|Wasp-Class Amphibious Assault Ship (Multi-Purpose) (LHD)|
Photographed from the flight deck of USS RONALD REAGAN, CVN-76
Somewhere off the Coast of San Diego
Prior to joining the Air Force I had been a civilian for 22 years. When I retired, I had been in the military for over half of my life.
In many ways, my time in the Air Force defined, at least to some extent, who I was. What I was.
I still shudder when someone attaches "Mister" to my last name when greeting me.
Though that event is rare enough in today's slap-happy, no respect for anybody or anything kind of world.
No. I prefer to be addressed as "Master Sergeant." It's what the Air Force molded me to be.
And I was a damn good one.
At least I thought so.
But it has been a long road from then...
|Lackland AFB, TX - 1975|
|Shakespeare's, San Diego, CA - 2014|
Lost quite a bit of hair, what's left is mostly gray and yes, I've gained a few pounds. Quite a few pounds.
While I still think of myself as a retired Air Force Master Sergeant, I'm also father to three kids. One of whom was an officer in the United States Navy, a lieutenant, two of whom are still on active duty with the Navy. Both daughters are lieutenants. That's three lieutenants.
At family get togethers I am surrounded by officers. The three kids, one son-in-law and The Nuke's man, he being an officer in the reserves. A Naval officer mind you. A submariner. (That's two more lieutenants, for those keeping score at home.) So I have to keep my wit's around me at all times. They all know I'm a sneaky enlisted type. Mustn't let down the side!
Heh, heh, heh.
Old Air Force Master Sergeant and Navy Dad.
So the military has probably been the biggest influence in my life outside of my family.
As near as I can tell, the family record in the military goes back to the Civil War. (Easy my Southern comrades, I know what you call it and I know why. What's more, I understand that sentiment now, more than ever.)
Tales of military service, never of battle, nearly always stories meant to invoke a laugh or relate some silliness. But they influence a lad.
Made me want to serve.
I suppose my own career made my kids want to serve as well.
Get me around aircraft which are meant to take the fight to the enemy...
...and I'm like an old war horse who hears a distant bugle. The blood stirs, the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, I recall the days of my youth. Gone. But ne'er forgotten.
That's what defines me.
What's your story?