This is my Grandpa Moe, my mother's father, Thermon Ross Motsinger. He enlisted in the Army in 1944 and I believe he was in the Air Corps. I don't think he went overseas or if he did he didn't stay long because my aunt was born in June of 1946. He was an engineer for General Dynamics until he died when I was 12 (he was a real Rocket Scientist). He was a quiet man who believed deeply in God, the Bible, and freedom. He gave a lot of money for Creation research and also to the Republicans. When I was a kid I thought it was totally cool that he went to church at Knott's Berry Farm, really.
This is my dad, C. Tracy O'Brien. This photo was taken the day they brought me home from the hospital in Grand Forks. He was in the Air Force and was a Minuteman Missile Mechanic. He finished his 4 years and got out and went to school on the G.I. Bill. He graduated from San Diego State when I was 4. His brother, my uncle Donovan O'Brien enlisted in the Navy and retired in 1989. He was on board the Iowa when the gun exploded. Another uncle, Dwayne Johnson, was in the Army and was a tunnel rat in Vietnam. He struggled with that the rest of his life. Only as an adult can I begin to imagine the horrors he saw and lived through as a child I just thought he had the perfect garden- it was in the attic with neat lights.
Ryan enlisted in 1986 and left for the Navy in 1987. He spent 2 years in Millington, TN training to be an Aviation Electronics Technician. In 1988 we went to Guam for 3 and a half years. During Desert Storm VQ-1's P-3's flew reconnaissance. Every plane came back every 4-6 weeks and had to be completely stripped and rebuilt from all the sand damage. For 6 months they worked 12 on 12 off 7 days a week. One of those planes was the one that was forced down in China. Ryan also spent 6 months of that time in Atsugi, Japan. He loved Japan and wants to go back some day (they say if you don't climb Mt. Fuji you are destined to return until you climb the mountain). Ryan's brother, Rick was in the Air Force and spent 15 months on Guam, but he was on an unaccompanied tour so doesn't have the good memories we
have of the island.
I'm thankful for our friends from high school who spent some time in the military and the few that have stuck it out and are now retiring- Tom T, Eric F, and Brian B. I'm thankful for the men and women (just can't call them kids if they are willing to put their life down for me and mine) who are now serving: in the Navy- Thomas M and Brandon V; and in the Marines- Beth & Walter H and Alex D. We love you guys!
I'm thankful that The Veteran's Museum is working hard to collect and preserve the stories of so many Veterans so that they are not forgotten.