Welcome to Episode 35 of the Voices to Veterans podcast. This episode features the story of Master Sergeant Jay Cyril Mastrud, U.S. Air Force. Jay’s story is one of resilience and overcoming adversity. He first served as a sailor with fighter squadron VF-32 onboard the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67), deploying in support […]
Much has changed on Navy ships over the centuries – sail converted to steam, steel replaced wood, and missiles supplemented guns, just to name a few. Yet with all these changes, fundamental truths remain. Navy ships carry the U.S. flag to the four corners of the globe, serving as ambassadors in the countries they visit and as strong reminders of U.S. military power and resolve. Navy ships also require a team of special people pulling together to accomplish the ship’s mission, enduring the perils of the sea, the long separations from family, and the risks associated with war. Captain Jack E. Helmann, U.S. Navy (Retired), knows these challenges all too well, having served on five Navy destroyers over the course of his twenty-four-year Navy career. He also knows the strains and responsibilities of command, having been the Commanding Officer of the guided-missile destroyer USS Berkeley (DDG-15) for over two years. This is his story.
It’s an age-old question, does art reflect life or does life reflect art? In the case of Specialist Eric Ferguson, U.S. Army, one would have to say the latter. Eric has always drawn inspiration from the stories and larger-than-life heroes depicted on the silver screen. They inspired him to join the Army and be bold when choosing his warfare branch. They gave him insight and strength to deal with the difficult situations he faced in training and while part of the Operation Desert Storm mobile assault force in Iraq. Finally, they helped him understand and deal with the Gulf War’s aftermath. Now it is time for Eric’s story to do the same for others. This is his story.
Welcome to Episode 33 of the Voices to Veterans podcast. This episode features the story of Senior Airman Robert Johnson, U.S. Air Force.When you think of the Cold War, you think of the nuclear standoff between the United States and the Soviet Union. When Bob Johnson thinks of the Cold War, he literally thinks of […]
It takes a special person to endure a long career in the military. Wartime deployments, long family separations with missed birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays, and the strain of command compete against the strong sense of duty, camaraderie, and public service officers feel as they decide whether to continue in the military or leave to pursue a civilian career. Colonel Tom Thompson, U.S. Army (Retired), experienced all these factors and more as he navigated his twenty-six-year career in the Army that included two combat deployments to Vietnam. Throughout it all, he balanced duty and family as best he could to make both sides win. This is his story.
Welcome to Episode 32 of the Voices to Veterans podcast. This episode features the story of Master Chief Legalman David S. Leafer, U.S. Navy (Retired).Dave Leafer enlisted in the Navy in 1981 to see the world and see the world he did. Not only did he deploy to the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea […]
Major Sandy Richardson, U.S. Air Force (Retired) – From Dream to Reality, Flying with the Air Force for 20 Years
Some people dream and that is as far as it goes. Others follow through and take action, always keeping their eyes on the ultimate objective. Ever since Major Sandy Richardson, U.S. Air Force, was a boy with his father watching planes take off and land in Louisiana, he dreamed of becoming a pilot. Now he can look back at his fifty-year career of flying and training others to fly and say with pride, “I lived my dream.” This is his story.
The naval aviator training pipeline is grueling. It takes months of study to learn the basics of flying. It takes strength of body and mind to withstand the physical and mental strains of landing a plane on the pitching deck of an aircraft carrier at sea. Most of all, it takes courage, to launch from a ship in the middle of the ocean in search of a target with the hope of accomplishing the mission and returning home safely. Few have what it takes to even try to meet naval aviation’s high standards and even fewer succeed. At the height of World War II, with the naval war against Japan raging in the Pacific, Lieutenant Commander Joe Dwigans, U.S. Navy (Retired), raised his hand and said I can do it. This is his story.
Welcome to Episode 28 of the Voices to Veterans podcast. This episode features the story of Colonel, Hank Hoffman, U.S. Air Force (Retired). Hank’s Air Force career can only be described as extraordinary. A 1963 graduate of the Air Force Academy, he began his career by flying B-52 nuclear deterrence missions, including circling over the […]
Welcome to Episode 27 of the Voices to Veterans podcast. This episode features the story of Private First Class Robert F. Burgess, U.S. Army. Bob Burgess has always been someone who’s lived life on his own terms. From enlisting in the Army rather than waiting to be drafted, to experiencing all that living in post-war […]