Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans Day 2009

The streets are a little more empty as Jacksonville finds itself facing a gloomy, cloudy Federal Holiday. No students walking to school, half of the workers making the commute. Of course, I have to be at work. Not that I really care; The failed tropical depression, "Ida" has made the skies iron gray.

I am amazed everyday that so many people I meet have never served in our Armed Forces. Didn't even consider it.

"That's for the poor people... Maybe people who have no opportunity".


One nice gent, a glass repair business owner, came in yesterday and mentioned that Veterans Day was upon us.

"Oh yes it is!" I said, "And here at this office we have a genuine actual veteran!"

David, (The business owner) asks, "Who is it?"

The immediate thought in my mind was 'Is this guy actually thinking that this is all I have ever done in life, selling insurance???'

Quickly, I recovered. This guy just thinks that being in the Service is for other people, not for people you actually know and do business with.

We have about two thousand customers, and more than a few of them have served. We have at least two (that I know of) former POW's who spent a year of their youth incarcerated by the Germans in WWII. They walk a little stooped and a limp is apparent from proud pain endured. The hearing aid gives a loud squeal, testifying to the damage from exposure to loud noises of machinery, or weapons.

Some are Korea and Vietnam Vets who don't bring attention to themselves. They had enough mistreatment by their peers back in the 50's and 60's.

But we know each other as having served; Small Code words, here and there. Using the phonetic alphabet when giving and receiving vehicle identification numbers.

Some wear loud t-shirts, jackets and hats, proud of their service. Others you might see the blue ID card just inside the wallet when they make the insurance premium payment.

We know who we are.

Now that I have been out for just over ten years, I am just a regular citizen and I even feel like I am telling a "Tall Tale" or a fib when I remember that I used to serve. I guess that's why the Glass dude did not believe me when I mentioned casually that I had served for twenty years, but my only claim to the Veteran Brotherhood was that I had a couple of pieces of cloth that indicated that I was in an area where people received imminent danger pay.


Sounds pretty weak to me, too. Especially when we have young friends and customers who are deploying on their third tour in the Middle East, or some other place that the "Imminent Danger Pay" is earned, daily. In places where buying the farm is not a joke, but a fact indicated by a family who receives a Servicemembers SGLI (Servicemembers Government Life Insurance) payout, which can easily pay off a family's home.

Let us all remember the real heroes who served before and today's heroes who return to do the dirty work that needs to be done.

I was going to say something melancholy but I won't. My service can be summed up as follows; I just had as good a time as I could.

Still do.

I prefer to remember when these pictures were new.

Thanks to everyone who served, and will serve.

Crew of Barco Sin Vela II


I surfed over to this, and I feel physically ill.

Jerks like this trivialize the service of better men and women, and this sort of idiocy make me feel like a poseur about my own military service time. All this fool had to do was join and spend a couple years in uniform. But that takes too much time.

Doesn't it?


Buck said... only claim to the Veteran Brotherhood was that I had a couple of pieces of cloth that indicated that I was in an area where people received imminent danger pay.

I don't even have those and am not eligible to join the VFW... never having served in a combat zone, not even a single day TDY. Which is one of life's greatest mysteries (to me), given I was on continuous AD from before the Gulf of Tonkin incident through the Fall of Saigon and beyond. Add in the fact I had a Vietnam volunteer statement in for two years ('65 - '67, I withdrew it after I became a father) and it's an even deeper mystery.

All that said... I'm still proud of what I did during my time, but I'm prouder still of the things my kids are doing today. I'm also proud and grateful for guys like you who went to sea for months and months without touching anything soft, too!

Nearly forgot: You were a pretty good looking Jarhead, Darryl! ;-)

Barco Sin Vela II said...

You were a pretty good looking Jarhead, Darryl!

Buck; All seventeen year olds are attractive, but thanks. I was a reservist so it was a quick six months and off to the Navy for me.

But on the deployment thing; Check your Unit (s) and look on the internets for "Armed Forces Expeditionary Medals" and check out which units received them. You might find one of your unit(s) had one awarded and thus you would be a veteran of a Foreign War. If you were in Thailand in 1973, you may be eligible.

Either way, you served and that's what's important. Thanks for coming by, I enjoy your comments.

Buck said...

If you were in Thailand in 1973, you may be eligible.

Ah, but I wasn't. I did my time in Thailand in 1976, quite some time after the cessation of hostilities. Believe me, our local VFW is crying for members and they'd bend over backwards for me... but rules is rules. And I don't qualify. But I'm still a welcomed guest whenever I head down that way to hoist a few...

Barco Sin Vela II said...

Sorry to hear that, Buck. Funny, I am a Life Member of the VFW and I never go. Too smoky.

The folks who hang out there and smoke are welcome to do so, they earned it. I remain a member because I like their mission.

Just from afar...

JihadGene said...

LOVED your photos looong time!!! I too remember when squids could have beards!

Barco Sin Vela II said...

Thanks Gene; I don't know what the heck we were all thinking about the beards. But it had to do with the water situation onboard ship.

I cringe when I see the beards!

Glenn Mark Cassel said...

I am now the second oldest Crew Chief at the 912 AMXS here at Edwards. The other guy is about ten months older than me.
Navy Expeditionary(2)
Sep1980-May1981, Northern Arabian Sea/Indian Ocean embarked in USS Ranger in VA-145(A6E/KA6D)
Otherwise known as the Jimmy Carter Hostage Crisis Cruise.
Jan-Jun 1987, Around the world on USS Kitty Hawk in VA-147(A7E) with a fair amount of time in the Northern Arabian Sea, again.
Plus other uneventful deployments aboard Independence(2) to the Med and Ranger when it hit the tanker off Singapore in 79. I caught it in the drydock at Yokosuka. With those campaign medals, I will probably join the VFW here in Cal City.
Beards could not be worn by those repair party/fire party members required to wear an OBA, Oxygen Breathing Apparatus. It would not seal correctly. I remember when then SecNav Lehman ordered no more beards be worn by anyone in the 80s. It took effect on Jan 1 of 1985. You should have seen some of the guys who had had a beard for a long time after that! I didn't worry too much as I didn't really have to shave every day until I was about thirty. And now at 55, I still can't grow a full beard.
Now the eldest son is a SSG in the Army Reserve getting ready to make SFC next spring. He will have passed me, his real dad and his uncle then.