On Monday, February 22nd, I became a member of the VFW local post 8053. I served 4 years in the United States Air Force and 7 years with the Air Force Reserves. Active duty, I flew on the MC-130E Combat Talon and in the Reserves, I flew on the C-141 Starlifter. During my tenure with the Air Force Reserves, I flew multiple missions during Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Most of these missions were flown “down range” into Saudi Arabia, departing out of either Germany or Spain. Because of these types of missions in a combat area and as a declared conflict, I was qualified to become a member of the VFW. I had heard about the VFW many times over the years, but I never realized what this organization stood for. They were the organization that lobbied for the creation of the Veterans Administration. Today, they have a fantastic mission to help all veterans, no matter what their affiliation with the VFW.
During my application process, I felt very honored knowing that not every service person has the opportunity to become a member of the VFW. Literally, it is reserved for those service members who had “boots on the ground” during a foreign war. The real honor came when I was accepted into the organization and every member of the post that was in attendance shook my hand and welcomed me in. How humbling it was to shake the hands with the rest of the members of the post and to look around. These men and women served during WWII, Korean War, Vietnam, Desert Storm, and Iraqi Enduring Freedom. Some of them in major battles where their best buddies were killed right in front of them. Yet, they are honorable today…still proud to be an American as a military veteran.
The decorum, honor, and love for our country runs deep with these veterans. It is my honor to be one of these comrades now and to be called “one of them”. As we go through the political process of electing a new president this year, the fact still remains that our freedom to have this right is because of our veterans. This blog post is meant to honor my brothers in arms and to simply say “thank you for your service”! For my Vietnam veterans, I want to say to you “Welcome home my friend, welcome home”.