Sometimes You Have to Look Up

Sometimes You Have to Look Up

Our granddaughter joined the Air Force and I asked her why she didn’t join the Marine Corps to which she replied, “Grandpa, I don’t think I could take the stress.” I said good for you. Better to realize it before you are on the receiving end of a Drill Instructor rant. Well, most of the family made the drive from Chicago to San Antonio to Lackland Air Force Base for her boot camp graduation. To say I was one proud grandpa, regardless of the branch of service would be an understatement. We had to park a couple of blocks away from the parade area where the graduation would occur, so we walked along the main street and crossed over an expansive bridge and I couldn’t help but look up and notice that every light post had an American flag flying from it, and most were torn and tattered. So now I’m a p-ssed off Marine on an Air Force base. We watch the graduation, which was pretty cool and then our granddaughter took us to show us her barracks. While there I’m introduced to her commanding officer, a Captain, who I thanked for the guidance and training he gave all the Airman and then asked, “is the Commanding General of the base available?” His eyes got real big and asked why to which I replied, “I have a message for the General – it is unacceptable to be on an American military base and have torn and tattered American flags flying.” Well, my family went ballistic on me fearing our granddaughter would lose her weekend liberty. I assured them that a good officer would take it with the intent meant. His response was, “no Generals around here.” We drove back to Chicago and a few days later our granddaughter called and said, “Grandpa, do you remember what you said to that Captain?” I replied, how could I forget after the h-ll I got from the family. She said, “well grandpa, because of what you said they replaced every American flag on the base today.” Mission accomplished. How many times have officers, including the Commanding General, Staff NCO’s and NCO’s traveled along that street and bridge and failed to look up and notice the disgrace looming over their heads? Sometimes you have to look up from what you are doing and recognize what is wrong and get it squared away.

Semper Fi Marines,
Tom Gillespie
USMC / RVN ’70 – ’71

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