Sunday, August 22, 2010

Gary Nissen - Class of 1958

Matt Piper and Gary Nissen, 1958 - How about the haircuts?

Two weeks after graduation, on 1 July 1958 Gordon Crispin & I deplaned in San Antonio, TX, USAF Airman Basics. I was on the way to becoming an Air Policeman and seeing the world. Four weeks later I was sent to aircraft nav-aids/radar repair tech school in Biloxi, MS, obviously because of my vast electronic technical background milking cows, driving tractor, changing irrigation pipe and other related skills. January 1959 found me at March AFB until discharged 30 June 1962 although I did get a 2 week assignment to Hawaii and 3 months in ID. (So much for seeing the world.) After leaving the USAF I worked 2 years for a major aeronautical firm but did not like being in a big concrete building with no windows.

In SoCal for 40+ years I raised a family, did Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm, the Beach scene, and all the other stuff you read about. I have not been without a motorcycle since 1959, riding desert, mountain & street; traveling through many states, and visiting a couple hospitals. We currently own a Kawasaki Nomad & Honda Gold Wing Trike.

At 2200 hours on 1 May 1964 I reported for my first shift at Riverside PD; new blue uniform, badge, loaded six-gun, and not a clue. No academy until you worked for about a year and proven you could do the job. My TO, a former Marine, yelled at me for 2 months straight, and after 3 months cleared me to work solo.

I retired from RPD 15 July 1994 as a Lt. I promoted up through the ranks, worked and supervised in every division. I was a member of The Royal Order of the Boot for nearly 5 years as an officer & Sgt. Motors & Investigations were the most fun although certain assignments gave me the opportunity to “sort of” learn to fly helicopters and play with a lot of really expensive equipment. There were good times & bad times. I was fortunate in that I retired out in relative good health with only a few minor injuries that haunt me as I grow older.

I obtained a PI license, did some defense work, eventually specializing in police employment backgrounds and internal investigations for several departments until December 2002 when I moved to Willits. I have Substitute and Part Time Adult Subjects teaching credentials; worked in various elementary schools and at Willits & Ukiah high schools. For the past 6 years I have worked for the Adult School & Mendocino County in the Jail Education Program.

I pretty much stayed away from Point Arena for nearly 40 years although I had been coming to a friend’s ranch in Hopland every year since 1968; something no one knew. I returned to the Acquistapace homestead about 1995 and had the good fortune to be able repay in part, my uncle and his family for raising me through high school and teaching me skills that got me by quite well all my life.

I attended the 1999 PAHS reunion and accepted the fact there were some unresolved issues needing attention. Jeri & I were married 12 August 2002.

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