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Two family men are heading in different directions this week. My son in-law Jeff,aka: el Jeffe, is heading East, actually as the keys hit my MacBook Air he is in Paris on a lay over. Today he will arise and head to one of the worlds great vacation spots, the country of Chad in Africa. Jeff will be doing what he does at our embassy there. His son in-law Zed is going the other way.
Coming west back to Oklahoma is our granddaughter’s husband Zed, Zed has been vacationing in and around the Persian Gulf and every coupe of days or so flying an Electronic stuffed Air Force E-3 Sentry at 35,000 feet or so to keep you and I safe.
Zed will arrive back in Oklahoma City today greeted by his wife who gave birth to daughter Zoe here in Maryland back in January. Zed will get to see child #4 for the first time in live mode. Thanks to today’s electronic wonders he got to see the birth live via an iPad. I can not imagine the greeting he will get from Mia, Ana, and Dax. Did I mention both Mom and Dad are Air Force Captains on active Duty. Thanks you two for your sacrafice and service on our behalf.
So here it is, 26 April and the currents of air are converging on Oklahoma City, OK. That’s like smack dab in the middle of the US of A. So what does that mean you ask. It means unstable air, thunder storms and possible Tornados. Warm moist air from the Gulf of Mexico travels north and Cold dry air drops down from Canada and the Rockies. Think Ali vs. Frazer, Mayweather vs. Pacquiao. “Let the Rumble begin.”
This concerns me because my granddaughter (Sam) and her three children are in OKC at this very moment. She and her husband are soon the be Captains in the Air Force and are stationed at Tinker, AFB. My granddaughter’s husband is deployed to Alaska right now for a few weeks. He did make room in their storm shelter prior to leaving. They have a very secure safe room. These rooms are common place in the center of the country.
Just last week, Pappy, think Eljefe or Jeff the Embassy guy, was out there bonding with the grandkids and changing diapers, think three just one a few months over three. Mid week “G” would fly out for four days and help Pappy with the Huggies. They had a great visit, I’m sure they spoiled the kids in the short time there, it’s what grandparents do.
Pappy is in Canberra, Australia at the moment. I put him on the shuttle to BWI yesterday afternoon. For those who don’t know Jeff works for the Department of State doing what it is he does for them. From one trip to the next, you never know where he may be. Some gigs are good, some are the “Arm Pits” of the world. Except for the jet lag, this is one of the better stops.
US Embassy, Canberra
I’m including some pics of my OKC great grandkids. A picture of my faithful companion Maggie under her favorite tree on walk up the road. Also I’m including the Weather warning for OKC. Be safe kids, “Hunker Down” as Jim Cantore of the Weather Channel says. You’re Air Force strong Sam, you’ll be fine.
On another front, our daughter Sarah who peddles Sea Food about the country if in Maine today and sent us the below photo. Ah yes, spring in New England, don’t miss it a bit.
Did you vote today Maryland?
Where in the World?
As we read this account of Jeff’s whereabouts, he is either in flight towards the west coast of Africa and specifically the country of Nigeria, or he’s already there. This being a four-post stop, it will be a lengthy one. At least the beer will be flowing in Frankfurt when he gets there. Jeff will make stops in Lagos and Abuja in Nigeria.
Check out the State Departments Web Sites for info on our role in Nigeria, Frankfurt and Moscow, his stops along the way.
Did you know that Nigeria was Africa’s most populous Country? Do you know how many countries there are in Africa? Check it out @: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_African_countries_by_population
A Toast – To a fallen graduate
It is a sad and beautiful thing to watch news pass between graduates in sync or even before the news. In a world where we are all connected and yet apart, it gives us a space to grieve with others in a unique way. People take shots and post the pictures of empty glasses and the rest of us understand.
This week, August 25, 2015, a 2010 graduate from my school was killed in a Green on Blue attack in Afghanistan. Just typing that is shocking to myself. When you go to a military school or when you even just join the military, they always talk about the “ultimate sacrifice” but it always feels more like a myth for some of us than a reality. And it is true, we have far less deaths in war now than in past wars, and in the Air Force in particular we tend to be less directly in harm’s way than our Army/Marine brothers but it does not make it any less real when it does happen.
Too often I have seen my Facebook page littered with the status updates “a toast” – a way to honor the fallen. Whether it is from a training accident, a suicide, or combat, it is always shocking and saddening to me. I believe the last name placed on the USAFA Graduate Memorial Wall – a wall that contains names of all graduates killed as a result of hostile action during a state of military conflict – was Capt David Lyon, Class of ’08, killed near Kabul, Afghanistan by an IED in December 2013. I know our fellow West Point graduates have far more recent names than us.
I have yet to have anyone close to me pass in these manners but these names are not lost on me either. These are men and women I went to school with, a relatively small school, where even if you didn’t know someone, you probably knew of them – especially in the classes directly above and below you. I didn’t know Matthew, but I know many people who did. I feel for him and his family right now, as does everyone in the Long Blue Line.
One of the most memorable formations at the Academy was the one we had every year for the graduates that have passed that year. The next time they have this formation, among the names of the graduates dating all the way back to our first graduating class who have passed, they will call for Capt Matthew Roland. And they will respond “Absent, Sir.” I can only hope that each cadet will dwell just a second longer on that name, and what that means for each of them as they graduate.
I’m not sure why I felt compelled to write this. In a way, I feel like I can humanize this for others. People may see articles “2 Killed in Afghanistan” and skim them, pass over them, or not really be affected by them. Maybe they will read this instead and pause for a moment instead and think of my fellow classmate.
LT Samantha Berthiaume – Davies is a 2012 graduate of the USAFA on active duty and a 01%’ER. She is also our traveler in Nigeria’s daughter and my granddaughter. – There is a good article over on Blogspot, my old home I might add. The Blog is by Sgt. Eric Williams, a Military blogger. Check out the following if interested. http://theonepercenters.blogspot.com/