One Merit Badge at a Time

How do you explain and organize a life? The answer is, you don’t, you just live it and then try to make some sense out of all the emotional memories. Far be it to get into the discussion now of what makes a life–environmental influences, DNA, and motivations learned early in childhood; but it is certain that most of the credit must be given to your gene heritage that goes all the way back to Scotland. scotland map with shires in 1840 McMichaelsCertainly, no matter what the ups and downs in life, the comforts and discomforts, the challenges and routines (initially wrote boredom but with a low threshold of boredom, lack of a personal challenge, not the same as recognition which will be explained later in the “merit badge approach” was not tolerated for long, and my wife agrees), our forefathers come to the forefront of overcoming obstacles in forging the Scot Irish American heritage.

Having died 6 times–3 on the McClennan tennis court seminaryclose to Seminary hill, and 3 in the ambulance on the way to JPS Hospital, in the last four years there has been some timejps er to strive with a sorting out like might have been done in previous data analysis on missiles or airplanes, and like aaircraft-planes_other_f-16_90077 half Aerospace Engineer and half Baptist Preacher. Most have a career, and that is commendable like my son has Walnut Valley Baptist Churchdone in working his way u p from cleaning airplanes while getting an A&P to Manager, mainly with the same Company he manages now; and likewise my Father, who starting as a truck driver with a 6 grade education went up the ladder to mechanic, safety manager, terminal manager, and then vice president and ICC practitioner.

What can I say? A good part time job at Connaly funeral home in Waco and the nominal completion of a freshman year at Baylor with merit badges in AFROTC drill team, ROTC rifle team, a highlight Bible course in NT from Woodfin, diverse experiences with funerals andpat neff hall emergency ambulance runs–a lot of ladder time from the upstairs where Joe Jim Hill and I slept to the ground and the ambulance for midnight runs; however I can blame Lt Nordick, our ROTC instructor for flying our drill team to San Anton to march in the Battle of Flowers parade, creating an insatiable motivation that only pilots can know, to fly.

Having earned the Military merit badges on up to Aviation Electronics Technician First Class Petty Officer, most would have retired with 20 and taking enroute the recognition of Chief and/ or electronics officer. (After graduation with a BS in physics in 1965, I did turn down the recognition of an intelligence officer back in the Navy at Grand Prairie.}

Seemingly falling {really grace, guidance, and prayer} into Pastor of the Walnut Baptist Church for my first civilian job, a position generally held by older and more experienced preachers and pastors, with full time pay and home and the opportunity for Bible at Ouachita, reaching the community and constructing an educational buiding, most would have made that a career. Field Service Technician with GD on the Atlas Missiles and the Minuteman, most did make that a career; associate professor of electronics at ENMU after graduation, certainly most would have settled down to that as a career. You get the point that it was different for me through going back to GD FW as an Engineer and retiring, through a second retirement at Raytheon Missiles, orsm3 first launch anyone of 4 subsequent short time contract employments, Lockheed Martin on the C-130J, Pax River on the Viking and flight test on the Truman, flight test of helicopters at Bell Textron Mirable Canada, and the Future Combat System that gave us the drones at Rockwell Collins.

You get the point, and now it is even tiring for me; however then it was exciting and when Ann and I settled down, we thought, to our mountain home, looking back, it was fortunate to have such interesting jobs. Some of it makes me nervous now, not then, as Ann said, “You are not afraid of the devil himself.”

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