16 April 2008

More Trad Dad

Since my earlier post about my father...and thanks to all who have expressed their concerns about his health...it has occured to me that I keep coming back to him. This is a photograph I grew up with. I was seven or eight when it was taken. This was before he finished the officer's Special Forces selection course. After which he was awarded a full flash (the patch on the beret) and sent off to Vietnam.

I remember when he left. We were at Pope AFB. He kissed my mother and sisters goodbye. He turned to me, pointed a finger at my chest and said, "You screw up once while I'm gone - - I'll come back here and kick your ass. You got that?" I nodded in the affirmative. He turned, threw his duffel bag on his shoulder and walked off to a waiting C130.

As a kid, I walked a fairly straight line. That is, I made every effort not to piss him off. Growing up on Army posts was somewhat unique in that a child's actions were a direct reflection on his father as well as his father's career. As I watch children today running loose in stores, kicking the back of my plane seat from Heathrow to O'Hare, demanding everything from their parents and most recently...video taping the beating of a fellow student...I am reminded of what it was like to grow up with this kind of father. Who could give you that kind of look. Thanks, Dad. If that ain't Trad - - I don't know what is.


Don said...

I love it! ADA huh? What is the ribbon on the beret below the rank - I've never seen anything like that before. I guess back in those days you didn't get a flash if you were just a plain old paratrooper?

I'm glad you turned out as well as you did. In my experience, towns surrounding military (particularly Army) bases are cesspools of humanity. I’m sure you were glad to leave lovely Fayetteville ;).

I’ll never go back to Killeen, TX

tintin said...

Don, That ribbon was called an apprentice flash. Given to those assigned to a SF unit but not SF qualified. The photo was taken while Dad was going thru qualification. Once you gaduated from the Q course you received the "Full" flash.

I enlisted after a year of college and was sent to Bragg for 4 years. Fayettville or Fayett-nam was a horrible place. But Smoke Bomb Hill was like a home away from home.

Anonymous said...

Great post John.

Alice Olive said...

I like the way you write. Makes me miss my father a little bit more.

tintin said...

Thank you, Alice. That means a lot coming from you. I always wanted to be a photographer but just didn't have the right stuff. I think you do.