2004/09/14

More than you ever wanted to know about me

I just discovered that even though the form you fill out to create a Blogger profile says "Write as little or as much as you'd like," when you try to do that they turn around and tell you "Must have at most 1200 characters." I guess I'll post this here, then put a link to it somewhere near the Profile block on my sidebar.
------------
The picture in the corner of my blog is me with my reasons for living, and my reasons for caring so much about the upcoming election. I want my daughter and grandson to live long happy lives; Nothing in this world is more important to me than that.


I was born 2 miles outside of a little southern Illinois town you've never heard of, and moved at the age of 7 to within walking distance of a bigger town you still haven't heard of. In the spring of my sophomore year at the University of Illinois, President Nixon sent U.S. troops into Cambodia, the Ohio National Guard murdered 4 students at Kent State, people were marching around with signs saying "If you aren't part of the solution you're part of the problem," and school just didn't seem "relevant" any more. So, I enlisted.

After USAF Basic Training and tech school I was stationed for a few months at Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, feeling like I still wasn't really doing my share. Next stop: Viet Nam. I spent 6 months pushing papers at Cam Rahn Bay Air Base, which was turned over to the Vietnamese in the late spring of 1972. Less than 2 days before I expected to be back in The World, I found out that, due to the '72 Tet Offensive, I was going to be spending at least 90 days TDY in Saigon. At that point, due to problems on the home front (which Jean Fraud Kerry and his slimy ilk helped fuel), I developed a sincere death wish and volunteered for an Aerial Port Mobility ("Bare Base") team to get a little closer to the action. -- Try to imagine, if you can, what it would feel like to have missed one of the doomed 9/11 flights due to a traffic jam or a flat tire. I was supposed to be on a C-130 that no one walked away from at Kontum, a damned site closer to Cambodia than John Kerry's ever been, but God didn't want me and Satan wasn't ready for me. I guess God had plans for my daughter and grandson, because I've yet to accomplish anything grand enough personally to justify my continued existence.

By the time I was discharged from the Air Force, 3 months early due to congressionally mandated budget cuts, Texas seemed a lot more like home than Illinois did, and I ended up getting a BSEE with Highest Honors (That's Texan for "summa cum laude") from The University of Texas in Austin. From there I moved to Fort Worth to work for Motorola for a while, then to the St Louis area to work for a now-defunct defense contractor, then to Cedar Rapids to work for Rockwell International. Along the way I was blessed with a beautiful intelligent daughter, picked up a Master of Engineering in EE degree from the University of Texas at Arlington, got divorced, remarried, and divorced again.

When the defense market contracted at the end of the Cold War, I was one of a huge number of perfectly good engineers who were given the opportunity to "explore opportunities in other areas." After a few month of living hand-to-mouth on savings and an occasional temp agency job, I did OK for a while on a couple of by-the-job computer programming gigs, then spent just over 8 years doing technical support for some big names I'd still be violating non-disclosure agreements if I identified. (Let's just say that some major software and hardware houses have been *outsourcing* their support since way before they started *offshoring* their support.) Eventually a lot of the big houses decided that people in parts of Canada sounded "American" enough to take their phone calls and some people in India could pass for American in an email or IM environment, and I found myself back on the streets, only this time with health problems serious enough to keep me from finding anything else anytime very soon. So, I'm back in Illinois sponging off family while I wait to see if the VA is eventually going to help enough with my health problems to allow me to be able to support myself again. In the mean time, my biggest contribution to society will be using my blog to do everything I can to steer other peoples thinking in the right direction.

Update: Things have taken a turn for the worse: A Post I Really Am Not Enjoying Writing

10 Comments:

At 8:48 PM, Blogger Sergeant America said...

Bill, I'll walk with ya' while......


Thanks for sharing. Those of our generation that have actually have done a few things in life, felt the pangs of personal relationships go to those southern extremes and now find themselves sometimes on the outside, looking in; will also appreciate your candor. I know I do...A shared thought around the "modern day cracker barrel" and feeling the warmth of its "telling" may just show some appreciation to those, their elder. My parents and in-laws have long since passed...now I find myself in their enviable role...counselor to many; confessor to none. The tribal atmosphere of native tribal peoples has a lot to be said about its structure. Once upon a time, age did matter...Now, as we both find the twilight of our years beckoning; I hope others can benefit from our mistakes as well as our successes. I miss the cold mornings of Amarillo, falling out for chow at 0430 with the chow runner making our journey to the mess hall something more than just a march. I miss the open bay barracks of Panama and the two seasons...wet and dry. I miss March AFB, with the sight and sound of B-52's rattling windows in the barracks and trailing eight black ribbons of coal black exhaust turning into contrails in the morning sky. I miss their return from Guam, rolling in at tree top height and roaring like demon with his ass on fire...Four years with an "early out" seemed so long while trying to adjust to the stress of being an Airman Basic, assignment to the 605th Air Commando Squadron and finally; Training Device Administrator (SAC). Looking forward to my DOS was my main thought in life. Fending off "Lifers" wanting to channel me into a career was a daily occurrence. Being, "Damned Good at Something," has always been a cross to bear. My modesty overwhelms me...



Getting "out" in January 1970 never turned into the watershed event I thought it would. Basically spending the rest of my life in the employ of the U. S. Postal Service; until my retirement, was the rest of my life's journey thus far with the blessing of three sons, my only wife and seven grandchildren...I went "Postal;" before "Postal" was considered...being a near sociopath...LOL! Now I take my meds, wonder what I coulda' been and enjoy the life that God has given me...I don't think I would change it; if I could...Cheers!


Mike



Note to Dan Blather: Ya' can't use superscripts posting a comment ta' Blogger...either!

 
At 9:45 PM, Blogger Bill Faith said...

Thanks, Mike. It's good to have friends who understand.

btw, if you look at the "VA" about 5 lines above the end of my post, you can almost convince yourself that Blogger kerns, but if you take a screen shot and magnify it you see that it doesn't, although there is absolutely no horizontal seperation between the right edge of the V and the left edge of the A.

 
At 2:30 AM, Blogger Lunaris Victoria said...

Wow...I feel like I know you a little better now. It's sad, to me, that our vets are having any sort of difficulty in life. Of course, John Kerry is probably the biggest reason for it.

Can't say I understand how you feel though. Wish I could, but I wasn't in the war, and I'm not old enough. I wasn't even born when the war was happening. All I really know about it is my uncle lost two brothers in it, and my grandpa was exempt from it due to an allergic reaction to the uniforms at the time.

I guess I'm glad for that though. My life wouldn't have been the same if he'd died.

I'm glad we have our vets though. It'd be better if we never had to face the reality of war, but unfortunately that's not a possibility. And you all prove it. Everyone wants an end to war, or a sensitive war, and to me you all are the living, breathing proof that such things just can not be.

So even though I know that isn't the warmest thank you, I really don't think there is a better way to put my feelings. I mean it as a thank you. A thank you for serving our country despite the homefront issues. Thank you for fighting for us. Just...thank you.

It's been a pleasure reading from the both of you, Bill and America. Thank you for sharing.

Ta-ta

Lunaris

 
At 3:18 AM, Blogger Bill Faith said...

Thank you, Lunaris. Don't try to understand. Just knowing people like you and Mike care is enough. My generation is finally being told "Welcome home," and it matters. I wish we lived in a world where no one would ever have to understand again, but we aren't there yet. I'm counting on people like you to help see to it that this generation's warriors are treated a lot differently when they come home than my generation's were. Thank you for helping with that.

 
At 10:44 AM, Blogger willowfae said...

Thank you for posting this. I think I always had the impression growing up that you didn't want to talk about your time in the military. That may have been a misperception, and if so, I am sorry that I never asked. I am glad that I am finally getting to learn more about you. Please know that I am proud to be your daughter (for a lot of reasons) and that I am grateful to you and everyone else who has fought to defend my freedom. Even if I am against war, I am in full support of the brave souls who make up our military.

 
At 4:52 PM, Blogger Bill Faith said...

I just sent willowfae the following email in response to her comment:

I love you. Thank you for being interested. I hope you also noticed the part of the post that said how important you and Ian are to me. When you were growing up, Viet Nam was too recent and you were too young -- there was just no way we could have talked about it. If you look at my post you commented on, then follow some of the links in my blog to things like Kerry's book and his Senate testimony, maybe you'll be a little closer to understanding why so many guys my age hate him so much and why we'll never trust him.

I love you. Be happy.
-- Daddy

 
At 7:03 PM, Blogger Tom said...

As tempted as I am to write a long note, i would like to just say "Thanks for your service and your example".

 
At 7:18 PM, Blogger Bill Faith said...

Thank you, Tom. And please feel free to leave as long a comment as you'd like in the future.

 
At 9:48 AM, Blogger H-Dog said...

Bill, thanks for your service. Good blog.

BTW, I have probably heard of your small IL towns. I grew up in the Lawrenceville area. Well close to it anyway. Ever heard of Toledo or Greenup?

Now I live in the big city of Effingham and have a blog of my own. Check it out some time.

 
At 12:08 AM, Blogger Beth said...

Hi Bill,
You absolutely should not feel uncomfortable putting up a bleg (tip jar!); you know every blogger in the world does it, including me!
Anyway, I wish you and pray for the best with your health, and that of your sister.
I'm not a "boomer," but I can relate a LITTLE to your situation, as I was medically retired from the AF in 1996, and I'm getting VA disability. Have you checked into help from the DAV (www.dav.org) on your VA compensation? I never did, but maybe someday...I've been told they'll help cut through the red tape.

No thanks to Hanoi John F'ing Kerry, but thanks to YOU, we DID WIN the Vietnam War. To quote John O'Sullivan from National Review Online,
"U.S. intervention in Vietnam was a major factor is achieving the West's overall victory in the Cold War. It held the line while freedom and prosperity were established in non-Communist Asia — and that provided the rest of the world, including the evil empire itself, with a "demonstration effect" of how freedom led to prosperity."

So, thank you. :-)

Love your blog, and your grandson!!!

 

Post a Comment

<< Home