Monday, November 11, 2019

Nothing to Do with Sewing (Reflections on My Life as a Veteran)

Just a warning.  This post has nothing to do with sewing.  I just thought for once I will post on my sewing blog something that has nothing to do with sewing!  I am sitting here this morning watching the snow come down and reflecting on my life. 

It has been an unexpected journey.  First, I never expected to live to the age of 78 and I never expected to be here in Michigan watching it snow.  I was born in Brunswick, Georgia and never saw snow until I was 18 or 19 years old.  I never really expected to leave Brunswick.  I expected my life would end there as it began there.  As a very shy girl who just graduated from high school, I never thought I would join the United States Air Force.  I had plans for college.  I planned to attend Georgia State College for Women.  I planned to room with my best friend from high school.  However, things don’t always go as planned.  That scholarship did not materialize.  What was I going to do?

I heard it was possible to get a college degree while serving in the Air Force.  I went to see a recruiter at the post office in Brunswick.  He told me that it was true one could get a college degree while in the Air Force.  In fact, he said the experience was “kind of like living in a college dorm”.  I was gullible enough to believe him!   I signed up and off I went to basic training.  My first realization that I had been duped came when I arrived at Lackland Air Force Base.  I assure you I was not treated like a college student!  To add insult to injury, I received a letter from my mother telling me my scholarship had finally come through.  Just my luck!  This was a little too late.  I had signed my life away for three years.  The commitment was made and I knew I had to make the best of it.   I moved forward and never looked back.

As it turned out, my decision to join the Air Force was probably the best decision I ever made.  My experience in the military showed me I was capable of far more than I knew.  I served four years in the Air Force and after a 17-year break in service, I served twenty years in the Michigan Air National Guard.  I retired as a Chief Master Sergeant (E-9).  I have many fond memories of my 24 years of service in the military. 

I also achieved my goal of graduating from college.  Some of my college credits were acquired while I was in the Air Force, some were acquired as a civilian and some were acquired while I was in the Michigan Air National Guard.  I had lots of encouragement along the way from my husband and children and from members of my military family.

I met my husband while in the Air Force stationed at Strategic Air Command at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska.  We have been married for 58 years and have two wonderful daughters.  Our oldest, Loretta Smith, teaches school in Georgia and the other, Marcia Rush, now resides in heaven after a courageous battle with cancer. 

I am proud and honored to have served this country of ours for 24 years!  On this Veterans Day 2019 this is what in on my mind on this cold and snowy winter day in Michigan.

Judy Huhn