My dad enlisted in the Army Air Corps (there was no Air Force back then) right out of high school.
After training – he tells a wonderful story about his first solo touch-and-go flight that makes me smile to this day – he was sent to an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. This was toward the end of World War 2.
He used to show me photos of his time there…the jungle, a little dog he adopted, his buddies in his unit, his plane, his plane shot down. The most remarkable thing about these pictures, for me, is how young these boys were…how young my dad was and how thin; they all had the bodies of my friends in high school, all shoulders, no waist or hips, ribs poking through…kids.
Daddy has a wonderful sense of humor, quite the joker, though more mellow now. He seemed so strong to me, healthy, fit. He said once, when looking at his island pictures, that the only thing that could make him sick at his stomach happened there. He would never tell me what that was. I imagined it must have been pretty horrific.
After the war, my dad, who was an orphan, was able to go to college, courtesy of the United States Government. He graduated from Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado and still consults as a petroleum engineer today. He is also an inventor with several patents! He is 85.
I know that some wars are necessary for the greater good…many wars are political or economic…I am not an advocate of military solutions being the only solutions. But I want to acknowledge and thank the men and women who served and serve…their reasons are many, and while interesting, not germane here.
They go to hell and back because their country tells them to do so…thank you, Dad.