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My Turn: Space Force joins military honor roll

by JACK EVENSIZER/Press Correspondent
| November 11, 2021 1:00 AM

Happy Veterans Day to us all!

Yep, it’s our day to celebrate and be recognized for service to our country. Veterans have the nicknames of Squids, Coasties, Jar Heads, Fly Boys and the ubiquitous Dog Faced Soldier.

We served honorably on the front lines of battle to secure the blessings of liberty and freedom for our great country and epitomize the last stanza of our national anthem, “The land of the Free, and the home of the Brave.”

This year we honor members of our new military department, the Space Force. Members are called Guardians, and Guardians who attend the Air Force Academy are called Space Cadets (tongue in cheek). I don’t know if there are any veterans in this group yet, but we honor those who served in the Space Program over the years.

For example, Alan Shepard orbited the earth in the Mercury space capsule in 1961, and the Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins landed on the moon in 1969. After the “Eagle” lunar lander touched down in the Sea of Tranquility, Armstrong reported to Houston command center of the landing: “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.”

Later, he descended the ladder’s rungs on the lunar lander and stepped onto the moon’s surface. Standing in moon dust, he said, “That’s one small step for man and one giant leap for mankind.” Indeed, these pioneers and all who have followed in the NASA space program deserve to be recognized today.

There are over 200 Military Occupational Specialties (MOS) in the armed services. All are important to the mission of our military, from the specialist in the mailroom to elite warriors. All serve a vital role in protecting this great country.

The machinist on a Navy cruiser keeps her moving on the high seas. The ship’s kitchen staff feeds the crew while keen eyes observe the horizon for incoming danger. The maintenance section relies on the Quartermaster for supplies, while the command staff holds their ship steady on a prescribed course. Every veteran has pride in their service and delights in telling friends and family of their adventures.

Speaking of adventures, one of the most revered aspects of being a veteran is telling war stories. They usually start with, “This one time,” or “That reminds me of the time ...” When a vet begins with one of these, eyeballs roll. Your listeners have heard it before.

But not today. No-siree, Bob. You can tell all the stories you want today, and eyeball rolling is not authorized. It’s in the Veteran’s Manual on page 92 in chapter 13. Look it up if you don’t believe me.

The manual was written to standardize the behavior of veterans, and Chapter 13 was included, so the telling of war stories is clarified. Just kidding, of course, but importantly, war stories are encouraged in group therapy to address PTSD. Talking about terrifying situations is a step in healing through the trauma that you endured. Only other vets who have been there can feel your pain.

So, my fellow vets, let’s stand-to and celebrate our day. We EARNED it!

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Jack Evensizer is a resident of Dalton Gardens and a veteran of the U.S. Army infantry.

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Courtesy photo

This large sword is on Saddam’s parade grounds.

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Courtesy photo