More than you ever wanted to know about me
The picture in the corner of my blog is me with my reasons for living, and my reasons for caring so much about the upcoming election. I want my daughter and grandson to live long happy lives; Nothing in this world is more important to me than that.
I was born 2 miles outside of a little southern Illinois town you've never heard of, and moved at the age of 7 to within walking distance of a bigger town you still haven't heard of. In the spring of my sophomore year at the University of Illinois, President Nixon sent U.S. troops into Cambodia, the Ohio National Guard murdered 4 students at Kent State, people were marching around with signs saying "If you aren't part of the solution you're part of the problem," and school just didn't seem "relevant" any more. So, I enlisted.
After USAF Basic Training and tech school I was stationed for a few months at Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, feeling like I still wasn't really doing my share. Next stop: Viet Nam. I spent 6 months pushing papers at Cam Ranh Bay Air Base, which was turned over to the Vietnamese in the late spring of 1972. Less than 2 days before I expected to be back in The World, I found out that, due to the '72 Tet Offensive, I was going to be spending at least 90 days TDY in Saigon. At that point, due to problems on the home front (which Jean Fraud Kerry and his slimy ilk helped fuel), I developed a sincere death wish and volunteered for an Aerial Port Mobility ("Bare Base") team to get a little closer to the action. -- Try to imagine, if you can, what it would feel like to have missed one of the doomed 9/11 flights due to a traffic jam or a flat tire. I was supposed to be on a C-130 that no one walked away from at Kontum, a damned site closer to Cambodia than John Kerry's ever been, but God didn't want me and Satan wasn't ready for me. I guess God had plans for my daughter and grandson, because I've yet to accomplish anything grand enough personally to justify my continued existence.
By the time I was discharged from the Air Force, 3 months early due to congressionally mandated budget cuts, Texas seemed a lot more like home than Illinois did, and I ended up getting a BSEE with Highest Honors (That's Texan for "summa cum laude") from The University of Texas in Austin. From there I moved to Fort Worth to work for Motorola for a while, then to the St Louis area to work for a now-defunct defense contractor, then to Cedar Rapids to work for Rockwell International. Along the way I was blessed with a beautiful intelligent daughter, picked up a Master of Engineering in EE degree from the University of Texas at Arlington, got divorced, remarried, and divorced again.
When the defense market contracted at the end of the Cold War, I was one of a huge number of perfectly good engineers who were given the opportunity to "explore opportunities in other areas." After a few month of living hand-to-mouth on savings and an occasional temp agency job, I did OK for a while on a couple of by-the-job computer programming gigs, then spent just over 8 years doing technical support for some big names I'd still be violating non-disclosure agreements if I identified. (Let's just say that some major software and hardware houses have been *outsourcing* their support since way before they started *offshoring* their support.) Eventually a lot of the big houses decided that people in parts of Canada sounded "American" enough to take their phone calls and some people in India could pass for American in an email or IM environment, and I found myself back on the streets, only this time with health problems serious enough to keep me from finding anything else anytime very soon. So, I'm back in Illinois sponging off family while I wait to see if the VA is eventually going to help enough with my health problems to allow me to be able to support myself again. In the mean time, my biggest contribution to society will be using my blog to do everything I can to steer other peoples thinking in the right direction.
Update: Things have taken a turn for the worse: A Post I Really Am Not Enjoying Writing
Originally published at In Bill's World on 2004-09-14
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Hello Bill, Welcome Home! I'm a 44 yr old divorced mother of a beautiful 17 year old girl, that will forever keep men and women like you in her heart. Her dad, now a 56 year old disabled Viet Nam Veteran, who enlisted by choice like you...from a little town in Virginia, has inspired a need for her to focus her senior project on Veterans of all wars...but espcially ours. I say ours because for 16 years we lived with that same war...his frequent dreams, fights for a job and abuse of his body through drugs and smoking put him where he is now. 4 yrs ago we were divorced and Katie and I moved across country, from home, to fullfill a lifes dream for my daughter to sing and actually be happy with her life, but we never left "him". I have been a nurse for 20 yrs and until now never once encouraged her to become envoled in anything in the medical profession. Volunteering at the local VA Hospital here in Phoenix,AZ. has lit up her eyes, like her singing does. She loves her father so much and we all have remainded close. She has heard many stories and shed many tears...they bring it home to her. Every word I read from your posts I could relate to. I wanted you to know...even though the kids are growing far from that war...they ...like their fathers...will never forget it. I wanted you to know young people remember you and I remember you and we have thanked endless veterans no matter how long ago it was. Katie is fighting to understand it all but I am so proud of what she has taken on...at the VA and she enters those doors never afraid to help or talk or just listen. During her senior presentation she will be mentioning you and putting things ..."In their face"...so to speak. Teaching people what to say....if they meet or find that they have known for years... a Vietnam Veteran. Best of luck with the rest of your life. God bless you and your family. OH! and ......."Thank you for serving". Sincerely, Virginia Jones
Posted by: Virginia Jones | Oct 12, 2005 12:49:55 AMThank you so much for your web site. I live in Australia and it saddens me to say that with each generation they forget a little bit more of the scarfices made by those who have fought for our freedom. Our leaders today must realize that Islam is not a peaceful religion. Their main doctorine is convert or kill. I am a proud christian, and believe in democracy and a salutem all those who have fought for the freedom i enjoy today. Kind Regards Don Aney
Posted by: Don Aney | Feb 5, 2006 6:33:38 PMHello Bill, I start with the name of Allah, the almighty, creator of the heavens and the earth. Creator of all the messengers and prophets; Adam, Moses, David, Jesus and Muhammed (peace and blessing be upon them all). Enter Islam and you shall be forgiven for your past sins. Enter Islam and you shall taste the beauty of Islam not only in this World but in the life hereafter. I assure you! Follow the teachings of the Holy Quran and the teachings of the Holy Prophet while you still have time and you shall lead a peaceful and respectful life. I follow Islam, and it disturbs me that you speak about my religion in such away! But it disturbs me even more that you speak of our Holy Prophet Muhammed (peace and blessings be upon him) in a slanderous and hurtful way. Let me remind you! Those who slander and disrespect the Last and Holy Prophet of Allah, Muhammed (peace and blessings be upon him) shall taste the filthy fruits that they sowed with their own hands in this World. Then there will be no turning back when! I swear by Allah in whose hands my soul lies! I shall pray to Allah, that before your final hour arrives, you see your own family entering Islam! You see your own grandchildren saying the words “I believe there is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is the last and final messenger of Allah”. Regards Mohammed
Posted by: Mohammed | Feb 6, 2006 4:20:50 AMPeace and blessings be upon you Bill, from this Christian. Griz aka Barry U.S. Army 1965-1967 Germany PS: Before you take a bite, be sure to first wash off your filthy fruit.
Posted by: email@example.com | Feb 8, 2006 8:21:00 AM
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