This begins my Patriots Journey.
I was always proud of the fact that both of my grandfathers, two of my uncles, and my own father served in the military. I also had several cousins and great uncles who served, but did not really know them well enough to have an impact on me.
My paternal grandfather retired from the Air Force as a Colonel. He had his medals and rank placed in a frame that I was mesmerized by every time I would visit their home. He was a member of the Hump Association. The Hump Association is a group of pilots who flew The Hump in the Himalayas from India through Burma to China during WWII. The cargo that that was carried over the Hump helped to carry on the war in the Pacific.
My maternal grandfather also served in the Air Force in the Pacific theater during WWII. I always enjoyed his stories of being stationed on different islands that were difficult for a child to find on a map. He was stationed in Japan shortly after their surrender in 1945.
My father served in the Army Infantry. He was stationed at Fort Dix and did not serve in a foreign theater.
My fathers brother served in Vietnam. He was a Warrant Officer and flew gunships and medivac helicopters with the Cav. I remember him telling the story of having an rpg round pass through the cargo area of one of his helicopters.
My other uncle was by marriage to my fathers sister. He served in the Navy during Vietnam. He served on a ship that conducted operations off of the coast of Vietnam. What I remember most about his stories are not the stories of battle, but in typical Navy fashion, his tales of shore leave in Hong Kong.
I am not trying to brag about the service of my family members. I am sure that there are many with higher ranking and larger numbers of family service. I am simply expressing my appreciation of the impact they had on my life as a citizen and soldier. It makes me proud to know that I followed in their footsteps.