Memorial Day

2008 Memorial Day Poster #3.

It’s Memorial Day here in the U.S.A. It’s not appropriate to say “Happy Memorial Day”, for this is a truly solemn holiday. It’s the day each year that we honor our fallen heroes – those military personnel who served their country in a time of war – and who gave the ultimate sacrifice to keep our freedom strong. They gave their life.

This is not a day for those like me who once served in the U.S. Armed Forces, for I am still alive. My day is Veterans Day on November 11TH. It is not a day for those who are currently serving in the military. That day is Armed Forces Day – the 3RD Saturday of May.

On this day I remember our fallen heroes. I will never forget.

There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:13)

All rights reserved (c) 2020 Christopher M. Day, CountUp Ministries

My Last 2 Years On Active Duty Air Force

National Military Appreciation Month continues on this 3RD Thursday of the month with my own appreciation of my 35-year career with the United States Air Force. It’s no secret that I’m currently in the greatest 13-year era of my career. It started at the end of July of 2007, and it continues to this day. But there’s a runner-up to this great era, and that’s January 1991 to February 1993.

I was sent to war (Operation Desert Shield / Storm) as 1991 began. I didn’t volunteer for it. I’m actually quite antiwar. I was sent as punishment by my supervisors at the time. They didn’t like me, and they made life miserable for me. I threatened to report them for harassment. Before I could take action on that they sent me away to Saudi Arabia.

As it turns out my deployment overseas into the war zone turned out to be the turning point of my career back then. I was scared over there due to an uncertain future, but I also made new friends with fellow airmen from other bases, and I matured quite a bit in “Tent City” in the desert. I flopped at building fuel tanks, but I exceled at building bombs.

When I returned home to Homestead AFB after the war I was immediately sent home to my family near Washington D.C. for up to 30 days of uncharged “rest and recuperation” leave. When I returned to the base I met my brand new supervisor. You see my previous supervisor, and a few others as well – were relieved of their duties and sent away while I was away. I wasn’t informed of the specifics, but the outcome was great. There was even a reorganization of our squadron and flight structure. We even moved to a different building down towards the other end of the airfield. It continued the peak of my career at that time that started at wartime.

And then Hurricane Andrew destroyed the base. I became a “refugee” at Andrews AFB Maryland. I picked that base because it was my hometown base at the time – closest to my family. I really liked my supervisor and coworkers at my new base. They treated me nice. They respected me. I respected them. I informed them quite early on that I would not be reenlisting for a 3RD 4-year term in early-1993, so they had me for about 6 months to do what they wanted with me. They had me teach them everything I knew about the computer system and database that we managed and utilized in my career field at that time. They were so impressed that they had me teach the rest of the base as well. I was essentially a teacher for my 6 months there. They gave me a bunch of awards for my work during my short stay there – the most prominent of which hangs on my wall just above my computer workstation here.

My last duty day was the same day that the World Trade Center in New York City was bombed the first time around (Friday February 26TH 1993). We found out about the bombing via overhead TV sets at Pizza Hut where we had my farewell luncheon. I went on “terminal leave” for a month after that, and at the end of March I was officially out of the Air Force after nearly 8 years, or so I thought …

gray plane inside hangar
Photo by Kelly Lacy on Pexels.com

All rights reserved (c) 2020 Christopher M. Day, CountUp Ministries

Happy Armed Forces Week

armed-forces-week-military-benefits

It’s Thursday May 14TH 2020, and National Military Appreciation Month continues with Armed Forces Week (all this week), and that culminates this Saturday with Armed Forces Day. Unlike Memorial Day (later this month) and Veterans Day (in November) this is an opportunity for us to honor everyone who currently serves within our military.

I’m a few weeks away from celebrating my 35TH anniversary within the United States Air Force. I actually committed to 4 years of active duty service about a month into my Senior year in high school in 1984. 7 days after graduating from high school in June 1985 I was on my way to Lackland AFB in San Antonio Texas for 6½ weeks of Basic Military Training.

I’ve been living in or near Homestead Florida since the end of 1987, so 32 out of my 35 years in the Air Force. I work at Homestead ARB (formerly AFB prior to Hurricane Andrew). During the 19 months immediately after Hurricane Andrew (as the city and the base was being cleaned-up and rebuilt) I served at Andrews AFB Maryland and MacDill AFB in Tampa Florida.

My 35 years in the Air Force includes 26 years as a civilian. Prior to that I served 8 years on active duty and 6 years as a reservist (overlapping with the early years of my civil service).

Up until about the age of 16 I was supposed to go to college after high school and emerge with a degree in either Meteorology or Communications (radio and television). That didn’t happen, but here I am 35 years into an Air Force career at 53 years old. The Air Force determined that I was great at math, so they made me an analyst / statistician.

In the Air Force I’ve had some great years, some good years, some bad years, and some horrible years. There’s an entire 13-year era that was the worst of my career (and life). Thankfully I’ve followed that up with the best 13-year era of my career (and life) – where I am now. I’m ending this career on a high, and I’ve got about 3½ more years to go before I retire and move away from here.

To all of my fellow military service members – whether you are currently on active duty, a reservist, a civil servant, or a contractor working alongside all of the above – I thank you for all that you do with each new day.

All rights reserved (c) 2020 Christopher M. Day, CountUp Ministries

Facebook Revival

I was on Facebook for not quite 5 years – from 31 March 2013 to 31 December 2017. Before Facebook I was on WordPress and Twitter, and after Facebook – I’m on WordPress and Twitter. OK – I’m still on Facebook; although, I stopped posting new material on 31 December 2017. I’m only on there now to keep up with my friends and family – nearly all of whom are only on Facebook and nowhere else.

Lately though I’ve been enjoying somewhat of a Facebook revival. I’m essentially reminiscing on my 35-year United States Air Force career. I’m a member of groups of alumni of my:

  • Basic Military Training Squadron (at Lackland AFB Texas)
  • Technical Training Base (at Chanute AFB Illinois)
  • 1ST Permanent Duty Station (at RAF Fairford United Kingdom)
  • 2ND Permanent Duty Station (at Homestead AFB Florida)

The Lackland, Chanute, and Fairford alumni pages are lots of fun, and I enjoy seeing all of the photos of yesteryear and interacting with my colleagues of the era. Eventually someone is going to post a photo of me from back then. I’m looking forward to that. Those 3 bases represented my first 2 years and 5 months of my military career from June 1985 to October 1987.

The Homestead AFB page is a bit different. The photos from the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s are fun, but for the most part it’s a bunch of long-retired guys with somewhat faded memories chitchatting back and forth about how beautiful the base once was when it existed back then. Most of them have moved far away from Homestead and South Florida, and many of them don’t even think that the base exists today. Some who have recently visited the area surrounding the base think that it looks post-apocalyptic.

It’s actually a bit annoying to read at times because I’m still working there, I’ve been working there since 1987, and these days I have a little something to do with the beauty of the base and its upkeep. So I take it a little bit personal when I read disparaging remarks about my workplace then and now. I think I’m one of just a few members on that page that actually works on the beautiful and busy base today.

So I’m keeping up with my military career over on Facebook. It’s a whole lot more fun than the political hatred that some of my Facebook friends and family engage and indulge in.

military-appreciation-month-mb

May is National Military Appreciation Month here in the U.S., Armed Forces Week is May 10TH to 15TH, and Armed Forces Day is May 16TH. Throughout the month of May I’ll feature military-themed stories here on my blog.

All rights reserved (c) 2020 Christopher M. Day, CountUp Ministries

Veterans Day – Honoring All Who Served

On this 11TH day of the 11TH month we salute our military veterans – about 25 million of us living today – who served our country during a time of war or conflict.

Some of us were ordered to go to war by our superiours, and some enthusiastically volunteered to serve. Some of us were overwhelmed and celebrated by our fellow Americans when we returned stateside, and some were ignored, abandoned, disrespected, and hated. Some of us were proud of our challenging work overseas, and some were ashamed of it. Some of us have good memories of our experiences abroad, and some never recovered from the hell on earth that they lived through. Some of us returned back home again to our friends and family armed with vivid war stories, and some returned back home lifeless in a casket.

On this day – and every day of the year – we should never forget our veterans. We are the reason why this free nation – The United States Of America – exists today. You may not agree with our reasons to be at war, but you should never take out your disagreement with national policy on those who served – on those who fought for your freedom to disagree. Let us always honor all who served. Let that honor be expressed in more than mere words.

Chris M. Day, USAF
Veteran, Operation Desert Shield & Operation Desert Storm
Tent W-23, Al Kharj Air Base, Saudi Arabia
05 January 1991 – 09 March 1991