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by Carol Heitlinger

I wanted to know more about my dad. He was a career Naval aviator, serving in WWII, Korea and then in 'peace' time. We were stationed in seven states and one foreign country, where he was in intelligence work. What did he do in that billet? who knows, he never talked about it.

A few years ago (I'm 59 now), I decided to 'force' him (does one ever really make a military man do anything he doesn't want to?) to tell me what he did during his lifetime. He was computer savvy (he's 83 now), and could hunt and peck with the best of them. I got him to write out his autobiography. I didn't give him a deadline, or parameters, only told him I wanted to know about him, and for him to leave something for his grandchildren, etc., so that future generations would have some knowledge from whence they came.

It took him awhile, but soon he presented me with a single copy of his story, and the disk so that I could edit it for grammar, etc. (being a journalism major in college). I read it. I'm sure many would not be surprised to know there was some mention of his wife, and two children....some. Most of it was his life in the military. That's what he was.....a military man....and what he is, a military retiree. Don't get me wrong; I'm proud of my dad and cannot imagine any life where I was in one place for more than a two-three year tour. My uncle was career Army (black sheep, you know) with seven kids; three of whom I've never met.

I was in three fifth grades in two states and two countries. Two high schools. Two second grades on opposite coasts. Would I trade my life for my dad putting more focus on his personal life in his autobiography? no way; that's what made him my dad. I love him and I loved my life as a Navy 'junior'. I only wish my grown up life had taken me the military route.


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