In my last year, however, while at Cecil Field in Florida, I got jumped by five black guys one night walking between the barracks. Right in plain sight.
I felt a really hard kick in the ass, and I turned to see a guy who said "I don't like your hat" referring to my squadron hat. I said "That's too bad, you and me are going to have at it..." and as I took my glasses off, four other guys walked out from behind the corner and they all surrounded me.
I kept them at bay a little longer by adopting a semi-martial arts stance and circling (one of them said "Ah, he knows karate or something...") but this wasn't Hollywood and they all dived in and down I went.
They were kicking and hitting me with all they had, but I could smell alcohol and was curled up tight, so I'll bet they kicked each other as much as they did me.
After about 30 sec to a minute of this, I noticed from my ground level vantage point that they didn't have me perfectly surrounded, and I leaped to my feet and darted through the gap towards a barracks door, with them in hot pursuit
I knew I couldn't open the door and get inside before they were on me, and I saw a swab in a bucket outside the door, so I grabbed it and swung it like a baseball bat. They could see they weren't going to get me, so they backed off and disappeared.
I was pretty shook up, so I walked over to the airfield where my supervisor, AD1 Woods, was on night duty and told him what happened.
When I told him, he said: "Do you want to get some guys together and find them to kick their asses?"
This was Petty Officer Woods:
As it turned out, I never reported it, but I spent the next several months staring hard at the face of every black buy I walked by, just looking for a spark of recollection, to recognize just one of them, but it was no use. Their faces remain a blur to this day.
I often wondered if I might have become a bit prejudiced because of that, and I don't think I ever did. I have always thought part of that was because of a good man, AD1 Woods.