- Associated Press - Monday, February 3, 2014

HONEA PATH, S.C. (AP) - Hubert Armstrong said he feels as if, for most of his life, luck has been on his side.

The 26 years he served in the U.S. Air Force afforded him the opportunity to stand guard for the nation’s Titan II missile defense system. He has traveled the world, worked on airplanes that intercepted spy satellites, and for three years he traveled across Europe transporting top secret documents to American authorities and its allies.

“It has not been anything special that I have done,” Armstrong said. “I have just always been in the right place at the right time.”

Then, about a month ago, his luck continued again.

He made a typical stop at the McDonald’s restaurant in Belton for a usual cup of morning coffee and met up with a friend and co-worker he had not seen since the mid-1970s.

Ernest Reynolds, who moved to the Starr-Iva area three years ago, made a stop at the same restaurant. He said he instantly recognized Armstrong.

“The details I don’t always remember, but I have a good memory for faces,” Reynolds said. “When I started asking him the questions, all of a sudden you could see his face light up.”

Like Armstrong, Reynolds served in the Air Force. He, too, served as a missile mechanic. And he served as a courier for some of the U.S. Department of Defense’s top secret documents during the Cold War.

For three years, Armstrong and Reynolds - who came from totally different regions of the United States -served alongside each other in another country.

Reynolds is an Ohio native. Armstrong is a native of Honea Path. They served together in Germany. They were both couriers for the Department of Defense. There were 35 couriers in their unit at the time, Armstrong said. Armstrong and Reynolds said couriers were always paired up in teams of two to transport the military information.

Sometimes, the documents, or parcels, were headed to the nation’s capital. Other times, they were carrying documents to U.S. embassies, or to NATO bases, or to the officials of allied nations. But they never knew what they were carrying.

“We never knew what it was,” Reynolds said. “It might have been missile launch codes.”

“It was always wrapped up,” Armstrong said, of the parcels. “One time, something I couriered cost $20,000 to fly from Germany to the Dulles Airport in Washington, D.C. That was the cost of the freight and my plane ticket.”

Those three years kept both men on the go.

Armstrong’s pocket calendar from those years shows non-stop travel for days and weeks at a time. He went to Turkey, Spain, Norway, Italy, Greece, England and of course, Germany. He also traveled between Europe and the Pentagon quite often.

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