“The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism. But under the name of ‘liberalism’ they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist program, until one day America will be a Socialist nation, without knowing how it happened.”

Socialist Party presidential candidate Norman Thomas

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Blast from the past

As most of you know, I spent sixteen years in the Georgia Air National Guard before getting out by way of an early retirement program. I left for basic training in San Antonio about 5 days after graduating high school and the next sixteen years spending one weekend a month at Dobbins AFB in Atlanta loading bombs and missiles on fighter planes. We took some mighty cool trips for extended training as well. TRR reader and contributor David was a bud of mine in the Weapons Loading shop of the Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance Squadron(CAMS is on our hats) of the 116th Tactical Fighter Squadron. He sent this picture to me this morning that another friend of ours had come across from back in 1986. There I am in the front row, fourth from the right. (If you click on the picture it'll get much bigger). David is standing behind me, one man to my right.

The plane on the left is an F-16 Falcon (we never worked on those). The one in the middle is the F-4 Phantom, the workhorse of Vietnam and the plane we were loading on in '86, and the F-15 Eagle on the right to which we were converting at the time. You can see AIM-9 Sidewinder heat-seekers on the wing pylons of the F-4 and F-15. You can also see one AIM-7 Sparrow, a radar guided air-to-air missile on the inboard launcher of the F-15.

I just thought I'd throw this picture out there so you would get an idea about a formative part of my life and know that it contributed to shaping my thoughts and opinions today.

Man, even from here I can see how much younger I look....thanks for that David.


Kevin said...

Its seeing things like this that make me proud of our military, and the force that we have on our side. People always talk about how we should bring home our forces, but I would gander that at least 3/4 of them are proud about what they are doing, and those men and women are the true heroes of our world. Selfless, determined, and brave. Ed you are a true Hero.

ed said...

I appreciate that Kevin. Freedom is not free, and our military insures that we keep ours.

Reid said...

Ed and David: Thank you for your service to our country. I know that it is not a regular occurence to be thanked, but I feel that it is important to do. To all other TRR readers that have military service, I extend my thanks as well. Now as why the sudden revalation:

Yesterday I was invited to attend a flag dedication ceremony at Mark's Outdoors in Vestavia, Alabama. Mark purchased a 60' tall flag pole a huge flag that is now being flown over his store. He had current military personnel raise the flag and do a fly over. He had the local Middle School choir sing the National Anthem, and then had 2 military men play taps on the bagpipes as the flag was lowered to half-staff in remembrance of all those who lost their lives in the 9/11 tragedy. A rear Admiral was asked to speak. He recounted 2 stories of soldiers in war and then told of his personal friend who was piloting 1 of the captured aircraft used by the terrorits on that day. His last comment was this:
I know that that plane, as it struck the Pentagon was not being flown by my friend. I know that because years earlier he stepped in front of 20 angry protesters that were tryig to take down our flag at a college campus. He stepped in and told the protesters to stop or some would die. He commented that"you may get me, but this flag means more to me than any of you, which 5 of you want to be first to die?" The protesters dispersed and moved on" . These are 2 men that share a strong belief in our country, 2 men like you and David, Ed, that would die for our flag. All I want to do is again say Thanks and that my hat is off to you.

David said...

Thanks Reid. Twenty-five years and counting. Looking back that's more than half my life!

Ed and I fought in the cold war togehter. What a great experience and in our own way we have a "band of brothers".