Remembering those who died in service to their country
My time in the military feels like another life. It was pre-kids, so in many ways, it was a lifetime ago. Those who know me know that I am a strong advocate for military veterans and their families. Many of my students are prior military, and sharing their stories has helped me to reclaim mine.
When I told my mother I had enlisted in the Air Force, she cried. When I told her I was an aircrew member on the E-3 AWACS, she just knew I was going to die. I assured her that the E-3 was perfectly safe. It had never had a fatal crash.
I was both right and wrong. I survived my time in the military without injury, the E-3 was safe, yet they did have a fatal crash. One I cannot forget.
My last assignment in the Air Force was to the 962nd AWACS Squadron in Elmendorf (Anchorage), Alaska. A small squadron, everyone knew everyone, so when the news came on the radio that there had been a crash of an E-3 out of Elmendorf, I was stunned. Because I knew people on that plane. Because I had flown on that plane, from that base and squadron. Because it could have been me.
I was in Grapevine, Texas when I heard the news. Driving in my car across an overpass. The moment is a crystal clear snapshot. I was in shock.
Every once in awhile, an E-3 will do touch-and-goes near the local AFB and I will see the flash of the heavy black-and-white dome. That image transports me back to every good and bad thing that happened during my time in the military. It takes me back to that moment on the overpass when I heard the news.
Memorial Day is about remembering those who died in service to their country. Today I remember the crew of Yukla 27.
Funny story. During the Mercury Retrograde Incident in September 2016, Cindy's original blog disappeared. Five years, gone in a random act of chaos. Now she gets to repopulate her blog world one post at a time. Join her if you dare. :)
© Cindy Skaggs 2017