We are so thankful for the men and women who have served our country and defended our freedom!
In the leadup to Veterans Day, we asked veterans across Sagora communities to share their experiences with us, including the lessons they learned and their favorite memories from their time in the US Armed Forces. We’re so thankful for those who shared their experiences with us. Here are the stories from veterans at Lakeview at Josey Ranch Senior Living in Carrollton, Texas.
Barbara S. served in the Navy from 1968-1970 on active duty, and then from 1971-2005 as a reservist. During her time in the Navy, she was a Nurse. “My shipmates worked together for the welfare of our patients,” she says. “I miss that camaraderie.” One of her patients, a quadriplegic injured in the late 1960s, became Barbara’s best friend. They remained close until his death in 2005. “We would talk honestly about our feelings, and he always said those talks enabled him to accept his situation,” she says.
Charles S. served in the Air Force from 1959-1963 and then in the National Guard from 1980-2004. He was a Military Policeman and later worked in satellite communications. His service inspired him to look at life differently and to always be prepared. Now, Charles enjoys doing genealogy.
John S. served in the Navy from 1966-1968, working with aircraft aboard carriers and search and rescue teams. He says he enjoyed saving the lives of downed pilots and he learned that he never should say “I can’t do it.”
Kyle B. served as a Security Policeman, Management Analyst Technician and Medical Recruiter during his time in the Air Force from 1970-1980. His experience led him into the field of Medical Recruitment upon his entry into the civilian world, where he worked for 40 years. His son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter each served their country as well.
Mario C. remembers the day he decided he wanted to become a pilot. When he was young, still living in Mexico, his father took him to a local airport to see the Mexican Air Force training in their P-47 Thunderbolts. The planes impressed him. “I knew then that I had to fly,” he says.
At the age of 13, Mario came to America. Five years later, he enlisted in the Marines, where he became a pilot in 1965. He served in the Marines for 10 years, flying 215 combat missions in Vietnam aboard an A-6 Intruder.
Mario earned three Distinguished Flying Crosses, one of which was awarded after a bombing mission in which his radar malfunctioned, and he had to use dead reckoning to find his target, all while evading intense enemy fire. “His exemplary airmanship and resolute determination inspired all who served with him and were instrumental in the accomplishment of the hazardous mission,” the citation says.
Mario earned 19 air medals and various other awards. “The main thing I learned was to keep making goals,” Mario says. “As things change, [I learned to] accept the change and adapt.” He says he still keeps in contact with many friends that he made during his service.
In all, Mario spent 18 years in the Armed Forces – 10 in the Marines and eight in the Army National Guard.
Vern M. served in the Navy during the 1960s, where he sang in the Blue Jacket Choir. “It was an excelling choir and I have many memories of singing at the Sunday officers’ church,” he says. Vernon spent eight years in the Navy Reserves. “I learned a lot,” he says. “It taught me to improve my people skills.”
Richard H. served in the Army from 1966-1969, retiring as a First Lieutenant. He worked in the Finance Corps.
Jane H. served in the Army from 1961-1963. As part of the Women’s Army Corps, she worked in finance and payroll.
Chester “Chet” L. served in the Navy during World War II, from 1944-1946. He was an Aircraft Control Operator at a Naval Air Base in the Philippine Islands. Chet says he was young, just 18 years old, but he thoroughly enjoyed crossing the Pacific Ocean twice.
Tim H. served in the Air Force from 1966-1970, working in operations. His time in the Air Force led him to Vietnam. Tim says he enjoyed everyone he met.
Fred R. served in the Air Force from 1948-1970. He worked in accounting and finance and was stationed in Italy and Thule Air Force Base in Greenland. While in Italy, he enjoyed pizza, Venice and Rome’s famous fountains. In Greenland, he remembers how dark the winters were, and how the sun stayed out during the summer. “You didn’t know if it was AM or PM,” he says.
Tommy M. served in the Navy from 1952-1960. He worked as an Air Traffic Controller at some of the Navy’s busiest air stations, working his way up the ranks. “I counted the lives and property I saved until they exceeded 1000 lives and $1 million in property value,” he says. “That was about five years into a 27-year career. Following his service, he worked for the Federal Aeronautics Administration.
Richard “Rip” W served in the Army from 1954-1956, specializing in clerical matters. He spent time in Korea. “I learned a lot from my service in the Army,” he says. “It opened my eyes to accept and consider other points of view.”