America pauses tomorrow (Nov 11th) to honor veterans. I am one of those, though I do not compare my service with other members of my family who saw action and were in harm's way. There were a couple of times I might have been placed there, but never was. I come from a family of service people. My grandfather was in the Army during WWI. He was headed for France when the war ended and his ship turned around. My father was in the Navy, serving in WWII. He was aboard ship in the South Pacific. As I grew up he didn't talk about it much, just a few stories. I know his ship was attached by a Kamikaze and torpedoed a US aircraft carrier which was burning so badly that it was giving their position away to the enemy. My two uncles also service. Uncle Dale was in the Navy as well, and Uncle Jim was a career Marine. My cousin, Doug was in the Army and I have two nephews presently in the Army. One, Philip has been to Iraq several times.
I served in VP 92, a reserve squadron stationed at NAS South Weymouth, MA. We flew two types of aircraft, the P2 Neptune (right) and the P3 Orion (pictured above). I was not a pilot, but was privileged to serve on the flight crew for both aircraft. My main job was as an engine mechanic. Much of the time I was assigned to the line shack, which was responsible for moving the airplanes around the air field, routine maintenance and inspections, fueling, etc. Later I was assigned to Work Center 110 repairing the engines.
Not particularly glamorous, but it was my job and I was pretty good at it. I learned a lot in the three years. (3 years 2 months and 15 days to be exact.) When I joined I was not very mechanical, when I got out I was a fairly decent one. One of the guys I worked with once said to me, "Thacker, you do good work. You don't do much, but what you do is good." I could life with that. I also learned a lot about command structure, about respecting people because of their rank and not their talents or smarts. There were many lessons learned (some I am still trying to unlearn) and life experiences which have served me well. I was glad to get out, to move on with my life, and ministry. Yet, I am proud to have served and know that I am a better person for serving.
Life lessons are always a part of our spiritual journey. All of us have done things, been places, learned lessons, been in bad spots and good spaces. Some events we are sorry ended, and others we would not repeat for anything. We are who we are as a Christian because of all the little moments, wonderful or terrible. We are who we are because of the people we have met, and friends we have made. We are all veterans of something. As believers, we are veterans of the Army of God.