Monday, December 17, 2007

The Journey...Crossing the Rubicon

Honor thy mother......

The time had finally arrived. It was October 10, 1980. My car was ready, packed with what few personal belongings that I actually owned. My mother had given me as a graduation and commission gift a new brief case. In it contained my orders that placed me on active duty and directed me to proceed to Vandenberg AFB, CA. I was to report to the 4315th Combat Crew Training Squadron. There was another set of orders. These orders directed me, upon crew training completion, to proceed to Malmstrom AFB, MT. I was assigned to the 490th Strategic Missile Squadron, 341st Strategic Missile Wing. I had received my BS in Biology back in August followed by my new commission in the Air Force as a second lieutenant. There would be no more illusions about medical school.

Mother was a stoic, stubborn, you might say hard headed woman. She was "old school." She had labored through two failed marriages and virtually raised three sons by herself. Those qualities kept my brothers and myself on even keel. When it came time to leave, this strong woman started to sob. If anything in this narrative that I remember vividly, it's this scene. "I never worried about you. Of the three of you, you always seem to know what you wanted to do, you had a purpose." I can only wonder if she feels the same today.

It's approximately 400 miles from home to El Paso. Suffice to say, it was the longest 400 miles that I would ever travel. Thoughts of home and family permeated my thoughts. It's said that real men don't cry. It's a lie.

I crossed the Rio Grande in El Paso. Something had changed. Home was in the past, in the distance of my rear view mirror. That was then, this is now. I had crossed the mental Rubicon.

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