better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though
checkered by failure than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy
much nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows not
victory nor defeat"
There's nothing all that remarkable about my life except my
wonderful family. Scan on down through my page and you'll find more about
my family and I than you probably ever wanted to know!
n the 50s and early 60s,
the town I lived in, even though a south suburbs of Chicago, had a nice, safe,
small-town feel to it. I had what I believed to be an ideal childhood and
most of the things all other boys did. I had loving parents who were
involved in my activities, a dog, and friends on my block that I played with.
I was a Cub Scout, Boy Scout, and Explorer and my parents participated in many
Scouting events with me. The picture at right is me with my day at a scout
When I was in about 5th
grade, my Dad started taking me to the local YMCA on Saturdays for swimming and
wrestling classes and I found that I was pretty good at wrestling. I also
loved football and we played sand-lot touch and tackle football almost every
Saturday afternoon during the Fall.
My grade school didn't have much
to offer in the way of sports except Basketball, which I was terrible at, but
when I went to High School, I played football and wrestled all four years.
Both my Mom and Dad attended almost all of the football games and wrestling
matches. My parents were not particularly well off and luckily, I got a
partial scholarship for football and wrestling at the local Junior College so,
after High School, I went there.
My wife was born in
Massachusetts where she lived for the first nine years of her life. In 1959 her father
was transferred to Chicago and they settled in Oak Forest,
which was just west
of the town I lived in.
Hilary and I met in mid May of 1966.
I was finishing my first year of college and I'd already enlisted in the Marines
on the delayed entry program. Hilary was finishing her Sophomore year of
High School and was car-hopping at the Oak Forest Dog n' Suds drive in, which is
where we met.
It was love at first
sight for me and we dated all summer until I left for Marine Boot Camp. We
continued dating whenever I was home on leave and she waited for me through my
training, Vietnam, and post Vietnam assignments until I was discharged.
In August of 1969 we
were married and celebrated our 45th Anniversary on 9 Aug 2014. In that
four decades+ we raised three wonderful daughters and have four terrific
grandchildren......and another on the way.
MILITARY ROUND 1...THE CORPS
As I mentioned above, I was
hardly what one might call a serious student my first year of college (the
65-66 school year). I spent more time in the Student Union or "hanging
out" than I did in classes, particularly after the wrestling season was
over. I had already decided that school was not for me at that point in my
life and knew that I'd be leaving at the end of the school year, one way
or the other.
Of course then I would be
eligible for the draft. I was bored and looking for a little excitement
but I didn't think the Army was the right place to find it. So, in the
first week of May 1966 I enlisted in the Marines on delayed entry program
with a couple of school buddies.
I found more excitement than I
could imagine much sooner than I expected. In early1967 I was shipped out
to Vietnam for what would be an extended combat tour as a Recon Marine.
Click the emblem for
pictures from my Vietnam tour.
After the Marines, I
returned home to Chicago and, as I
mentioned above, married the girl of my dreams in Aug of 1969. I
also decided that
perhaps college was not all that bad a thing. I applied for
to the Junior College I'd attended unsuccessfully after High School and
went back to school (nights) to finish the Associate's Degree that I'd
left unfinished when I enlisted in the Marines.
The picture above was
at our wedding reception
The one above is my
wife of just over a year at the
me, taken around Oct 70.
By 1978, I'd become bored and disillusioned with law enforcement and,
still trying to find out what I wanted to do when I "grew up," I started
looking for something new and rewarding.
"New" turned out to be a new twist on something old. After being
told by the Marine
officer recruiters that, at 30 years of age, I was too old to return to my
beloved Marine Corps. I didn't give up on returning to the military
and a couple months later I tried the Air Force. To my great relief,
they told me that I could get an age waiver and could become a commissioned
officer. Just after my 32nd birthday, I entered Air Force Officer
Training School and, three months later emerged as what I like to call "the
world's oldest Air Force 2nd Lt." The picture at right was taken about
the time I was promoted to 1st Lieutenant.
Guess it worked out; I spent a total of 29+ years on active duty (including
my Marine time) on active duty. In the process, we raised three great
We moved a couple
times in the early Air Force years and my model building sort of went into
remission until we got our first Pentagon assignment in 1987. We
arrived in Washington DC on 3 Jul and when I reported in to my work section,
I met the guy who was to become my dearest friend; Ed Robbeloth.
He told me I had arrived just in time for the IPMS National Convention that
was being held in Washington in 1987. He took me there and introduced
me to IPMS Northern Virginia Modelers. With the exception of a 9-month
deployment to the Gulf War, I enjoyed four years with that club before being
transferred to South Carolina in Aug 91.
In early August of 1990, I
deployed to the Gulf war with Special Operations Command, Central (SOCCENT)
and spent almost nine months in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and briefly Iraq.
After the war, I returned to finish my tour at the Pentagon.
My Gulf War Photos
Aug 91, I transferred to USCENTAF at Shaw AFB SC where I
another four years traveling to many
of the Middle-East "garden spots" such as Egypt, Yemen, Somalia,
Saudi Arabia, Kuwait; Qatar, etc. I was TDY
a lot but during the time at home four other fellow AF modelers and I (pictured at right) to
founded the IPMS Gamecocks chapter in Sumter.
considerable interest in Sumter's civilian community as well and, as a
result, the club continues to thrive long after the five of us moved on.
Above right: Founders of IPMS Gamecocks (deployed again!), Saudi
Arabia, Oct 1994. Left to right: Me, Alex Tratensek, Mike VanBieber,
Chuck Holtie, and Mike Mattei
After my tour at USCENTAF, I returned to the Pentagon and back to IPMS Northern
Virginia Modelers and have been with then ever since.
After about three years on the Air Staff I moved to the Joint Staff where I was the
Commander of the Iraq Task Force and did another tour jousting with
Saddam. This time, however, unlike my time at CENTAF I did it from Washington DC
rather than in the desert. I finally came to
the belief that I'd wasted enough time
on Saddam and the seemingly endless cycle of confrontation. I decided to,
in the words of the immortal Doc Holliday, "seek my entertainment elsewhere."
In 2000 I was lucky enough to land an assignment to the Office of the
Secretary of Defense working POW/MIA issues and I couldn't be happier. The
hours are definitely better. More importantly, the mission feels much more
rewarding to me. There is still some hard work involved. The issue
is definitely fraught with political minefields and frustration but, when you're
able to give a family some info on a missing loved one, you just can't beat the
feeling......it overshadows just about everything else.
We're pretty much settled on northern Virginia now and I don't
intend to move again. I like what I'm doing and Hilary is settled into a
good job here as a nursing superintendent. The kids all live in the area,
as does our grandson and granddaughter. The baggage that would go with
promotion to Colonel (frequent moves, political maneuvering, long hours,
excessive stress, etc) just didn't seem worth it to me any more and I told the
General I wasn't interested in promotion.
In 2004 I had the distinct honor of being recommended for membership in
China Post #1of the American Legion. China Post 1 is one of the oldest
American Legion posts in the world, formed in 1919 after the "Great War" in
China and was officially chartered by the American Legion in 1920. In
order to gain membership, one must normally be recommended. I was lucky
enough to be sponsored by Col (ret)
Hal Fischer, a double Ace (10 kills) F-86 pilot from the Korean
War (sadly, Col Hal Fischer passed away in May of 2009), and retired Lt Col Paul Mather,
a friend and tireless, long-time worker in the Southeast Asia POW/MIA field.
|On 1 June 2006, I
turned another page in my life when I retired from active duty with over 29
years of total military service (including Marine Corps enlisted and Air
Force officer time). I had a good run of it and thoroughly enjoyed my time in the
military serving this great country of ours. It certainly didn't make
me rich but it provided other non-financial rewards that I wouldn't trade for
Luckily, I was able to take a civilian job in the same office I was working
in as a military officer and will continue to serve her in this new
capacity. Now we'll see what the future has to hold for my family and
me as we move ahead with this next phase of our lives.
JUST FOR FUN
of my hobbies is building plastic scale models. I started building
them in the mid 50s with my dad. I built lots of airplanes in those
early years and, once they'd reached their maximum "shelf life" they were
usually blown apart with firecrackers or shot up with a B-B gun.
During my later high school years model building took a back seat to
sports, girls oh, yeah, and
schoolwork. I got back into it in the 70s, building mostly armor
Later I switched over to
aircraft. Check my modeling pages at the link
below to find out more about my model building, and to see pics of see some of
the models I've built. Click on the aircraft picture to go to my models
Since the first time
I saw a (then new) Mercedes SL in the early 1970s, I loved the style and wanted one
(but could never afford it). In
early July of 2009 I fulfilled a 35+ year old dream and bought an SL. Below is a picture of
my new toy; a 1989 Mercedes Benz 560SL.
Click on the Mercedes logo for more pictures.
I'm a fall kinda' guy. With the exception of the short period approaching Christmas
through New Years, winter is just gray and oppressive for me,
particularly January through the late March. It seems to just drag on
and on. Spring is OK but it stays
cool and damp longer than I'd like. Summer is also pretty good except for the
oppressive heat and humidity.
But the best thing I like about Summer is that it's the
prelude to Fall and, of course..........
Click the pumpkin to go to
my Fall/Halloween pages.
Below I'm remembering of some Recon Marines and
Corpsmen who gave their last full measure for their country
Pfc ARTHUR WILLIE GREENE
20 JAN 67
1st Lt ERIC M. BARNES
26 MAR 67
SSgt GODFRIED BLANKENSHIP
26 MAR 67
Pfc MICHAEL RAY SMITH
13 MAY 67
Pfc ERVIN LOVELL
14 MAY 67
L/Cpl RONALD F. KITZKE
27 DEC 67
HM-2 MICHAEL L.
2 SEP 67
L/Cpl CHARLES E. HARRIS
14 JAN 68
HM-3 ROBERT LOUIS TRACY
18 JAN 68
L/Cpl MICHAEL G. MURDOCK
1 FEB 68
Sgt J. J.
3 JUL 68
Here are remembrances dedicated to my wife's uncle and father.
Click on the names to go to each page.
S/SGT Westley M.
SGT Arthur B. Field
FINALLY...A COUPLE MORE OF MY
TEDDY ROOSEVELT QUOTES
man who is good enough to shed his blood for his country is good enough to
be given a square deal afterwards. More than that no man is entitled, and
less than that no man shall have."
"There is not in all America a more dangerous
trait than the deification of mere smartness unaccompanied by any sense of
American is to amount to anything he must rely upon himself, and not upon
the State; he must take pride in his own work, instead of sitting idle to
envy the luck of others. He must face life with resolute courage, win
victory if he can, and accept defeat if he must, without seeking to place
on his fellow man a responsibility which is not theirs."
watchwords of all our people be the old familiar watchwords of honesty,
decency, fair-dealing, and commonsense."... "We must treat each man on his
worth and merits as a man. We must see that each is given a square deal,
because he is entitled to no more and should receive no less." "The
welfare of each of us is dependent fundamentally upon the welfare of all
are good men and bad men of all nationalities, creeds and colors; and if
this world of ours is ever to become what we hope some day it may become,
it must be by the general recognition that the man's heart and soul, the
man's worth and actions, determine his standing."
"It is no use to preach to [children] if you do not act decently yourself."
"I want to see you shoot the way you shout."
(in current vernacular...Lets' see if your actions match your words)
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