all my children were born. It wasn’t like I was a stranger to them.

4. You opened your own production company?

After I left NBC. NBC wanted to transfer me to Los Angeles (because) they were going to close their bureau here. I didn’t want to move to L.A. so I went out (and) started freelancing for a while. Then finally I discovered that film was on its way out and if I wanted to stay in the business, I better buy a video camera. There were probably 10 little companies in Sacramento trying to make a living out of it. There were few on the high end of things because the camera cost $43,000. I bit the bullet and bought it. I had to hock my house to afford it. (It was the) best move I ever made.

5. What do you feel has been your biggest accomplishment?

Probably becoming an aircraft commander. I was awful proud when those wings were handed to me.