Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Columns

October 13, 2013

A proud soldier who did it right way

ASHLAND — My favorite soldier, like most other veterans, resented the anti-military, anti-American slogans and protests that divided our nation during the Vietnam years.

He had chosen to continue his military service after being discharged at the end of World War II.

He was fiercely proud of the uniform he wore and the flag he saluted each day while reporting to work at his hometown armory.

He struggled with the frustrations of trying to motivate certain young men who often were casual about their service in the National Guard.

It bothered him that some saw it only as a part-time job rather than an important military organization.

As someone who personally witnessed the horrors of war, he knew that being adequately trained and mentally prepared would increase a soldier’s odds of survival on the battlefield.

He insisted that his men look, act and think like soldiers, especially when they were in pay status.

He disliked the term “weekend warrior” because of the sacrifices of other citizen soldiers who didn’t come home from mobilization in 1940.

He was keenly aware that National Guard members were doubly at risk of going into harm’s way.

They are subject to state duty for natural disasters or civil unrest and for federal duty to reinforce active military in a national emergency.

His readiness philosophy was vindicated in the aftermath of 9/11, as tens of thousands of National Guard members and reservists were deployed to combat, some to be wounded or killed. In fact, his old unit is there now.

He was a “by the book” first sergeant, the ranking enlisted man often nicknamed “top soldier” or “top kick” by the troops.

He was the kind of man another soldier would want beside him when trouble started. He had been there before.

He never hesitated to correct a soldier’s mistakes but was just as strongly committed to making sure his troops were well fed, properly equipped and constantly informed.

His dark-eyed, piercing stare could silence a hundred noisy men when he conducted roll call and someone dared to talk while in his formation.

He soon will enter the 93rd year of his noble life of service to family, state and country. His duty station now is a nursing home.

I’ve told him many times of my respect and admiration for him and how much I value his friendship.

Given the chance, I’d be proud to return his salute one more time.  On second thought, I’d be mighty grateful for the privilege.

KEITH KAPPES is publisher of The Morehead News and Grayson Journal-Times.

1
Text Only
Columns
  • Mark Maynard: Let’s just forget about it: 04/17/14

    The older I get, the more forgetful I become. Does that sound familiar?

    April 16, 2014

  • Uncovering forgotten treasures

    You know the big difference between me and a hoarder? I mean, except that you can walk through my house and there are none of the disgusting aspects of hoarding in my life.
     

    April 14, 2014

  • Political stories worth retelling

    With Kentucky in the midst of the political season, it’s time to share some stories I’ve heard about the art of politicking.
     

    April 13, 2014

  • 0413timbizcolweb.jpg Tim Preston: Great salmon; finding Dr. Amy; and more Maria: 4/13/14

    It isn’t an especially convenient location unless you happen to be going that way, and if you don’t get there within the next couple of weeks you’ll have to wait until fall to try it out, but I had the best lunch I can remember last week at one of the last places you’d likely think of when pondering where to eat.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Restaurant horror stories; garden planning tips

    In my couponing classes, I always had fun with everyone by telling them gross restaurant stories. In encouraging them to eat at home more and save their money, I was also teaching them how much cleaner it is.
     

    April 12, 2014

  • Feeling happy is ...

    Anyone hoping the Ashland-Huntington area will soon overtake Disney World as “the happiest place on Earth” will be waiting awhile.
     

    April 10, 2014

  • 0410markcol.jpg Mark Maynard: Brick House (South Ashland Florist) brings in $13K so far: 04/10/14

    Here’s a 14-name salute coming your way:

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • John Cannon: Take this joint, please: 04/09/14

    Some of the things that occurred during our recent week in Jamaica were unexpected and even a bit weird. I suspect those will be the things we will still clearly remember long after the memories of the hours of lying on the beach have faded. I started to mention them in last week’s column, but opted to save them until a later date in the interest of length.

    April 8, 2014

  • AARON SNYDER: March Madness, sadness for Cats

    It’s just another game. That’s the message John Calipari preached profusely throughout the 2014 NCAA tournament. It’s typical coachspeak, but Cal’s young Kentucky team clung to the step-by-step approach to produce atypical results.

    April 8, 2014

  • Sweet thoughts on the season

    So far, I’ve been a good girl. Or a pretty good girl anyway. See, I have this thing for Reese’s peanut butter eggs. Homemade peanut butter eggs? Eh. I can take ‘em or leave ‘em.
     

    April 7, 2014