Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. One Final Military Thanksgiving

 

Today marks my final Thanksgiving Day in uniform. I have spent it largely alone, as the Middle East dust has been playing Old Harry with my sinuses, sharply limiting my opportunities for fellowship. I did make an exception to go serve the troops at the dining facility, or “DFAC” in our military lingo. I was entrusted with the corn-on-the-cob, collard greens and gravy. They kept me away from the carving knives, which was probably the right call, manual dexterity not being my strong suit.

I can’t help but feel a bit nostalgic–indeed, thankful–as I tic off each of these “lasts” through this final year on active duty, an extraordinarily fulfilling 35-year adventure from start to finish. The Air Force collected me from a disastrous early college experience, gave me a trade and sufficient structure to get me through those undisciplined early adult years, and then let me go back to school once I’d grown up enough to handle it. It sent me to amazing places and introduced me to even more amazing people–including my lifelong friend and soul-mate, who willingly signed up for the rest of the journey.

The Air Force also gave me the chance to have incredible experiences, some carefully planned but most completely unexpected. I have briefed Congressional delegations and cabinet secretaries, organized Presidential visits abroad, and flown with an allied Prime Minister to the deck of an American aircraft carrier. I’ve walked to the summit of Mount Fuji, upon the ancient birthplace of Abraham, through what’s left of the Hanoi Hilton, and beneath the “Arbeit Macht Frei” gate at Auschwitz. I have marched down Constitution Avenue on the Fourth of July and laid our veterans–including one U.S. Senator–to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. I have lived through typhoons, earthquakes, coup attempts, insurgent attacks, Australian bushfires, and a Philippine volcanic eruption. I’ve been evacuated from one country by air and another by sea. I have organized medical outreach missions in developing countries, as well as urban outreach projects in Southeast DC.

All this in just three and a half decades! For this and so much more, I am deeply thankful this year–this final Thanksgiving in uniform.

Published in Military
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  1. Arahant Member

    God bless that, even in a new relationship with your country, the adventures continue.

    • #1
    • November 26, 2020, at 4:05 AM PST
    • 12 likes
  2. Jules PA Member

    Thank you for your service.

    And thank your colleagues from me, especially today.

    Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

    • #2
    • November 26, 2020, at 4:22 AM PST
    • 15 likes
  3. Front Seat Cat Member

    Wow! What a great testimony to all that is good about our armed forces and freedom. That is an amazing life so far. Are you new to Ricochet? I look forward to your posts especially regarding the upcoming new (old) foreign policy team……..Thank you for your service and Happy Thanksgiving!!

    • #3
    • November 26, 2020, at 5:35 AM PST
    • 12 likes
  4. Stad Coolidge

    Happy Thanksgiving, and thank you for your service to our country!

    • #4
    • November 26, 2020, at 5:39 AM PST
    • 9 likes
  5. PHCheese Member

    Welcome. You will have beat my uncle’s time in the Air Force by one year. He had amazing adventures as well. He flew up to and including his last day in 1974. Thanks for your service.

    • #5
    • November 26, 2020, at 6:43 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  6. Gazpacho Grande' Coolidge

    Thanks for your service, Jailer.

    Sounds like a few of those experiences would be great to elaborate on, here on Ricochet.

    • #6
    • November 26, 2020, at 6:57 AM PST
    • 7 likes
  7. Mim526 Member

    God bless and thank you for the 35 years and more, @jailer. May you be home with family soon. Happy Thanksgiving!

    • #7
    • November 26, 2020, at 7:21 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  8. Hang On Member
    Hang OnJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    May the next 35 years be as exciting and rewarding.

    • #8
    • November 26, 2020, at 7:23 AM PST
    • 7 likes
  9. She Reagan
    SheJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Thank you, and when the time (soon) comes, “Welcome Home.”

    • #9
    • November 26, 2020, at 7:29 AM PST
    • 8 likes
  10. Susan Quinn Contributor

    What an amazing career! I so enjoy when you write on Ricochet, Jailer, and look forward to many more posts. I hope your career planning is coming along, too. Happy Thanksgiving!

    • #10
    • November 26, 2020, at 7:42 AM PST
    • 7 likes
  11. CACrabtree Coolidge

    Happy Thanksgiving to you, man. Please let us know when we can wish you a heartfelt, “Welcome Home; Well Done.”

    • #11
    • November 26, 2020, at 10:01 AM PST
    • 7 likes
  12. RushBabe49 Thatcher

    You, more than most, can appreciate how extraordinary this country is. Thank you for all your service, and we hope to see you at a Ricochet meetup in the coming years.

    • #12
    • November 26, 2020, at 1:02 PM PST
    • 7 likes
  13. Manny Member

    Happy Thanksgiving. Thank you for your service. I have the highest respect for your work. God bless. 

    • #13
    • November 26, 2020, at 5:46 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  14. Instugator Thatcher
    InstugatorJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Jailer: Today marks my final Thanksgiving Day in uniform. I have spent it largely alone, as the Middle East dust has been playing Old Harry with my sinuses, sharply limiting my opportunities for fellowship. I did make an exception to go serve the troops at the dining facility, or “DFAC” in our military lingo.

    Congratulations on reaching this milestone. I know I speak for all of us when I say, first – Thank you; and second – we want a report about your retirement ceremony. With pictures!

    This, however, doesn’t have to mean an end to your military adventures. In my own case I deployed as a civilian about 3 years ago to support OIR and was stationed in Kuwait. I wrote about it as my Mid-Life Crisis. My final Thanksgiving, while serving overseas, was with an extraordinary group of people including my friend, Roger –

    Thanksgiving 2017

    He managed to retire this year, after reaching sanctuary while deployed with me.

    Godspeed and come home safe.

    BTW – only dweebs call it the DFAC. The real name is the Chow Hall.

    • #14
    • November 26, 2020, at 7:11 PM PST
    • 10 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  15. PappyJim Coolidge

    @Jailer, Welcome to the CivDiv. Your skills are sorely needed here. Shuck your pack, take a knee for ten then get back into the fight. Thank you for your three and a half decades of service.

    • #15
    • November 26, 2020, at 7:53 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  16. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    One thing for us all to be thankful for is being protected by fine people like you.

    • #16
    • November 26, 2020, at 9:30 PM PST
    • 8 likes
  17. Eleanor Member

    Thank you, Jailer, for your service.

    • #17
    • November 27, 2020, at 4:33 PM PST
    • 3 likes