Friday, October 28, 2011

28 OCT 11

This blog entry is in response to a question asked on the U.S. Army's facebook page.

 Fill in the blank:
"The nicest thing someone has done for me (or that I have done for someone else) in uniform is ______________."

I'd like to answer with a short tale.
Ten months into a two-year tour and I was taking my wife and two infant children home, to CONUS, from Japan. The plan was to fly military Space-A from Tokyo to Travis AFB, CA. We'd figure out how to go the rest of the way to the East Coast from there. I was burning up leave days that I couldn't really afford waiting for a flight out. We were living out of suitcases in the Yokota AFB terminal waiting room. Finally, a flight out of Japan was available but it was to Hickam AFB, HI. I was being forced into buying tickets for the family, on commercial transport, from Hawaii to CONUS. I had to use an AAFES vendor's travel office that was located there, in the Yakota terminal. One problem emerged... because of my rank (E-4), I needed an officer to co-sign for the purchase. (The airfare was treated as a loan.) While waiting in the terminal, I'd struck up a conversation with a USAF captain. He was traveling, with his wife, on a PCS move. He'd noticed my campaign ribbons and had asked where I'd been in Vietnam. He told me that he'd overflown Vietnam, ferrying F-4 Phantoms, but never served there. When he overheard the vendor tell me about needing an officer as co-signer, he stepped right up and volunteered. He didn't know me from his elbow but was caring enough to help me. I cannot, this day, remember his name, only his deed. I try to emulate him, daily, in my dealings with people.

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