Sunday, May 24, 2009

Thank You For Serving!

Whenever we're out, if we see a man or woman in uniform, my husband always shakes their hand and says, "Thank you for serving."

This Memorial Day, I'd like to remember those in our family who have kept our borders safe by sacrificing their own safety.

Major General Frank Carroll. My husband called him Uncle Frank. A significant player in Air Force history, he was instrumental in the creation of the Army Air Corp, signing the contract to buy the B-47. Orville Wright taught Uncle Frank how to fly. [Kathy's note: Uncle Frank's grandson, also named Frank Carroll, found the other blog where I showcased the general. We had lost track of that side of the family, so the reconnection is exciting. He corrected me on the previous statement. Cousin Frank said, "Grandpa was the last man to fly with Orville Wright and they were close friends but Wright did not teach him how to fly." So, I stand corrected. But it's still cool!]

My husband's grandfather, Stanley Carroll. Served on board ship in the Navy during WWI.
My father-in-law, Senior Master Sgt. Paul Kovach. Served through retirement in WWII in the 8th Air Force. We think he may have served with Jimmy Stewart. After Dad died, we found a picture of Jimmy getting a medal and there was Dad in the ranks. He never told Mom. That's the kind of guy he was. Everyone was equal in his sight.

My father, Bill Keal, served in the army in WWII. Daddy's unit helped to liberate a French town. His name, along with the other soldiers, is forever memorialized on a plaque in the town square.

My mother, Ruth Keal, (shown second from the left--the child belongs to one of the other women) served in the Women's Army Corp (WAC) in WWII. My mom joined to see the world, and ended up spending her entire tour of duty in Kansas, mere miles from where her home was. Mom and Dad got married in uniform.

Arthur Wiles, who I call Uncle Bud, served in the Navy in WWII. His brother, my Uncle Mickey, aka Mike Wiles served in the army and in his words, "I was a dirt soldier. I walked from the southern tip (of Korea) to the Yalu river and somehow picked up a silver star along the way."

My uncle, Jim Cartlidge, served in WWII in the 101st Airborn Division.

My husband's Uncle Bud, aka Warren Carroll, served in the Army Air Corp and the Army in WWII. He was a bomber crew member, (we think a gunner,) but found it boring. He then switched to the army and volunteered to be on the scout tank crew. These tanks would find German tankers and act as decoys by drawing them out of hiding where our planes and ground crew could destroy them. I'm thinking that cured his boredom! My favorite story was when actress Betty Grable visited the troops and stood in his tank for a photo op. He was inside and could only see her "Million Dollar" legs, but she was wearing pants. What a disappointment!

Uncle Bud's son, Mark Carroll, served in Vietnam in the Marine Corp.

My brother-in-law, Air Force Master Sgt. Herbert Curtis Pruett, served several tours to Thailand away from his family.

My brother-in-law, Robert Clark of 101st Airborn Division, served in Vietnam and was hit by a sniper. He had on his helmut, but the bullet slipped under and grazed his head. He came home with a Purple Heart.

Patricia Freese, my cousin, served in the Air Force in Greenland.

Our son, Sr. Airman Jonathon Kovach, joined the Air Force in 2001. He served overseas in Okinawa and Korea.

And finally, my husband, Master Sgt. James Kovach. Proudly served in the Air Force for twenty-three years. A humble guy, he put on his uniform and went to work every day. When he retired, he received a plaque that simply stated his philosophy: "Just doin' my job." He served in the post-Vietnam volunteer era through the Gulf War, working to keep our borders safe.

I'm proud of every service member in my family. They've fought, spilled blood, and sacrificed to be sure their children and children's children could live in a free country. They've fought to free the oppressed, eradicate evil, and actively demonstrate their love of this country.

I also salute the spouses of these military servicemembers. We all have made our own sacrifices, some staying behind to give our children stable homelives while their daddy was away. We were the ones who wrote the love letters and tried our hardest to provide safe environments for them to return to.

To all of these brave men and women, service members and spouses, I salute you.


Side note: For more information on General Frank Carroll and his role in the acquisition and development of the jet airplane for the new Army Air Force, please click here, here, here, and here.

1 comment:

Jan Parrish said...

Awesome Memorial Day post. Thanks to all who served.