A Most Precious Day

Vote on Election Day: Tuesday, Nov. 4

As an American who has watched the changes in our country for so many years, I am still convinced that our most precious right is the right to vote for the elected person of our choice. I am, however, always dismayed, not just a little, by the enormous amounts of funds collected and spent in elections by individuals, parties, unions, and so forth. To me, it is almost an obscene waste of money better used to help solve the problems in the world in countless areas.

Too often we see the election campaigns filled with lots of “malarkey.” There are false promises and unscrupulous attacks on the other candidate, often making “fast and loose” with the truth.

Having said that, I still feel the American voter can and will make the best possible decisions in voting. I hope we can elect officials for Congress who will consider and adopt the measures we need now for our country to progress. Hope you will all vote on Tuesday, Nov. 4!

A Special Month for Veterans

I always look forward to November because we have many days in which we thank and remember the sacrifices of our citizen soldiers, sailors, airmen and women, and their families. We celebrate Armistice Day to mark the end of World War I—November 11, which is also Veterans Day—and Armed Forces Day. We also decorate the graves of our fallen heroes in our national cemeteries.

Here in San Diego with Fort Rosecrans sites all filled, we now have a beautiful new cemetery for veterans and their wives at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar. My class at West Point still decorates all of the graves of our class buried in Arlington Cemetery, happy to say. Grandchildren have taken on this role for us. This always brings to mind the saying that was printed on a crude sign placed on the temporary burial ground on Iwo Jima for the U.S. Marines killed in that brutal fight: “For you who pass by, remember we gave our tomorrow for your today.”

I still vividly recall the November in the days of the Korean War in 1950 in which the cold was so severe that the liquid in our canteen cups would form a sheen of ice as we tried to drink it. The U.S. Marines in Choisin suffered terribly from the brutal cold as they fought their way out so valiantly. I still have the residual effects of my feet being frostbitten when I was on a firing line and could not move around very much because the Chinese were so close.

So, to all of you, please take time during November and the many events to thank veterans—and their families—for their service and sacrifices. Also, assist veterans in finding employment, coping with PTSD, and taking care of their families. God bless our veterans and their families.

Our Disabled Americans

This was posted outside a door in the old Walter Reed Hospital ward for wounded soldiers undergoing treatment and surgery. It says it all:

Attention to all who enter here!

If you are coming into this room with sorrow or to feel sorry for my wounds…go elsewhere. The wounds I received I got in a job I love, doing for people I love, supporting the freedom of a country I deeply love. I am incredibly tough and will make a full recovery.

What is full? That is the absolute utmost physically my body has the ability to recover. Then I will push that about 20% further through sheer mental tenacity. This room you are about to enter is a room of fun, optimism and intense rapid growth.

If you are not prepared for that…go elsewhere.

The Management

The Passing of an Era

This must be my month of nostalgia, so please bear with me. The Marines announced that they were inactivating and retiring the last operating CH-46 squadron and replacing it with the Osprey. This made me feel like the horse cavalryman of the old U.S. Army when told they were switching from horses to tanks and the horses were retired. Yes, I remember that.

In the Army we called this helicopter the “Hook” or the “Chinook” and used it extensively for supply and troop movements in Vietnam. As the commander of the U.S. artillery units in the Highlands, I had many small and large bases and firing positions, and the “Hooks” were invaluable in bringing in supplies and ammunition. They also helped move my 155mm howitzers to and from new bases on hilltops without any roads, and they did this with consummate ease always.

It never had an accident in hundreds of missions for us. The Army really used this “bird” and it served us well. So we bid farewell to a fine performing American product and move on to the Osprey, which is a more expensive and versatile aircraft already proven capable in Afghanistan. We see it flying out of Miramar in its tilt wing configuration, very different from other helicopters. As the helicopters fly by, remember the sound is the sweet sound of freedom. Thanks from an Old Soldier of America.

Scripps Ranch Schools

I joined a large group of parents and students at Dingeman Elementary School for the Tiger Rally in October where I presented a $500 check from the Scripps Ranch Civic Association (SRCA) to the school. (See page 31 for a picture.) These checks from the membership have been presented each year to all of our public schools’ foundations.

It is such a pleasure to meet with the students and faculty that I wanted to share it with you all. Naturally, as it is Dingeman Elementary, I feel very close to all the students and the fabulous teachers and staff in what all call a “Happy School”!

Reminders For Us All

We are still in the midst of a terrible drought, so please conserve water and follow the restrictions. Consider switching to low-water plants. We have asked for the city to look into better use for our recycled water than to simply dump it in the ocean.

The second item is our usual one that we are in wildfire season. Be careful and do your share to prepare your home and family in case you have to evacuate.

Bob Dingeman