11 November 2009

The Officer & The NCO

The Major is on your left. The NCO is on the right. I worked for both of these men and they came from very different places. The Major was from New York City. Erudite and sophisticated...we both shared very close quarters for a 30 day exercise where he told me drinking stories from his college days and shared his future plans with me - - which didn't include the Army. Jump Pay: $110 a month

The Master Sergeant was from Arkansas. That unlit cigar you see never left his mouth and when added to his accent made him impossible to understand. He was the best jumpmaster I ever had and while every jump scared the shit outta me - - I always felt safe with him. He didn't have stories about college but stories were told about his dark drinking days in Vietnam and Germany which were long past. Jump Pay: $55 a month

The four years I spent in the Army do not qualify me as a veteran. With hindsight, they were some the most formative years of my life thanks to men like these and for that I owe the Army. But I also realize I was lucky and someone was watching out for me. And that's as it should be. After all, it was the family business.

13 comments:

Tin-tin's phred/dad said...

Not a veteran? On the contrary! You joined as an 18 year old kid and in four years matured into a savvy adult. As an experienced Airborne soldier and Sgt, you didn't then and don't now have to prove yourself to anyone.
An enviable background when you then went to college as an adult, not just a punk high school kid with no real world experience.
Good on ye'

Anonymous said...

Understood you don't view yourself as a vet, but on this Veteran's Day I'd just like to say thank you for your service to our great nation, sir.

-DB

M.Lane said...

What a great post. Thanks.

ML

Anonymous said...

Are you sure you're not a vet? I thought you only had to serve 180 days. what's the criteria?

KLS said...
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tintin said...

Dad, It was more like camp...except the jumpin stuff.

DB- I won the Cold War.

ML- Those are two great men in that pic as well the one who looked after me.

Anon- I have no idea. I served four years. But 'time served' is not my point.

Jade said...

just got done reading all the archives. i found u from trad on Veteran's Day. my boyfriend served in the air force and i've since met many veteran friends of his. both sides of my parents "voted with their feet" in 1954 with dad later getting thrown in prison for 6 months for working as an interpetor for the Army. although i'm very proud of my heritage, meeting veterans through my bf and "meeting" so many through your blog, i'm filled with awe for the patriotism and the bravery. a word of thanks for the my first multi-dimensional blog read. and another thanks for all the wisdom and sensitivity i've garnered from everyone's input. i come here when i want to be reminded of a world beyond my myopia. thank you, All!

tintin said...

Jade-
Thank you. Not only for reading the Brat but for for your words and time you took. It inspires me to do more here.

Tin-tin's phred/dad said...

It was the "jumpin" stuff that first separated us from the common herd. Treasure your Canadian wings. They're rare. Later, to many, came Ranger, SF, SOG and other so-called "elite" and glamorous adventures. I've always favored a Roman quotation favored by George Patton: "...all glory is fleeting."

Easy and Elegant Life said...

You volunteered. And that meant for anything that the Army decided you were to do. Whenever, where ever.

That makes you a veteran and a man who stands just a bit taller than the rest of us in my book.

But I'm an Army brat.

KLS said...
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Easy and Elegant Life said...

KLS, wouldn't have traded it for the world in hindsight.

But consider, my Dad only did one tour in Viet Nam. And Army posts... lot different from most Marine bases. "Luxury" springs to mind. (San Diego aside.) We were posted to The Canal Zone and the Netherlands and returned Stateside by the time I was 9. Different times. Different service. But the travel is an education in itself and almost always is worth it. (I still marvel when I settle anywhere for more than four years and see the same people for more than two...)

KLS said...
This comment has been removed by the author.