Thursday, March 22, 2012

15 March 2012


Back in the early to middle 70s, I was finishing an undergraduate degree in Physics at UNC Chapel Hill. This school is THE University of North Carolina much as Kermit is THE Frog. The question of what to do weighed heavily on me. I'd spent summers on the farm where I could make money, but I didn't make any real contacts or gain any experience that would give me a leg up on an after-graduation job.

Enter the military, in particular, the Navy. Vietnam was in full tilt then, and the Navy needed science people, especially Physics graduates, and they courted me hard for something called NUPOC. Nuclear Propulsion Officer Candidate, or something like that. Nuclear submarines were all the rage then, and the rule was that only nuclear trained officers could captain a nuclear submarine. They even offered a whopping amount of money for me to finish school.

However, I wanted to fly. Specifically, I wanted to fly fighter jets off and on Navy carriers. However, we were decades before any form of LASIK surgery, and only people with 20/20 could fly those planes. Or any other plane in the military. My 20/400 wouldn't cut it. Of course, the recruiter said I could be the navigator, but that was cold comfort.

If I can't be the catfish, I ain't gonna swim.

So, two days ago, #1 Son sends a picture of himself in his first flight suit. Talk about a wash of memories and emotion. That'll get him a card, but I doubt he really figures it out for a while.

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