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Gregory Pierson String of Pearls: The Survival Journal of the CSF Alphonse Those historic events were quickly

followed by the launches of Gus Grissom, Scott Carpenter, Alan Shepard and the Iconic John Glenn the first American to orbit the Earth. This was heady stuff for a child who hated the academic process with a passion. My inability to quickly learn facts other students easily absorbed was not recognized during my youth, but was disclosed decades later as an adult in my forties. Early Influences Nothing came easy to me. Mathematics especially. So, with that being said I found escape from that deficiency in reading all manner of Science Fiction, nature and news magazines. I was very much intent on reading about events that would occur in the future. I read works by Bradbury and Asimov. I put myself in the places their words had began to play the role of the protagonists in my mind. Adventures in space were occurring in real time. Man had landed on the moon in 1969. I stayed up watching the drama that was Apollo 13 as it limped home after its O2 tank exploded half way to the moon in 1970. Transition More Issue with Adjusting to Rapid Changes It was upon graduating from high school in 1971 that I felt the strong urge to leave the region of my birth. I enlisted into the USAF for Basic Training at Lackland AFB, Texas. It was a whole new world for me. It was hard. I had to learn new ways of doing things quickly. I persevered. It was my goal to retire from military service. I was first assigned to duty at Altus AFB, in Oklahoma in 1971. I was now in the branch of the service that had a key role in the Sci-Fi works I had read. From there I was assigned to the Cold War era BMEWS Site

in Alaska known as Clear AFS six months later. It was there that I ran afoul of the military construct called the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). My impulsive nature made adjusting to orders difficult but I persevered. Reading works of futuristic authors proved to be the outlet I needed to unwind in that remote environment. Soon, my one year tour in Alaska ended. I was re-assigned to McChord AFB in Washington State. Try as I might I continued to run afoul of the UCMJ. I felt it was harassment, and requested a change in career field. I was assigned to the 62nd Headquarters Squadrons Race Relations Education and Training section as a Clerk Typist. The career field was closed to retention, so disappointed I left the USAF and returned to my home town as an E-4 Sergeant. However, I became so very anxious to leave it, enlisting into the USN as an E-3 Non-rated Fireman in the Engineering Rate. After attending Other Service Indoctrination at Great Lakes, Illinois in 1976 I was assigned to the San Diego, California area to my first command, a submarine tender the USS Sperry. I had to learn new things and terminologies again. It was hard, but I persevered. The Engineering rating was distasteful, so I gave in to another bout of impulsivity and changed ratings to Non-rated Seaman and was assigned to the commands Personnel Office. I improved my typing skills and made a lot of new friends. I was sent to YN A School at Meridian, Mississippi in 1977. Upon completion I was returned to the Sperry and found myself assigned to the Captains Office for duty. Unlike the experience I had in the USAF I remained close to the Engineers I had met when I first came onboard. I again succumbed to an impulse changing rates from E-4 Yeoman to the Engineering rate for the re-enlistment bonus. I was authorized a school: Cryogenic (O2N2) Plant Operator School in Norfolk, Virginia. It was hard. I had no knowledge of Physics, math or pressure variable calculation skills but I persevered. It was with the mentorship of the senior petty

officers and Marine operators that I successfully completed that intense course graduating last in my class, but I was now a qualified High Pressure and Low Pressure Plant operator. This was the career that made the propellants for all those space adventures staged in the future. I now felt that my career in the Navy was assured. A Decision Is Made But that was not to be. In the spring of 1981 at the age of 29 I was struck down by a vehicle while riding my moped home from NAS North Island in Imperial Beach, California. I was placed on Limited Duty at Naval Station San Diego until I was declared fit for duty, then assigned to a new submarine tender, the USS McKee, still in dry dock in Seattle, Washington. That ship was eventually home ported at Sub Base San Diego in 1982. It was onboard the USS Kitty Hawk that I had another encounter with the UCMJ. I was reduced in rank, and sent to the hell that was the Number One Engine Room in 1983. Only reading the works of Harlan Ellison and Fredrick Pohl kept me centered. It was then that I elected to leave the USN. Profound Changes In Civilian Life I was still suffering the effects of my car-v-moped accident of 1981. I was racked with pains. I was 33 years old in 1984. My life had been profoundly altered. Approaching middle age I found adjusting to the nebulous nature of civilian life harder that enduring the highly charged environment that was the military. Using the remainder of my old GI Bill education funds I obtained the AA degree in Social Studies from Southwestern College in Chula Vista, California. But, that was not enough to get me into the highly competitive civilian job market. I enlisted into Air Force Reserves in the spring of1985. However, that was a short lived proposition. I suffered an accident in the place of my

civilian employment that re-injured my 1981 compromised neck and lumbar spine. I had to abort my tour in the AFRES. I never got the dream of retirement from the military that I sought since leaving Alton in 1971. The Truth is Disclosed At Last! I was recovering from cervical and lower back surgeries performed in 1988. I was in constant pain. I received tuition assistance for my bachelors degree from the VA and the State of California Department of Rehabilitation in 1991. I attended San Diego State Universitys School of Social Work. I was now 41 years of age when the secret of why I was having such hard time learning was disclosed: I was suffering from Attention Deficit Disorder. As a child this was not even considered as a factor in why a child failed to thrive in an academic environment. So what I had was not a mental illness, but a learning disorder. I learned, but at a slower rate than normal children/adults. With the assistance of the VA I was treated for that, as well as for my spinal injuries. I received service connection for the 1981 accident, and the Post Traumatic Stress it had caused. Completing my academic requirements I earned my BASW in 1993. Unfortunately, my physical condition was degenerative, so I found it difficult to work as even performing the simplest of functions involving lifting or sitting became unbearable. Thus, as much as I wanted it to be I was not a good fit for that career field. It proved to be even more rigidly structured than the military. My difficulty in learning at a fast pace was my downfall. I have now come to accept the fact that I have a learning disability. not some of insidious mental illness. I could learn, but not quickly. However, once I did learn something I performed well. Now, I am embarking on my new career: Writing in the realm of Speculative Science Fiction. With all the experiences I had encountered I am sure I can translate

them, and those individuals I encountered, into an adventure that will galvanize future readers whom may had the same experiences learning in the twenty-first century that I had in the twentieth as well as my love of all things Science Fiction. The most important thing I have learned is to never lose sight of your dreams no matter how insignificant those normal others may attempt to make you feel. Persevere. Follow your dreams. Bio I was born in Alton, Illinois in 1951. Growing up I tended to be disruptive. Loud. Very much the class clown all through my years of schooling. I was sent home with notes for my perplexed parents to read from my teachers and counselors that strongly implied that their son was not normal. It was in elementary through high school that I became infected by the rapid pace of things concerning outer space. In 1957 Sputnik had been launched, two Soviet citizens, and man and woman, had been launched into space during the 1960s. About the Author Gregory A. Pierson is a retired social worker. He grew up in Alton, Southern Illinois on the banks of the Mississippi River and currently lives in Castillejos, Zambales in the Philippines. Mr. Pierson was motivated to write String of Pearls: The Survival Journal of the CSF Alphonse by his love of Science Fiction. He has completed two new books, Dr. Nora and In the Line of Fire, which are part of the series.

Hyperactivy, ADHD, Persevere, Career, Science Fiction