Happy Anniversary Weekend !

This is a huge anniversary weekend for me. I’ll observe one in this blog post, and then I’ll observe another one in tomorrow’s blog post, and then I’ll observe yet another one in Sunday’s blog post.

On November 30TH 1987 – the Monday after Thanksgiving that year – I boarded a plane in the Washington D.C. area (my original hometown) – for Miami Florida. I had never been there before, and I knew very little about it other than the fact that the weather would be much sunnier and warmer than the Washington D.C. area. I arrived in Miami that night, and I awaited my military transportation from Miami to Homestead AFB. It eventually arrived, and I arrived on the base during the wee early morning hours of December 01ST 1987. I was Active Duty in the USAF back then – an A1C / E3.

Hurricane Andrew destroyed Homestead AFB on August 24TH 1992, but then it was partially rebuilt. (Its geographic location ultimately saved it.) I returned to the base almost 19 months later upon its grand reopening as Homestead ARS (and then Homestead ARB). I still work on the base today. Nowadays (and for the past 11 years) I crunch numbers and count money.

So Happy 31ST Anniversary to me at the airbase near Homestead Florida. I arrived when I was 20½, and now I’m 51½. I wasn’t expecting to spend most of my life working there, but that’s what’s happened. I thought that I had seen the last of the airbase after Hurricane Andrew in 1992, but here I am 26 years later. I think I have another 5 good years in me before it’ll be time to pack it up, retire, and move away from this Homestead.

All rights reserved (c) 2018 Christopher M. Day, CountUp Ministries

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The Major’s Top 5 Hits RETRO – 1985

Every Friday night I post the Top 5 of one of my classic hit music charts based on personal preference from either 10, 20, or 30 years ago (rotating each week).

But this week it’s a special. I’m going back 33 years to 1985. My chart didn’t exist yet, so here’s the Top 5 of the Billboard Hot 100 – for the week ending Sunday July 28TH 1985:

  1. “Everytime You Go Away” – Paul Young
  2. “Shout” – Tears For Fears
  3. “You Give Good Love” – Whitney Houston
  4. “A View To A Kill” – Duran Duran
  5. “If You Love Somebody Set Them Free” – Sting

33 years ago this weekend was my final weekend of Basic Military Training (BMT) at Lackland AFB (San Antonio) Texas. Back then Air Force Basic Training was 30 weekdays (not including Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays). On the 31ST weekday you were shipped out to either technical school at another base (unless your school was at Lackland), or to your first permanent duty station. My technical school was located at Chanute AFB (Rantoul) Illinois.

The 30TH and final weekday of Basic Training for me and my flightmates was on Friday July 26TH 1985. On Saturday and Sunday we were basically on hold for the weekend with not much to do (“liberty in place”) awaiting the 31ST weekday on Monday July 29TH 1985. Our Training Instructor (T.I.) came in on that Saturday morning and surprisingly started talking nice to us like regular people – unlike the previous 30 weekdays in which he yelled and screamed at us. He told us to enjoy the weekend, listen to the radio, and stay out of trouble until Monday morning. He then left us alone for the rest of the weekend.

So we listened to the T.I.’s radio all weekend – a Top 40 radio station in San Antonio, and we heard all of the greatest hits of the day. We even listened to “American Top 40 With Casey Kasem” on Sunday morning. Further down on the Billboard Hot 100 that weekend were these hits that we heard over and over again in heavy rotation:  “Raspberry Beret” – Prince And The Revolution (# 7), “Sussudio” – Phil Collins (# 13), “Freeway Of Love” – Aretha Franklin (# 19), and “Like A Surgeon” – “Weird Al” Yankovic (# 68).

Early on Monday morning we left the pop music behind, boarded busses, saw Lackland AFB behind us, and proceeded to the next chapter of our new military career.

It’s halftime. I’ll be back on Sunday and Monday with my remaining two blogs for this weekend. Enjoy your Saturday. Make memories of a lifetime !

The Summer Of 2011

Saturday June 04TH 2011
Volume 3 / Number 17 / Edition 114

Well here it is the 1ST Saturday night of June of 2011, and it’s Summer in the city. The regular TV season is over. The NBA and the NHL are playing their respective championship series. A new Atlantic basin tropical season has begun. School’s nearly out for Summer !

Where has the time gone ?  Whatever happened to the now lost art form of creative expression that was blogging ?  This is only my 6TH blog post of 2011. Once upon a time in a year not so long ago I was blogging at least 6 times per week. That was in a different era. All things must change. Life must continue to evolve. Unlike virtually all of my closest friends I have not totally abandoned the fine art of blogging. I’ll continue to make occasional appearances here on WordPress to let you know what’s happenin’.

Here’s what’s goin’ on. Today is the last day of me being 43. I celebrate my 44TH birthday tomorrow – June 05TH. I plan to kickoff the celebration bright and early tomorrow morning at Denny’s where I’ll enjoy my free birthday Grand Slam. Naturally I’ll go with the All-American Slam® – a favourite of mine at ‘America’s Diner’.

This Monday I observe the 26TH anniversary of my High School Graduation, and next Sunday marks my 26TH anniversary working for the USAF (military and civilian combined). It actually does seem like 26 years ago !

June 06TH 1985, McLean Virginia

I’m not blogging on a regular basis anymore, but I’m still active online. Just don’t look for me anywhere on that vast wasteland known as Facebook. I’ve never signed-up for it. I don’t follow what the rest of the world is doing. If you want to ‘friend’ me then please do so in person rather than on the fake world of Facebook.

I’m on Twitter, as I tweet daily @majorhitwaves. I’m also quietly building my photographic collection on Flickr. So far I’ve got 278 pictures up. They are mostly vacation pictures of the past 5 years (many taken by family and friends). I try to add at least a few pictures to the site every few days, so my photostream should look new to you if you check it out every so often. One of my biggest regrets in life is the fact that I never took any pictures of my life up until a little over a year ago. I actually got my first camera last year when I bought my first Android smartphone. It’s a 5 megapixel camera that takes really good pictures. See for yourself on my Flickr !

My Fantastic Journey following my Lord & Saviour Jesus Christ continues stronger than ever. He rescued me from the darkness of the world 57 months ago, and the Life that I live today is radically different than the life that I led for the first 39 years on this Earth. I don’t force my faith on anyone; however, if you wish to know more about the God that I know and my relationship with Him then please don’t hesitate to walk with me on this journey and I’ll share The Good News with you. You won’t regret it pal !

Everything else in my Life is pretty much status quo for the most part. I’ve been working at the same place – Homestead ARB – for the past 23½ years. I’ve lived in the same home for the past 16 years (next week is the anniversary for that). I’ve driven the same car for the past 8 years (the end of this month is its anniversary). Home Sweet Homestead. Life is good. God is GREAT !

Home Sweet Home

Saturday March 05TH 2011
Volume 3 / Number 16 / Edition 113

20 years ago this upcoming week I went on a roughly 10,000-mile trek as I returned home stateside from Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

The trek began bright and early at 0326 local time on Saturday March 09TH 1991 at Al Kharj AB Saudi Arabia. After a 7-hour and 7-minute flight westbound we touched down at Torrejon AB Spain (near Madrid). The layover was unexpectedly long – nearly 5½-hours. After that it was a 9-hour flight across the Atlantic Ocean and into Dover AFB Delaware. After a long 21½-hour day of travel I was finally back in the U.S.A. for the first time in over 2 months. After a restful night at a nice hotel in Philadelphia we flew back to Miami and then returned to Homestead AFB on the morning of Sunday March 10TH 1991. We pretty much snuck onto the base with absolutely no fanfare whatsoever. Future Gulf War returnees would be treated to celebrations and parades, but my group received nothing – aside from the rest of the month off in rest and recuperation to do whatever we felt like doing !

I felt like returning to my home-of-record up in the Washington D.C. area to spend a couple of weeks with my Dad, Mom, Brother, and two cats – and so I did. 3 days after returning to Homestead AFB from Saudi Arabia I drove 1,096 miles over 17 hours (spanning 2 days) up I-95 and back to my real home at the time. It was perhaps the greatest homecoming to my parent’s home that I’ve ever experienced in my entire lifetime – a Gulf War Veteran returning home.

People sometimes ask me what I did in the war. I actually had 2 separate jobs while serving in the desert. For 23 days I built fuel tanks. I wasn’t good at it. The 11 that I worked with thought that I was pretty much awful at it. I agreed. We parted ways. I eventually found my mad skills building BOMBS !  That’s what I did for 24 days. I loved it. I was also pretty good at it. I quickly realized that bombs were so much easier to make than fuel tanks. Who knew ?

Veterans Day – Honoring All Who Served

On this 11TH day of the 11TH month we salute our military veterans – about 25 million of us living today – who served our country during a time of war or conflict.

Some of us were ordered to go to war by our superiours, and some enthusiastically volunteered to serve. Some of us were overwhelmed and celebrated by our fellow Americans when we returned stateside, and some were ignored, abandoned, disrespected, and hated. Some of us were proud of our challenging work overseas, and some were ashamed of it. Some of us have good memories of our experiences abroad, and some never recovered from the hell on earth that they lived through. Some of us returned back home again to our friends and family armed with vivid war stories, and some returned back home lifeless in a casket.

On this day – and every day of the year – we should never forget our veterans. We are the reason why this free nation – The United States Of America – exists today. You may not agree with our reasons to be at war, but you should never take out your disagreement with national policy on those who served – on those who fought for your freedom to disagree. Let us always honor all who served. Let that honor be expressed in more than mere words.

Chris M. Day, USAF
Veteran, Operation Desert Shield & Operation Desert Storm
Tent W-23, Al Kharj Air Base, Saudi Arabia
05 January 1991 – 09 March 1991

Saturday Night Retro

Saturday November 06TH 2010
Volume 3 / Number 9 / Edition 106

25 years ago this weekend I flew on an overnight flight from Northern Virginia to London England to arrive at my new home for the next two years – my first permanent duty assignment as a young 18-year-old USAF Airman. I took British Rail from London Heathrow Airport to Reading – and then from Reading to Swindon further west. From Swindon I hired a cab to take me to my new home and workplace at RAF Fairford. During that cab ride on that sunny and cold morning of Sunday November 10TH 1985 I heard the chilling song “Road To Nowhere” by The Talking Heads on the radio. How appropriate.

My first couple of months at RAF Fairford were mostly spent on base either working at the office (as an aircraft maintenance systems analyst / statistician), or living in the dormitory. I lived in the old-style dorm buildings on base – small ones strategically built in a series of rows shortly after World War II. There were no bathrooms in any of the dorm rooms. They were down the hallway – community-style. Our ‘Day Room’ was where we hung out after work to socialize and watch TV and play card games – mostly Uno. There were some fun all-night sessions in that room. Good times and good memories with good buddies at the time. I can still see us all sitting around that big round table in the corner laughing and carrying on at 3 AM in the dead of the British winter. It made it easier for me during that first Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s holiday season away from home in a foreign land.

Shortly after 1986 arrived I got to upgrade to my own 2ND floor room in ‘the new dorm’ – with shared bathrooms in-between each dorm room. I also made my way out of the dorm and began exploring the vast U.K. countryside and historic European continent.

But my U.K. experience all began during those first two memorable months of November and December of 1985. One of the top pop / rock hits on both sides of the Atlantic during those early days and weeks at my new home was this comeback smash from Starship. Here’s “We Built This City” – the # 1 smash on the Billboard Hot 100 exactly 25 years ago this month – and one of my favourite songs of all-time !

The Major’s Weekend Blast-Off

WEEKEND GRAB BAG O’ THOUGHT:
25 years ago today a young 18-year-old version of me woke up bright and early a couple of hours before daybreak, checked-out of my dorm room, packed up my first car – a beige 1980 Chevy Citation – and embarked on the longest road-trip of my life (at that point). It was a 700+ mile trip eastbound along I-70 from Chanute AFB Illinois (next to Rantoul) through Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia to my destination – McLean Virginia. It was a long-awaited homecoming for me after being away for 4½ months at USAF Basic Training and Tech School. It was great to see my family (including my lovable cat Fluffy) after being away for such a long time for the first time in my entire life. I got to celebrate Halloween with my 10-year-old little brother at the time. I walked with him as he went trick-or-treating all throughout our neighbourhood – visiting many of my former customers from my newspaper carrier years. After 4½ months I was all grown up and in the Air Force. My military leave was short-lived though. 10 days later I was on my way overseas to my first permanent duty station in Great Britain. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year would all be celebrated in a foreign land away from home.

BEST LUNCH OF THE WEEK AWARD:
Longhorn Steakhouse wins this week’s award (yet again). I enjoyed another spectacular Lunch there today. Coming in 2ND place for the week is a brand new joint that me and some coworker friends discovered for the first time on Thursday. We enjoyed a nice Mexican Lunch at El Santo Coyote – located on U.S. 1 in Princeton at theoretical SW 261ST Street. They made their own homemade salsa right there at our table as we watched. I ordered one of their combination plates consisting of a taco, a burrito, and an enchilada with golden rice and refried beans. It was all delicious, but service was a bit on the slow side. I still recommend it though, and I’ll go back again when I’m not in a hurry to get back to work.

FORTUNE COOKIE MESSAGE OF THE WEEK CLUB:
– Plan a vacation with loved ones.

TAYLOR LESLEY DAY MEASUREMENTS OF THE MONTH CLUB:

My gorgeous niece turned 6-months-old last week. She now weighs in at over 17 pounds, and she’s 26 inches in length. I last saw her about 4 months ago, and I get to see her again in just 20 days !  She smiles a lot because she’s happy !  😀

THOSE SCARY SCARY CATS:

BLATANT PROMOTION:
Tomorrow night on the blog it’s another fresh new edition of my venerable ‘Saturday Night Retro’ as I flashback to Halloween nights of the past. I’ll also feature the Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett classic from 48 years ago – “The Monster Mash”. Then on Sunday the treats continue with another new blog post – ‘Halloween Night Shenanigans’. Be sure to check that one out after you’re all done trick-or-treating. In-between all of the blogs it’s all of my tweets @majorhitwaves. Have a wonderful weekend my friends. Have fun. Be safe.

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