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.