Johnny Cash enlisted in the Air Force on 7 July 1950, completing basic training at Lackland Air Force Base. He then attended technical training at Brooks Air Force Base, Texas, and radio intercept class at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi.
He was assigned to the 12th Radio Squadron Mobile (USAFSS) at Landsberg am Lech, West Germany, serving for there for three years as a morse intercept operator. (This would become the 6912th RSM in 1955 and move to Bingne am Rhine.) Apparently, he served with “A” Flight, 12th RSM. From Together we Served
The Servicemembers were always in Johnny’s heart as he toured to entertain them, including a visit to Vietnam. At the height of the Vietnam War, when the U.S. was divided between hawks and doves, Cash embraced both the soldiers fighting the war and the students protesting against it. Taking his show to the troops at Long Binh, he came back with “Singin’ in Vietnam Talkin’ Blues,” a moving account of war, and “What Is Truth,” where a father explains to his three-year-old son that war is simply a place “where people fight and die.“ His famous saying:
~ The Man In Black 1971 ~
I wear the black for the poor and the beaten down
Living on the hopeless hungry side of town
I wear it for the prisoner
Who has long paid for his crime
But is there because he’s a victim of the times
I wear it for the sick and lonely old
For the reckless ones whose bad trip left them cold
I wear the black in mourning for the lives that could have been
Each week we lose a hundred fine young men
Saving Country Music writes that the Landsberg, Germany experience was an important marker in the life of the Man in Black.