Friday, November 11, 2016

A Veteran's Day Tribute

My father-in-law died recently. He served in the Navy during WWII in the South Pacific in underwater demolition. He was very proud to have served and loved this country to the "Nth" degree.
He always wore his Navy cap. Many times, especially in restaurants, people came up to him and thanked him for his service. More than a few times, people paid his check for him, many anonymously.
He was active in his community, was a very giving person and was loved by many. To him, though, his greatest accomplishment was serving this country in a time of need.
My hat is off to you, Thomas Charles MacKimmie, for your contribution to the United States of America.


Fredd said...

Both my father and father-in-law served in the U.S. Army. Dad was part of the mop-up forces sent to Germany shortly after the shooting stopped in WWII. Dad-in-law was a comms specialist in the early 1950's in southern Germany, part of the occupational forces.

And I served in the U.S. Army from 1974 through 1986, though nobody ever shot at me (thank God). I was fortunate to serve during the Cold War, in between the hot combat of Vietnam and the Gulf Wars. I don't ever feel like I missed out not being in combat.

Joe said...

Fredd: You certainly didn't miss out. Service is service, whether in combat or not. You are to be thanked for your service with the same passion as would be offered someone who endured combat.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Great video. Condolences on the loss of your father-in-law. Sounds like a real tough guy to be with the UDT.

My father-in-law was the first one on his side of the family, direct lineage, to serve since the civil war when his great-grandfather was a Confederate medic. He joined the Navy right at the end of WWII after high school graduation. They didn't keep him long due to the end of the war, so he went to college and got his electrical engineering degree and spent his career working research and development with the USAF at Wright-Patterson AFB. They sent him all over the world, including spying on particular countries' radar systems (while developing anti-radar missiles), and observer in the 6-day war in Israel. When the Soviet pilot defected with a MiG-25 to Japan, he is the one who they sent to examine the avionics. He was on the ground floor of GPS development, designed gunsights for the AC-47 and AC-119 gunships and developed the homing devices for anti-radar missiles. Just a few of his accomplishments as a civilian working for the military. He died two years ago.

I am the first in my direct line to join the military since my great-great-grandfather, who was commanding officer of Company F, 113th Ohio Volunteer Infantry when he marched to the sea with Sherman. Of course he was in many early nasty battles and got a battlefield commission when most of his unit was wiped out; they sent him home to recruit (and that's when my great-grandfather was conceived) and then join Sherman's army.

As I've noted before, I joined the Army while a senior in high school (120 day delayed entry) two months before I turned 18. Went active duty June 1970 and by the time I finished Basic training, combat engineer training, and jump school, they had just stopped sending people to Vietnam. So I started my career at Ft. Bragg. Due to levies for Germany coming down while I was working on my commercial pilot rating at the flying club, I took an early discharge and re-enlisted to guarantee a year of current assignment so I could finish my course before going anywhere, and ended up staying at Bragg for the duration of my 4 yrs 8 months active.

I've always felt a wee bit guilting about not going to Vietnam -- had really wanted to at the time. We did come close to combat deployment in October 1973 with the Yom Kippur War. Locked down in the company area with weapons, ammo, and all other full combat gear, with the trucks full of parachutes parked in the company streets and C-141 transports on the ramp at Pope AFB; sat that way for a week or so before Israel told us they didn't need us after all!