Friday, January 20, 2006

Freedom Day

I wanted to post this yesterday, Jan 19, because it's a special anniversary for me. It was on that day in 1969 that I got my discharge from the Army. Never was I so happy to get rid of an obligation. Not that I minded the Army during my regular duty, but when I got out I'd been cooling my heels at West Point awaiting said discharge. It took two weeks to have it approved (I was getting a hardship discharge, allegedly as the sole support of my mother) and another 2 1/2 months to make it happen. Those 2 1/2 months, during which I had no idea when my paperwork would come through, were awful. By the time I got out I had a burning hatred for the Army and just about anything else connected to the government. That made going to California and becoming an antiestablishment hippy a few months later very easy for me.

Because it was 36 years since I re-entered civilan life, you might think I'm a bit long in the tooth. But the truth is that I joined up as a drummer boy when I was six years old and was mustered out a year later. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

All this might seem odd considering that I now work for the Air Force and have for the past 26 years. Well, that's what I do for money, and the BS that I faced back in my Army days is still evident in today's action Air Force. On the other hand, I'm glad to have the job and there are even times when it's interesting and fulfilling. Like a couple of weeks ago when I was part of a team that supported a Medivac mission. A baby was flown in from Kadena AFB, Japan, for treatment at Madigan Hospital on neighboring Fort Lewis. There were a good 20 people involved in getting that infant from Japan to here, not to mention the load planners, air crew, ground people, and whoever had to authorize the use of the aircraft. When I went out to the plane I knew we were doing a Medivac, but I was expecting an adult on a gurney to be aboard. Was I surprised. The infant was in something like an incubator, and that was covered by a towel, so I never laid eyes on him or her, nor do I have any idea what its problem was, but my heart went out to the baby and I hope Madigan can help.


Bill said...

Happy Freedom Day, Cap'n, and keep on doing the good work.

James said...

While we certainly do not all agree about the actions to which the military is directed, or the reasoning behind those directions, I think we can all respect the core value of those who dedicate their lives to the uniform: service. There is great honor in service, whatever other BS one much endure, and I think in this recent medevac you've picked up on that.