Some say the world will end with fire.

Others say with ice.

From what I've tasted of desire

I hold with those that favor fire.

But if I had to perish twice,

I think I know enough of hate,

To say that for destruction ice,

Is also great and would suffice.

Robert Frost


"Good things come to those who wait, but, only the things LEFT by those who hustle." - Unknown (at least by me)

"Life is wonderful, without it you are dead." - Hy "Pete" Peterson - Park City and Kenecott Miner

"Don't worry about those people in your past---there is a reason they are not in your present." - Unknown

"Life's tough - it's even tougher if you're stupid." - John Wayne

"The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary!" - Vince Lombardi

"If you aren’t living on the edge, you’re probably taking up too much space.” ~ Attributed to Jim Whittaker by Doug ‘Swani’ Swantner, Alaska Smokejumper and Air Attack Base Manager (Ret.)

About Me

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I am married and have seven children and twenty grandchildren. I retired January 1, 2010 after working 39+ years for the Forest Service...NEW CHAPTER IN MY LIFE HAS BEGUN!

Monday, May 28, 2012


I may have already blogged about this experience but feel like I need to share it with my readers. This is to remember my friend and class mate Jim Frank Jennings who died on June 20, 1969 at Landing Zone Ike in South Viet Nam. I got a letter from him in the mail on the day we heard he had died. It really had a terrible effect on me. I saved the letter and re-read it last night. He was in a Company that had about 1/5 the normal number of soldiers that were deployed to outposts. They were into lots of action and all of them worried about their safety and survival.

Jim was very worried about a friend, Lyle Talbot, that went to Viet Nam with him but was assigned to a different company when they arrived. They had lost contact and he wanted to know if I had heard anything. I hadn't but am thankful Lyle made it home safely.

This picture was taken at the Viet Nam wall at the Mall in Washington D.C. three days before Thanksgiving in 1999. My fire team had been assigned to a fire in Shenandoah National Park in West Virginia. We were all concerned that we were going to miss Thanksgiving at home due to our release just two days before. We were sent to Washington D.C. to fly home when arrangements could be made and so we had about three or four hours in Washington D.C. to see the sights. We hired a bus and went to the Mall.

The man standing by me in the picture is Larry Durk, our Ground Support Unit Leader on the team. When we walked up to the book to determine where Jim's name was the walkway to the wall was full of people, including the next graduating class from Annapolis. After I got the location of his name I started down the walkway and was really surprised to see that there was no one there but us. I sat down and scratched his name from the wall onto a sheet of paper and another friend took this picture. When I looked up the entire graduating class from Annapolis was in the overlook watching us.

As we started to leave Larry asked me "What did you do to clear all those people out?" I said "I didn't do anything." He said "Oh yes you did. Those people couldn't get out of there fast enough." It was an awesome experience to have the entire wall to myself while I traced his name. It was actually a religious experience for me because I felt like he was sitting on the other side of the wall while I was tracing his name.

As we were leaving the commandant of the Annapolis Cadets came up to me and thanked me for the experience his cadets got watching me at the wall. He said he didn't know what happened but none of the cadets would ever forget what they felt that day.

We thankfully made it home the day before Thanksgiving.


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