Saturday, May 20, 2017

Armed Forces Day — 2017

I am very proud to have stepped up to the plate and served my "adopted"  country. "Adopted,"  because I was born with duel citizenship. I could have avoided military service.

Trump, with his  his alleged "bone spurs,"  did not suffer enough to allow him to play football and squash. He was "healed" by some other than medications.

My first exposure to "military service" was as a Royal Canadian Sea Cadet (RCSC) back in the late 1950's when we lived in Prince Rupert.

I was a mere lad of 14 when I joined Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps. (RCSCC) Captain Cook. The program was designed for kids aged 12 through 19.  And I was gobsmacked to see the unit is still going strong more than a half century — 57 years later!

It was a great introduction into the concepts of honor, responsibility, accountability, and team work.  We learned precision drill formations. I learned how to break down and clean a .223 rifle, which we "qualified for  marksmanship" on the shooting range below our headquarters.

We got to ride HMCS corvettes whenever they cruised by Prince Rupert.

And we learned ropes, knots, and basic navigation skills. What a thrill for a young man to learn nautical skills and the meaning of "camaraderie."

I really enjoyed the experience! A notch up on my Cub Scout experiences, for sure!

How sad that we have an entire generation that lives in the basement of their parents, while I, at their age,was pulling duty in the USAF R.O.T.C. (ROT-see!)

Later I joined the USAF R.O.T.C. at Washington State University in 1962. Had I graduated, I could have earned a 2nd Luietnat bar upon graduation.

Neither event occurred.

An indelible memory of that experience took place in Bohler Hall, when the Wing Commander, in a massive stentorian voice yelled "Wing!" followed by subordinate group commanders "Garaa-ruppe" and a dozen squadron commanders "Squadrroon!" "Fall — out!" with more than 400 heels clicking together, echoing in that vast field house. (One of those things best experienced in person.)

(The observant reader will notice the thumbs tucked in the sea cadet photo; aligned with the crease in the ROTC uniform.)

By and by, I found myself as a basic recruit at Lackland Air Force Base.  And it was a totally different experience from the youthful camaraderie of the RCSCC and when you dazzled your college date in your ROTC (Rot-See) uniform. If you've served, you know what I am talking about!

Pictured here is what our T.I. (Technical Instructor) referred to as a "trained killer."  I found it hard to synchronize a Personnel Specialist as being a "trained killer."

Despite my experiences, I get confused over the differences between Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, and Veterans Day. So for my benefit, let's review:

•  Armed Forces Day is always held on the third Saturday of May. The first Armed Forces Day was celebrated on Saturday, May 20, 1950. The day is designed to expand public understanding the role of the military. It was also a day to honor and acknowledge Americans in the armed forces through base open houses, parades, even air shows. Armed Forces Day marks the close of Armed Forces Week.

•  Memorial Day, also held in May, is observed on the last Monday of May. Memorial Day — once known as "Declaration Day" — commemorates all men and women, who have died in military service for the United States. Memorial Day started as an event to honor Union soldiers, who had died during the American Civil War. It was inspired by the way people in the Southern states honored their dead.

After World War I, it was extended to include all men and women, who died in any war or military action. Many people visit cemeteries and memorials on Memorial Day. Traditionally seen as the start of the summer season.

•  Veterans Day is always observed on November 11th, regardless of what day of the week it falls on. Veterans Day commemorates the signing of the Armistice officially ending World War I — not WWII — which was signed on the 11th hour of the 11th month, 1918. Originally known as Armistice Day, intended to honor veterans of World War I.

Later amendments to the law included World War II, the Korean war, and finally, to honor all veterans, regardless of conflict, which brought in veterans of Viet Nam. And is generally taken to be the last day of summer.

Adapted from "WhatsupFagans."

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