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Monday, November 15, 2010

Credit Where Credit is Due

On the heels of Veterans Day, I would like to say a few things. First of all, I am a veteran of the United States Air Force. I served from September 1991 to March 1997. The only War I took part in was the “Cold War”. Desert Storm had been over for about six months and there would only be a couple of “conflicts” and “peace missions” during my time in service. Even if an actual War had broke out during my time in, I would not have seen combat. Ever. I was assigned the job of servicing and maintaining Minuteman Missiles. The nukes so big and powerful that even Ronald Reagan thought they should be abolished. The chances of them ever actually being used were very slim. There were only a handful of bases that I could be assigned to and they were all right here in the good ol' USA. North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, or Missouri. Cold, yes. War torn, not so much. The point I am trying to make with all of this, is that when the average civilian thinks about military veterans, they tend to imagine that we all have somehow risked our lives for our country. This is far from true. The only time my life was in danger was in a bar fight in Cheyenne and I certainly wasn't fighting for my country. The vast majority of military members have ordinary jobs that put them in no more danger than you go through on your morning commute. I am not saying this to take away from the dedicated servicemen and women who make our military great. I am simply saying that when you put me in the same category as veterans who have risked their lives on a battlefield, you are diminishing their sacrifice. They deserve more.

3 comments:

  1. Wow, I knew you worked in the USAF and I knew you didn't fly planes, but I didn't know you were assigned with Minuteman Ballistic Missiles! What an awesome responsibility that was, to maintain in "good shape" what has the potential to destroy and wipe off the face of the earth an entire civilization! So much power, so near!#:-) I wonder how it feels to be so close to something that has the power to destroy you to atom size in a fraction of a second! #:-) That to me is nothing less than a "frontline action!" #:-)

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  3. I'm in a similar situation. I served in the USAF from Oct 1965 to Oct 1969. That was the Vietnam era. I spent it in a tobacco patch outside Winston Salem NC helping to keep a SAGE radar site running. Four years in the Air Force and I never even saw an airplane except as dots on a scope!

    I'm considered to be a Vietnam era veteran, but try not to make much of it or take advantage of my service. It was a low paying job that included the risk of being reassigned to a war zone, but I would be unlikely to ever see combat even if that happened - and it didn't.

    For anyone interested in seeing life at an Air Force Radar station, you can see my 810th Radar Squadron web site.

    http://nineveh-junction.com/810th/

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