To a little girl, your Daddy is always your Hero and as you age, those thoughts never change. My Dad worked very long hours to provide for our family, often working 2 jobs to make ends meet. His love shines through for us in all that he does.
You probably never knew this, but my Dad is also a Hero to all of you as well. When he was 17 years old, he was a member of the 409 Military Government Unit of the U.S. Army Reserves. That’s a very big step for a teenager to take. My Dad took that step ever further when he enlisted in the United States Air Force on January 10, 1955 two months before he turned 18 years old.
Jack Roddy completed his Basic Training at Parks Air Force Base in California and graduated with the rank of Airman 3rd Class (A/3C). The next phase of his military service was attending school to be an airplane mechanic at Shepherd Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas. (This training provided him with skills that he uses to this day, he has fixed more cars than I can remember – and if someone’s car has an issue, it’s always mentioned to “call Jack and see what he thinks the problem is.”
Upon graduation from Aircraft Mechanics School in September 1955, Dad returned home on leave to marry my Mom (they will be celebrating 63 years of marriage this year on September 10th) before he flew out to Spokane, Washington to begin his next assignment at Fairchild Air Force Base.
In 1956, Dad was stationed in Guam on a temporary Bomb Wing Duty. Dad said that he flew to Guam in a C124 cargo plane, stopping in Hawaii and Wake Island to refuel before arriving in Guam. After his 3-month temporary duty at Guam, Dad returned to Fairchild AF Base where he was a member of the 92nd Bomb Wing. Dad finished his enlistment with the Air Force and was honorably discharged in October 1958.
The Barkeyville Church of God recently honored my Dad for his military service during a special ceremony. Paul Smith, a member of the Armed Forces surprised my Dad while he was attending Sunday service at his Church. Dad was then escorted to the Barkeyville Church of God in a vintage military Jeep, owned by Larry McKinley. During the ceremony, Dad was presented a proclamation certificate by PA State Representative Lee James of the 64th Legislative District.
John Hanna of the Barkeyville Church of God then presented my Dad with a flag of the United States of America and escorted him in the military jeep to the Log Cemetery. Together they raised the flag over the graves of veterans, including the grave of an unknown Civil War veteran. This flag will proudly soar above the cemetery for the next year until it is taken down and given to my Dad.
When a man or woman volunteers to enlist and serve their Country, they never know if they will serve in a time of peace or conflict, but they willingly agree to place their lives in harm’s way to protect and serve our Nation and its people. I am very proud of my Dad for his military service and want to say, “Thanks Dad, you are indeed my favorite Vet and I love you very much.”