Sunday, November 13, 2011

VETERAN STORIES

Hope everyone had a great Veterans Day weekend.


Land Run and the new novel both include characters with military history. In Land Run some of the characters have interesting back-stories in WWII and Desert Storm. For the new novel – a Ukrainian character has a back-story of Afghanistan (his Soviet days).

Today I am watching a Weather Channel show that is covering the Coast Guard station in Kodiak Alaska. It’s a lot better than much of my memories of there ;-) But there was something in this show I had forgotten about the military. These guys were running rescue drills in the pool while their Chief yelled at them about this or that. Then the Chief pulls them all aside to describe the mistakes they had made. After that he asked them, “how many mistakes are we allowed to make?”
“Zero, Chief!” they said.
“That’s right! Drop and give me twenty!”


1 in 5 will graduate from that school. Even in basic training we started with 100 and graduated with 36.

No mistakes. That is so impossible. But it really is the mind-set we all had in the field…every day and for every task. And we did make few mistakes.

Even though it is so unrealistic a demand of people…the pure belief in this saves lives and wins battles. In their tasks – there really is little room for mistakes.

I would have to say that this mind-set I had for 5 years informed and impacted my working life, and real life, for the following 20 years. Failure in task never seems to enter in to my thinking. In fact, probably any success that is found in my life – I can mostly give credit, for my part, to my short-sightedness. :-) (but I am working on lightening up nowadays)


There are so many stories, you know. Here is one I love. When I was 10 years old my uncle Bob got in the local paper. This is what happened:

He had spent 4 solid years in the Pacific fighting from island to island. After the war he came back home and became an electrician. Then 30 years later the Pentagon was going over their records and found that they owed him 36 medals. These included multiple purple hearts, two bronze stars, a silver star, and on and on. But included in this package was a bill for $80.

It seems that on whatever island he was on at the time – when he heard that the war was over he walked to the beach and through his M-1 rifle into the ocean. Someone had seen him do it and reported him. So the Pentagon wanted their $80 back for the rifle (I guess the 1945 price?) Crazy stuff.

If you have stories – please add them to comments.

Happy Veterans Day!