Wings

There are many accomplished writers that contribute to Sunday Scribblings. I am not a writer by anyone's standards. I ramble, as my handle indicates. To me, writing is just throwing a bunch of stuff against the wall and hoping something sticks. I am not very deep or profound, as you will soon realize. But I have always enjoyed writing and this gives me a venue and a deadline, both of which I need. These are the first thoughts that came to me when I saw the prompt "Wings".


People that served in the military often spend the rest of their lives reliving and reminiscing about their time in uniform. They love to tell war stories, some factual, some exaggerated, but based on a true story, and some totally fabricated. I have met individuals who speak of their service in 'Nam, when chronologically they would have been about ten years old when the war ended in 1975. My experience has been that the real Viet Nam vets prefer not to discuss their in-country involvement at all. Too much pain to relive. I have a different reason for not discussing my military service very often. I do not discuss my experiences with nonmilitary folks, as they really can't relate and I don't wish to bore them. I do not hang out at the VFW or American Legion, though I am grateful for the 46 service organizations available to veterans. As a result, my post-military life has not put me in contact with many vets. When I see a Disabled Vet license plate or bumper sticker, I generally give quiet respect in the form of positive thoughts directed at them. If we make eye contact, I will give a little salute or nod. I can often see in their eyes that they understand and appreciate that simple gesture.

I retired from a 20 year Air Force career nearly 15 years ago. I joined in 1972 and was in Southeast Asia at the end of Viet Nam and retired in 1992, shortly after Desert Storm. My Air Force job did not require me to serve a combat role. For that I am grateful. Though I was trained in several weapons and explosives, I only fired at targets. I was excellent shooting things that stood still and could not return fire. My closest brush with actual combat were some bar brawls in the Philippines. I do not miss the military. I seldom actually think about it. I do not miss putting on a uniform each morning. I do not miss relocating at least every three years, though I am grateful for the opportunity to see much of the world that these travels afforded me. If you have read this far, you are obviously thinking, "what the hell does this have to do with wings?" I am getting to that. Bear with me.

Having spent most of my career on fighter installations. For those that are aeronotically challenged, those are the small, really fast planes. They make a distict sound, much different than an airliner or transport plane. For those of you that have been to a NASCAR race, the feeling of awesome power that those 43 cars create equates to that of a single fighter jet on a low-level pass. George Lucas tried to capture that power in the early Star Wars films with the roar of the Tie-Fighters and X-Wings. Never mind that there is no sound in space, it made the film exciting. When I am at a sporting event that features a flyover, my heart soars as those jets buzz the stadium. I love the flag, but nothing equals the patriotic pride I experience when I see a fighter pilot lighting the afterburners. So what do I miss about the Air Force? Wings.

I would enjoy communicating with anyone. Rick