A week prior to the now infamous date 9/11, I took my oldest son to speak to a local Air Force recruiter in Plano, Texas. A week later two commercial planes, hijacked by terriorist, flew into the Twin Towers in NYC. Right then a definite life changing decision was made in my life.
No it wasn't my son joining the Air Force. Though, I became a proud dad at that point and it was going to be life changing for him, that was not my life changing decision.
The life changing decision that was made that week was me re-enlisting, for the third time, into the Army. Yes the third time. After I left my son in the hands of the AF recruiters I went next door and negotiated with the Army to let an older man back into the ranks.
I really didn't realize how old of a man the Army put back into a uniform until I sat down in a classroom full of brand new lieutenants. Most of them were young enough to be my kids.
There was this one particular 2LT that sat next to me in class. She was barely 20 years old. Her and I were talking one day and she told me that she never really had a grandfather. "Would you mind being my grandfather?" she asked. Wow! What a question. I think she was only half kidding because when I told her yes she gave a soft smile back with tears in her eyes.
Fast forward. I am back in Iraq for my second tour and again am surrounded by some very young lieutenants. Hell, some young captains for that matter. But it's all good. I'm having a good tour and am enjoying my mission.
I usually go to chow with my boss MAJ Daneker and 1SG Martinez. We take the long sidewalk route to the chow hall two, sometimes three, times a day. It's a good walking exercise and it also lends itself to be the same for the upper body. You greet and salute Soldiers along the way from the time you start out to the time you reach the other end.
I tell you that to tell you this. Along this, oh... quarter of a mile stretch, I get greeted at least once a day with "good morning Chief" or "how are you today Chief." Now when I was growing up my uncle used to call me chief. Kinda like calling someone bud or dude.
Now I'm thinking, "wow these 1st Cav Soldiers are mighty friendly and casual." Then it hit me. They aren't being casual at all. They think I'm a Chief Warrant Officer Five.