HST began his journalistic career while stationed at Eglin Air Base writing the sports column for the base newspaper in the mid-1950s. I lived down here at the time, but as an elementary school student, I wasn't familiar with his work.
A former columnist on our local puppy trainer, Bill Campbell, worked in Base Public Affairs then, and mentioned the experience occasionally. Needless to say Dr. Gonzo and the Air Force parted ways via a discharge: Mr. Thompson was not suited for a military lifestyle.
At the time in this area kerosene was regularly used for lighting, dirt floors were not uncommon in grocery stores to soak up the blood dripping from freshly butchered meat, and there was no air conditioning. If you wanted a boat you had to build it or contract with a local to have it built. Appliances arrived from Sears & Roebuck on a truck, but you had to know how to install them. Most cooking was done outside during the summer to avoid heating the house.
[Update: The local media is saying the discharge was honorable, but most others are saying dishonorable, which may indicate a general discharge at the convenience of the service to get rid of him.]