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Editor's note: The year of the incident between North and South Korea has been corrected to 1975. Two incorrect references to Vietnam in regard to that incident have also been removed.

Dennis Nelson was drawn to airplanes as a child, so it was a natural segue to the Air Force about a year after graduating from high school. He joined on Oct. 18, 1974, at the tail end of the Vietnam War, and he completed his basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. He went on to advanced training at Chanute AFB in Illinois. He started in petroleum oil lubrication and ended up in aircraft refueling.

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