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The good guys

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- I have two sons who are gaining a unique view of the world as young members of the military family. So far, we've moved four times as a family since my six-year-old was born. Mike says he remembers each of the houses we lived in and the places where I worked.

It comes out funny sometimes, though. He saw a picture of the Statue of Liberty in a book, and shouted to me to come see the book about the Liberty Wing - you see, he best remembers the Statue of Liberty on the emblem of the 48th Fighter Wing at RAF Lakenheath, England.

Matt, my four-year-old, comes to terms with our lifestyle a little differently. With the time change and longer daylight hours, he has started searching for boxes in which to pack his treasures. I asked him why he wanted to put them in boxes. He replied, "Mommy, you know we always move when it's hot out. I want these to go with me, not in the moving truck like last time." I suppose you can't argue with logic like that.

With each move comes new friends, a new house and a new routine. Some things don't change, though. I still put on a uniform to go to work every day. The boys are familiar with the rhythm of military life - early mornings for fitness, the mobility bag parked in the closet, and the sounds that begin and end the day. They know that troops march from place to place; having a retired military training instructor as a father, they can't help but know how to march as well. Mike and Matt take turns as the "Commander" marching all over. So, when you see two little figures on the troop walk, remember, they want to grow up doing what we do - protecting our country and our world.

Their ideas of how to protect our world are a definite product of being military brats. Mike really likes the idea of sending artillery and armor along with the Marines because he's convinced that the "bad guys" should be intimidated from the start. He likes the idea of sending lots of air power to watch the bad guys so the good guys don't get hurt. And he thinks everyone should have a medic close by, because it's easier to get back in the game if you get fixed up quickly. Matt thinks the bad guys shouldn't even try; after all, he reasons, we have a corner on all the good guys and we have a better team. You see, in his logic, the good guys are like a dream team; the uniform doesn't matter as much as the team. Now, I have to admit I like that concept of jointness.

Mike and Matt know that every single one of us has an important job, and they see us working together to keep people safe. I see them learning the lessons we have learned - integrity, excellence, and service before self - as they learn about teamwork. They know we take care of them and the world, and they know it's a serious business. Mike and Matt want you to know that they admire you; they think you look "awesome" in uniform; and they want to thank you for protecting them, for flying kites with them, for saying hello when they see you and for teaching them what it's really like to be part of a team. I want to thank you, too. Someday, perhaps, Mike and Matt will be part of this team because of what you taught them.