An odd notion for someone who essentially spearheaded the counter-culture movement, Thompson got his first break as a journalist by becoming the Sports Editor for Eglin Air Force Base’s ‘The Command Courier’ after enlisting in the Air Force with the intention of becoming a pilot. For a variety of reasons, most notably for failing a psychological test, he was not admitted into the Aviation training program so whilst studying electronics by day and taking journalism courses by night at Florida State University he managed to establish enough of a basis to stay within the Air Force.
After lying his ass off about his previous experience (remember, these were the days before that pesky internet could shine a light on your most audacious claims, which is why I was instantly found out to not be the world’s most handsome writer) the Air Force let him write as a columnist and as an editor, though he wasn’t allowed to do so under his own name as airmen couldn’t technically hold several positions.
After a few years of being himself (i.e. fairly abrasive to his superiors; a man after my own heart) he was honourably discharged from the Air Force and began his journalistic career properly as an official Sports Editor for a newspaper in Pennsylvania.