Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thank you Veterans...

I am an Air Force Veteran who served for 11+ years during the last years of the Cold War (1981 – 1992); I flew onboard both the SAC Airborne Command Post (Looking Glass) and National Emergency Airborne Command Post (NEACP, Nightwatch) for almost 10 of my 11 years. This time, while relatively short compared to my time here on earth (I’m 46 now), is by far the most important.

It was a time where I created life long bonds with my fellow service men and woman, a time when we as a team formed a deterrent against the Soviet Union and others who wished to launch a nuclear attack against the US, a time when you looked around the aircraft’s communications department and you realize that you are the oldest and most experienced person of a 10 person team…at the ripe old age of 23.

But it doesn’t matter because you have the upmost confidence in yourself, your aircraft and your team; and you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is nothing….NOTHING that can trip you up. It was a time of upmost pride and an amazing sense of accomplishment that you didn’t really realize how important it was to you until years later when you are in the civilian workforce where it is dog eat dog and you sense something is missing.

Then imagine if you will; a reunion with your brothers and sisters in arms at a retirement ceremony of your aircraft (EC-135) where you exchange ‘There I was…’ stories and meet the outstanding group of young Airman who have taken over the missions you loved so much. And as you talk you realize that this new guard has heard of the old guard and their accomplishments, even though you have never met and it has been 8 years since your last mission; they know what you did, how you did it and why; and that sense of pride and accomplishment comes flooding back; ‘I’ve made a difference in a positive way…wow!’.

Then as the old guard and the new guard stand shoulder to shoulder and listen to and watch a re-enactment of a mission, followed by the playing of the Lee Greenwood ‘Proud to be an American’ song…there isn’t a dry eye in the house. And why is that… because we are proud of what we did and have that sense of accomplishment again.
Those feeling’s are not reserved to those of us who served during our time, but to all who have served and who are serving today; they are proud of what they are doing and what to accomplish their mission.

To those of you that have served I am proud to share the name Veteran with you; and to those of you that are serving today; I will welcome you with open arms when it is your time and we’ll lift a glass, share our stories and help the new guard accomplish their missions.

God Bless!

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