Commentary

June 29, 2012

Celebrating freedom with pride this July 4th

by Chief Master Sgt. David VanVlack
AFOTEC, Det. 1, outgoing superintendent

This story starts 11 days before the 4th of July on June 25, 1996. I was in the U.S. Air Force, deployed to Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.

On that night, I was bare-chested, clad in jeans and tennis shoes as I turned my back to a sliding glass door. The 25,000-pound truck bomb threw me to the floor. My neck, back and arms were ripped apart with glass and concrete. The wounds were serious but didn’t hit any vital organs. I was medically evacuated home.

By July 2, I was healing well, still covered in bandages, but kicking with energy. Much to the surprise of many, I went out and bought $500 in fireworks. The truth is I was pretty confused and thinking of walking away, but I planned to celebrate our freedom with pride.

On the 4th, as I lit off thousands of firecrackers, a young boy approached me. Seeing the bandages, he asked, “What happened?” I told him some terrorists blew up a bomb to try and scare us away. Wide-eyed, he said, “Wow, what are you going to do?” I told him I was planning on calling it quits. He cocked his head to the side in deep thought and then said, “Well then, I guess if you quit, they win.” That young boy changed my life; there was no way I would let them win.

That was 16 years ago, and at almost 27 years of service, I am still on active duty. Every 4th of July, I think back to that young man and his words of wisdom and I celebrate the freedom of our Nation with great pride and joy.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

News Briefs October 17, 2014

M4/M9 Firing Range closure The Edwards AFB Combat Arms Firing Range is closed for M4 and M9 firing until further notice. Any required firing for PCS or deployments will temporarily be accomplished at March ARB, Calif. To schedule training, contact the Combat Arms section at 661-277-2103. It is strongly recommended that all firing be scheduled as soon...
 
 
unity

The beauty of unity

Air Force graphic by Staff Sgt. Benjamin W. Stratton What do cheeseburgers, musical groups, sports teams and the United States of America have in common? If you said “the letter ‘s,’ you’re right, but th...
 
 

Up-and-coming awards

2015 Cooke award nominations sought JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas – Air Force officials are seeking nominations for the 11th Annual Department of Defense David O. Cooke Excellence in Public Administration Award. This award was created to promote, perpetuate and recognize the type of exceptional contributions David O. Cooke made to the federal service. He...
 

 
Courtesy graphic

AF releases criteria for new service medal

Courtesy graphic Graphic of the Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal. WASHINGTON - Air Force officials released nomination criteria for the new Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal, following Secretary of the Air...
 
 

Undergrad flying training applications due in December

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas – The 2015 undergraduate flying training selection board originally scheduled for Jan. 20-23 will now convene Feb. 17-20 and associated application suspenses have shifted by approximately a month, Air Force Personnel Center officials said Oct. 10. Eligible active duty officers interested in undergraduate flying training must apply by Dec. 19...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Rebecca Amber

Bunch encourages one enterprise mindset at commanders call

Air Force photograph by Rebecca Amber Maj. Gen. Arnold Bunch Jr., Air Force Test Center commander, discussed his six strategic goals for the test center at a commanders call Oct. 14 in the base theater. Maj. Gen. Arnie Bunch, A...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>