I did not have a chest full of medals that most of my friends had who had been in combat. I’m proud of the four rows I have.
I always thought my crewmembers wings looked so nice on my uniforms that I wore during my flying days. I later made a bracelet out of them and gave it to my wife.
Few airmen were awarded three Air Force Commendation Medals in their career, and I’m proud of mine.
I have the World War II Victory Medal, and my name is on the wall in front of our museum in Jenkins.
The hundreds of letters of appreciation I received for the outstanding work I did over most of the world looked good on my records.
The Marching Award we won at the NCO Academy while I was flight leader of the President’s Air Force One’s crew members, will always stand out in my mind, of me taking a group of men who never marched since basic training, could not keep in step, and then train them in the five-week course to win the award, and also win the softball championship against the instructors.
The base bowling championship that my team won at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., and Lindsey Air Station in Germany, and when we were the northern California champs in softball.
None of those awards showed up in my military records, but I’m still proud of them.
Then my retirement date at the Pentagon when our President presented me a certificate of appreciation for my outstanding job I did in my 27-year military career, and then working in my civilian job until I was 81 years old.
I think this old boy who came into the military at 16 years old has had a full and rewarding life.
Contributing writer Everett Vanover lives in Fairfield, Calif.