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Happy Veterans Day, military memories...


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Sunday, November 11, 2012

I wanted to wish all of our vets on Sparkpeople a happy Veterans Day. Thank you for your service to our great country. With all of our issues and faults, the United States Of America is still the example of freedom to the world. It is because of this commitment to freedom that we have the right to vote, to voice opposition, and to protest if necessary to express that opposition rather than to simply roll over and accept another edict from a dictatorship.

I guess all of this has brought back some memories...

I remember going to boot camp, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. July, 1987... 17 and scared, wondering what in the world I had gotten myself into. Never been away from home before. Showing up at 2am. That first night in the barracks, sleeping under a GI issue wool blanket. July in Texas to someone from New York was unbearable.

That first wake up, lights on at 5am (after 3 hrs sleep) the Drill Instructors kicking garbage cans down the aisle yelling get up ladies, move it, move it, move it !!!. This wasn't my mother waking me up for school, these guys were serious.... those that didn't received some rather rude motivation....it's funny now but it was no joke back then.

Then of course there was the designer haircut they gave each of us.... I could have lit a match on top of my head.

In the 80's, there was no such thing as email, IM's, cell phones or Skype. Nothing meant more to a GI than mail call. Unless you've been there, its hard to understand how a letter from home was a lifeline to all I held dear in this world, especially if they sent pictures. My mom wrote me faithfully. I'll never forget that. Pictures of home, what was the latest news, newspaper clippings all held special significance in the life of a GI. We would all gather in the ready room while the Drill Sergeant called out names and flung letters to lucky guys. What got the most attention and howls was when someone got a perfumed letter from his girlfriend back home. I remember how much I looked forward to a phone call home. We would stand in a long line with pockets filled with quarters just for the chance to talk to a loved one.

Things were different then.

Over the process of time I went from a teenage sluff off to someone with an obsessive attention to detail, meticulous folding and ironing my underwear in perfect 6 inch squares, making razor sharp creases in my uniform, and being able to shine my boots where I could use them for a mirror.... I didn't even know how to iron when I got there.... it was learn or else.... I learned everything you ever wanted to know about the M-16 but was afraid to ask...even qualified for marksman.

I remember failing an inspection and getting REAMED by the squadron First Sergeant. All I remember was my face getting really hot and I shook inside but I didn't dare show it..talk about fear factor.

Then there was the time I cried like a baby during chapel service... the love that was shown to me after weeks of stress and rigor on top of being homesick... those were tough times indeed.

Then there was the town pass toward the end of our training.... unless you have been there, there is no way to describe how good it was to visit "the world" or how good Pizza Hut tastes after weeks upon weeks of chow hall......

Somehow I made it through all of that and went to school for electronics and my specialty. I was an Air Launched Missile Systems Specialist.

One of my more colorful memories was when I got to my first base. I had just arrived at Pease AFB, NH (SAC) and one of the first things I decided to do was to go for a jog. I decided to go past the runway and wound up by the alert pad. FYI - the alert pad is a high security area where nuclear armed aircraft stand ready to scramble... not the place to be if you dont belong there...which I didnt... I ran alongside the fence line then decided to stretch out...grabbed the fence...BIG MISTAKE. I set off motion alarms and scrambled the security police. Within seconds I was face down across the hood of a truck staring down the muzzles of M-16's....welcome to Pease... dummy.. in my defense they never warned us new guys about that area but still... it's funny now but then..... not so much.... lol...so much for my first 48 hrs on base. This was not how I intended to introduce myself to the squadron commander.

I spent the next few years on the flight line working on the FB-111A fighter bomber. The sound of the afterburners of a jet taking off rumbles in your chest. The power, the smell of jet fuel, the shriek of engines, the sense of mission to get a bird off the ground, running out there with the engines running to fix a problem so it could take off.

Our base was also the base where Air Force One would land to take President Bush to his home in Maine. I got selected to be on the honor guard to greet then French President Mitterrand on the tarmac. Never met a head of state before. Being 6'1, I remember thinking "wow, that dude is short!" as he rushed by to get into is escort vehicle.

Anyway, I guess i'm just rambling, just alot of memories swirling around in my head this morning that needed somewhere to go..

Here is a pic of me and my dad during our time in the service.

**DAD*** WWII and Korea


**Me** 1987-1992
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CATNCAG 7/16/2013 10:47AM

    Wow u & dad look a lot alike! Sounds like it was rough! Thanks for your service & everyone else who has served!


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SERASARA 2/24/2013 12:40PM

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RUNNER12COM 11/21/2012 12:12PM

    As a Marine serving overseas from 85-89, I can relate to everything you wrote here. I still have handwritten letters that meant the world to a young kid far from home.

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SANDYCRANE 11/21/2012 6:50AM

    Thanks for your service. I had two brothers who were in the service and I never knew anything about it. Your blog shed some light on that.

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CM_GARDNER78 11/20/2012 10:57PM

    Aww - I love it!! Thank you and your father for your service! Thank you for sharing your memories and stories too! :-)

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KIMBOLEAN 11/17/2012 12:47PM

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CLPURNELL 11/14/2012 3:11PM

    Thank you for your service!

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BAMAJAM 11/13/2012 3:25PM

  It was indeed wonderful to read your story here. What handsome pictures of a father and his son! You can be so very proud of your service; I am so grateful to you!
By the way, my nephew in the Navy has learned the "art" of making up a bed--and it is absolute perfection. He just visited with us and I am amazed--- (0h so proud too)!
---- God bless you abundantly! ---

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VOLLEYGIRL77 11/13/2012 10:06AM

    Thank you for your service! emoticon

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JOANNS4 11/13/2012 8:12AM

    Thank you to you and your dad for your service. emoticon

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BLUEJEAN99 11/13/2012 1:54AM

    emoticon emoticon

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MARYJEANSL 11/13/2012 12:28AM

  Thank you for your service! I don't think we can ever thank our military members enough for all that they do and sacrifice for us.

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ROCKYCPA 11/12/2012 10:51PM

    Thank you for sharing your memories of the military and thank you serving your country!

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GOING-STRONG 11/12/2012 9:30PM

    Thank you for sharing your memories and thank you for your service!
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JANEMARIE77 11/12/2012 9:30PM

    Thanks to all

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JAMER123 11/12/2012 9:26PM

    THANK YOU and your dad as well as your family for the service to our country. I had 2 brothers serve as well, one in the Air Force (Viet Nam) and the other in the National Guards (activated during 9/11.) Because of you Veterans, we can continue to be free!!
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ALDEBARANIAN 11/12/2012 7:40PM

    Thanks for serving.

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JIBBIE49 11/12/2012 7:28PM

    You're the star again, Congrats.

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PATRICIAANN46 11/12/2012 6:36PM

  emoticon to both you and your Dad for your service. emoticon

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BLESSED2BEME 11/12/2012 5:26PM

    Thank you for your service. I arrived at basic training for the Air Force in the spring of 1984. I'm retired from the AF now and your post sure brought back memories!

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ALIDOSHA 11/12/2012 5:16PM

    emoticon emoticon

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COCHRANE0511 11/12/2012 3:24PM

    Happy Veterans' Day to you too! May God protecting wings be with you daily!

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PCASEY7 11/12/2012 3:17PM

    Thanks for looking after us!

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FARIS71 11/12/2012 2:41PM

    Sincere thanks to both you and your father.

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JPONCIN 11/12/2012 2:03PM

    How cool. Thank you for your service. I loved reading this. It was just like I was there!

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LIVELYGIRL2 11/12/2012 1:02PM

  Robert, I enjoyed hearing your stories. Thanks for sharing them with us.

My husband has some amusing ones too. He also has a few scary ones. He was a Quarter Master and they had a fire.

I didn't know him then.

Anyhow, my sisters son got back from Afghanistan recently. They have a baby under a year.

I have known people that have served or re currently serving, but this has given me another dimension of appreciation.

For all the complaining that goes on, about the issues and problems, going on in our country,

We still have it pretty darn good compared to many places.

We need to keep alive what America stands for. emoticon

I'm grateful, you were willing to defend our integrity

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KREVAIT 11/12/2012 12:48PM

  thank you and your dad ...happy veterans day emoticon

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NEWCHINELO 11/12/2012 12:42PM

    Lovely


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WATERDIAMONDS 11/12/2012 12:28PM

    What lovely smile you had, even then!

Thanks for reminding us what "Boot Camp" is REALLY like!

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TERRIJ7 11/12/2012 12:18PM

    Thanks for sharing your reminiscence with us. I like hearing those old "war" stories.

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ROXYZMOM 11/12/2012 11:51AM

    Thanks for sharing such a personal story. I can't imagine serving in the military. I like being the boss ;) My husband was in the Navy. He worked on A-6s. He is 6'3. We toured a ship once. He showed me where he slept - he had to sleep scrunched up every night due to his height. Today he was telling us how he had to eat a lot of hot dogs and burgers because most of the time he did not have time to wait for a "normal" lunch or dinner. He went into the Navy real thin, came out at 210 pounds.

He is a perfectionist. Until I read your blog I never thought about how it could've tied into the military.

Have you suffered hearing loss? He has - from the loud jet engines. Do you tolerate crowds or lined? He hates them!

Thank you for your service!!

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CHAOTICMOM4 11/12/2012 11:46AM

    Great Job Robert, Pease is right up the road from me. Happy Veterans Day! Thank you for serving our country.

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FAVORITEAUNT84 11/12/2012 11:45AM

    Thank you for your service and thank you for sharing!

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COCOSAYS 11/12/2012 11:41AM

    FABULOUS post! Loved the memories you shared and the way you see the humor in some of it now. A huge THANK YOU for your service!!!!
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MOMMY445 11/12/2012 11:25AM

    thank you for your service! i had a grandfather who served and was wounded in world war 2 and a great uncle who was a member of the royal navy. have a wonderful day!

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HEARTS116 11/12/2012 11:05AM

    emoticon emoticon

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DALID414 11/12/2012 11:01AM

    Wow, thanks for sharing your experiences.
Thank you for your service.

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NEWMOM20121 11/12/2012 11:00AM

    Thank you for your service. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us.

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CHANGINGSAM 11/12/2012 11:00AM

    Great blog! Thank you to you and your father for serving!

Comment edited on: 11/12/2012 11:01:17 AM

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LIGHTNINGRUNNER 11/12/2012 10:48AM

    Thanks for the service and your stories.

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IAMAGEMLOVER 11/12/2012 10:20AM

    God Bless the USA emoticon

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GOOSIEMOON 11/12/2012 10:18AM

    emoticon

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JOANNHUNT 11/12/2012 9:53AM

    emoticon emoticon for sharing your memories. Use to listen to my Dad tell his War stories. They were great and some scary, but he doesn't tell them anymore as he has dementia and doesn't remember. emoticon emoticon

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NEWTINK 11/12/2012 9:01AM

    Thank you for you service and thank you for sharing your memories with us ... Have a most wonderful day !!

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BILL60 11/12/2012 9:00AM

    Great blog!! Thank you for your service.

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WALLINMW 11/12/2012 8:43AM

  great blog

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PENOWOK 11/12/2012 8:39AM

    Thank you for your time in the Air Force on our behalf! What a wonderful blog!!

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DJSHIP46 11/12/2012 8:16AM

    Thank you!

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FUZZYMOTO 11/12/2012 8:12AM

    And Thank you for your service, from a former grunt with a shovel.

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GRAMPIAN 11/12/2012 6:15AM

  Fascinating blog. Thank you.

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