Memorial Day is just around the corner and my father served in World War II. Out of sixteen million men who served in the war only three million served in combat. My father was part of the thirteen million who never saw combat. Matter of fact he never even left the United States. Daddy served honorably as a supply sergeant in many prisoner of war camps across the South, especially in Florida. He was always proud of the fact that he guarded many of General Irwin Rommel's men and was always telling us stories about the "Desert Fox" as he called him. We owe a great debt to those men and women who have served in actual combat. I cannot imagine what that is like. Whenever someone comes up to me and thanks me for my service I am very humbled and embarrassed because I am always thinking how my service was modest compared to people like my friend Donnie White whose name is on the Vietnam Memorial in Washington DC. My father-in-law Johnny Phillips who suffered severe brain damage from a piece of shrapnel the size of a dime on the Saar River during the last days of World War II. Or my good friend David Montgomery who never seemed like the same old David I had known before he left for Vietnam and returned home.
Yet the majority of us who have served are like my dad. Most people who serve in the military have never seen combat. However I like how one veteran described men and women who serve their country. When you join any branch of the military you are offering the government a blank check, which means you are available to serve in any capacity or location that is required Yet all veterans have many experiences in common. We all know what it is like to leave our loved ones for long periods. The loneliness, boredom, working holiday's, fear, extreme heat, extreme cold, and physical exhaustion. Just making it through basic training or boot camp is something to be proud of. If you die or are injured in a training accident, plane crash, or any an act of terrorism you are are just as dead or injured as those that were killed or injured at Iwo Jima, Khe Sanh, or Baghdad. It was an honor for me personally to have the opportunity to serve my country and I am proud to point to at least three generations of Segroves who served. The first picture is my dad who served from 1944 to 1947 in the U.S. Army as a supply Sergeant and later as an M.P. I served as an Air Force Security Policeman from 1968 to 1972 on active duty. Then from 1977 until 1994 in the Tennessee Air National Guard. My son Rob served from 1989 until 1993 in the U.S. Navy assigned to the guided missile cruiser U.S.S. Wainwright as an Operations Specialist.