Archive for the ‘Military Days’ Category

I am a Veteran

November 10th, 2013 No comments

The other day someone asked me if I were going to wear my military ribbons on Veterans Day. I honestly never considered it and didn’t actually think it was appropriate. So I set out to learn more about it and the options afforded me as a Veteran. Reading a few articles with so many people not understanding Veteran status made me want to ensure that I was considered a Veteran. However after reading several articles on the subject as well as the US Code, I have learned a few things.

Under Federal Law a Veteran is any person, who served honorably on active duty in the armed forces of the United States. (Discharges marked GENERAL AND UNDER HONORABLE CONDITIONS also qualify.) That pretty much sealed it for me, I am a Veteran! In regards to being considered for Veteran benefits the VA describes a Veteran in the US Code Title 38-Veterans’ Benefits section 101 (2) The term ‘‘Veteran’’ means a person who served in the active military, naval, or air service, and who was discharged or released therefrom under conditions other than dishonorable.

I also found that prior to September 8, 1980, there was no minimum length of service necessary to be considered a Veteran for most VA benefits. However, for an individual who enlisted after September 8, 1980, there are now certain minimum length of service requirements. The general requirement is either 24 months of continuous active duty or the “full period” for which the service member was called or ordered to active duty.

I recently learned that on May 23, 2012 Gov. Phil Bryant signed Senate Bill 2461 authorizing a “Veteran” designation on Mississippi driver’s licenses. The process involves a verification of Veteran status with the MS Veterans Affairs Board. The next step is to take your verified paperwork to the drivers license bureau and obtain your new license with the Veteran designation. Few know that a Veteran does not have an official ID indicating they are a Veteran. Our only proof is a copy of our discharge document DD-214 we received upon discharge from the armed forces.

Now that I have ensured my Veteran status, on to the question at hand. Beginning with Veterans Day 2006, the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) encourages all military Veterans to wear their medals and decorations during Veterans Day (November 11th) and other patriotic holidays (such as Independence Day – July 4th, and Memorial Day – May 30th). According to the VA, Veterans don’t need to wear their medals only if they’re in a parade. “Wear them when you go play golf. Wear them when you go to the store. Let America know that you took that oath and served.”

Each Military branch has their own regulations on when and how to wear them. The Army says that former members of the Army (including active duty, reserves, or Army National Guard), may wear medals on “appropriate” civilian clothing on Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day, and Armed Forces Day, as well as at “formal occasions of ceremony and social functions of a military nature.” “Appropriate” civilian clothes includes clothes designed for veteran and patriotic organizations, such as VFW or American Legion uniforms. The Air Force says that honorably discharged and retired Air Force members may wear full-size or miniature medals on civilian suits on appropriate occasions such as Memorial Day and Armed Forces Day.

The Navy regulation authorizes the wear of miniature medals and Miniature Breast Insignia on civilian evening dress (white tie) or civilian dinner dress (black tie) in the same manner as for dinner dress jackets. The Marines say that decorations, medals, appropriate ribbon bars, or lapel buttons may be worn on civilian clothes at the individual’s discretion. Individuals should ensure that the occasion and the manner of wearing will not reflect discredit on the award. The Coast Guard allows the wear of miniature medals with civilian evening dress (white tie). You should wear them in the same manner as prescribed for Formal Dress uniform, and with civilian dinner dress (black tie) in the same manner as prescribed for Dinner Dress uniforms.

After reading all this I feel that simply wearing my ribbons on everyday clothing would be considered inappropriate and maybe even disrespectful. So I will work on Veterans Day with the hope that all military personnel in harms way be safe and secure. It is because of our Active Military and Veterans that every American has the opportunity to pursue the American Dream. And it is because of them that we are still the most exceptional nation on earth! God Bless our Armed Forces, Veterans, and God Bless America!

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April 4th, 2013 No comments

Lately I have been thinking a lot about the short time I spent in the USAF. I recently submitted a request for my USAF discharge papers DD Form 214. I have been unable to find my military briefcase which I believe is where my original copy is located. This form is the only documentation a veteran has to indicate their time of service when discharged. Last month I received two notarized copies of my DD 214. In addition to that they also included my awards and decorations listing which of course in the short time I was enlisted there wasn’t many of either. I did attain every ribbon that most everyone enlisted in the USAF attains.

The Air Force training ribbon and the Air Force Good Conduct Medal. I also received the Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon. Now this one ribbon though not the Distinguished Service Medal or the Air Force Cross, is my favorite because of how much fun it was to get it. We shot modified M-16s using .22 ammunition. The cost of .22 ammunition made it the best choice for training 35,000 recruits each year. I shot a perfect score the day we went through training and for those in our flight that received a perfect score our instructors seem to have a whole new level of respect for us. It was cool for the that day and I will never forget it.

Yesterday I received a small package from Randolph AFB TX where the Air Force Personnel Center is located. I opened it and found all three ribbons had been sent to me. I only asked for the listing of what I had attained. It is really cool to have these again.

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I am proud to have served in the USAF

November 11th, 2012 No comments

I am proud to have served for four years in the United States Air Force, 1983 – 1987. It was a defining time in my life. I was just out of high school, and I had already decided to join the USAF in the telecommunications field. My main reason for joining was to learn a trade in telecommunications.

However, I’ve never really thought of myself as a “Vet.” To me that title was reserved for those who risked their lives in combat. The closest I came to combat was having breakfast with the USAF crew that took part in the 1986 US bombing of Libya. It was code-named Operation El Dorado Canyon and was comprised of United States Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps air-strikes. The attack was carried out in response to the 1986 Berlin discotheque bombing.

I worked as a cable splicing installation and maintenance specialist assigned to the 1839th EIG stationed at Keesler AFB in Biloxi MS. It was an interesting job and I worked with a great group of people from all parts of the world. We were an engineering and installation group that traveled the world doing our job. I was able to see parts of this earth an ole’ Mississippi boy would not normally see otherwise.

After my four-year enlistment, I returned to civilian life and lost contact with the guys in my group. Later on in life I found this website and have been able to reconnect with one of the guys I worked with, Dave LeBlanc. I hope to find more but I have not tried very hard since last talking to Dave.

I’m proud of my small part in defending our country, and immensely proud of the men and women with whom I served. Most of us served only four years, but we did our jobs well, and, we would do it again in a heartbeat, if called on.

Sgt Alex Jones – 1839th EIG

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Friends from my days in the USAF – 1839th EIG

August 29th, 2007 1 comment

Man I am stoked! I just found on the Internet a website that hopefully has led me to one of my oldest friends from my days in the USAF stationed at Keesler AFB, MS. The site is and it had a section specific to the 1839th EIG. I posted once and then started searching the member profiles and found none other than Salvatore DiMasi! When we were at base we used to cut up and have a blast! We were worse when we were stationed at the same TDY base.

When at home-base we would go to Popeye’s near Edgewater Mall in Biloxi on Sunday afternoon and see who could eat the most from their buffet. Of course, Sal would always win! I also remember a White Toyota Supra he bought I think when in Florida somewhere. Nice car! I would drive it for him when he was TDY and didn’t take it with him.

We were stationed in the 1839th EIG based at Keesler. Our outfit would travel 98% of the time. Leave in January and come back in December. I loved it! It was great to see parts of the World a boy from MS doesn’t get to see normally.

Well, I emailed the link on the site and hope he responds. I have been trying to find just a few guys I used to work with from my days in E&I.

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