I am not a veteran but a veteran’s daughter – a title I did not give much consideration before becoming a member of Team Rubicon. I knew my dad (I still call him “daddy”) served in the Air Force during Vietnam and that he eventually retired from the Army National Guard, but I didn’t really know what his service meant to him and, in turn, should have meant to me.
My dad wasn’t the type to tell us stories about jumping out of planes or losing a fellow soldier. I never knew he was forced to leave my mom with two little kids, one of whom was disabled, to go overseas and protect the freedoms that most Americans take for granted. I just knew that he was my “daddy,” my hero, and that I would have followed him anywhere he would have let me.
As I grew older and less of the tomboy little girl he taught to raise hell, laugh until you cry, always be loyal, and smile as big and as often as possible, we lost something – a common bond. Team Rubicon has changed all of that or, I guess you could say, “bridged that gap.” I’ve always enjoyed the time spent with my dad but never as much as in the last three years. I share stories about “my guys,” my “deployments” and training and, in turn, get to learn more about his service, “his guys,” and memories I’m afraid would have been lost had I not joined Team Rubicon.
So if you see me on an operation and ask me where I got an old school mess kit, a mini stove, a mummy bag, or a military-issued sweater from 1975, I will proudly say “my daddy.” He searches through all of his old military wares and gives me what he thinks will be useful. Some wares come with a story and some he gives me just to see me smile, but most of all I think he gives them to me to be a part of what I have with Team Rubicon. To all of “my guys,” my deployment dads, brothers and friends, thank you for allowing me to become my daddy’s hero and for showing me what it truly means to be a veteran’s daughter.