About thirty years ago my Dad transferred from the Army to the Coast Guard. Our family moved from Alabama to Port Angeles, Washington and our life completely changed. That was the beginning of many adventures. I always took pride in my Dad's heroic job. I liked visiting him at the air base and seeing him in uniform. But I only had a vague sense of the dangers and risks he faced as a search and rescue helicopter pilot.
When we moved to Sitka, Alaska I started to get a clearer picture of my Dad's job. This was where the storms were more frequent and unpredictable, where the Coast Guard pilots marched in the Alaska Day parade, and more than once when my Dad was in uniform a fisherman (usually a complete stranger) would come up to thank my Dad for the job he was doing.
So while visiting Seattle this holiday it was very special to go to Boeing's Flight Museum and see the very aircraft my Dad flew on display.
Dad brought his flight log and showed us how the number on the outside of the aircraft, 1415, matched his log entries. He recounted some of his missions: the medevac of the wife of a lighthouse worker to a hospital when she went into labor, searching for missing fishing boats, and routine flights.
I hope my kids caught a glimpse of the adventurous and important job their Grandpa did.
My Dad did his best to convince this next generation to consider becoming a pilot.
Who knows? Maybe there will be another pilot in the family...